A state-aligned Saudi newspaper has called for “surgical” US strikes in retaliation against alleged threats from Iran.
The Arab News published an editorial in English on Thursday, arguing that after incidents this week against Saudi energy targets, the next logical step “should be surgical strikes.”
The editorial said US airstrikes in Syria, when the government there was suspected of using chemical weapons against civilians, “set a precedent.”
It added that it’s “clear that [US] sanctions are not sending the right message” and that “they must be hit hard,” in reference to Iran, without elaborating on what specific targets should be struck.
The newspaper’s publisher is the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, a company that had long been chaired by various sons of King Salman until 2014 and is regarded as reflecting official position.
Washington has deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the region against what it claims is an imminent threat from Tehran.
President Donald Trump’s administration has also ordered non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing threats from Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups.
The White House however has sent mixed signals in recent days, amid multiple US media reports of infighting in Trump’s cabinet over how hard to push Washington’s arch foe.
According to US media reports, Trump’s long-hawkish national security advisor John Bolton is pushing a hard line on Iran, but others in the administration are resisting.
The White House and Pentagon have been under pressure to demonstrate the reason for the huge buildup in forces and heightened rhetoric of the past two weeks.
US coalition partners in Iraq had suggested earlier this week that the threat level there had not risen significantly, and members of Congress demanded to see the information behind the administration’s apparent preparation for possible conflict.