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The attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities on Saturday should remind Washington of two points: First, Middle Eastern oil still matters to the United States, even if Americans need less of it, and second, Iran is encircling Saudi Arabia through proxies, posing a potentially existential threat to a crucial—albeit troublesome—ally.
On the first point, oil prices soared on Monday and will likely remain at a higher cost per barrel for weeks after armed drones or cruise missiles set ablaze Abqaiq, the world's largest oil processing facility and crude oil stabilization plant, and Khurais, the second-largest oil field in Saudi Arabia.
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The attacks forced the Saudis to cut production by some 5.7 million barrels a day, about half of their output and more than 5 percent of the global daily oil supply. More important, however, the price rose because of fear. It is clear Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, and thus its production and exports, are vulnerable to attacks.
At home, the prospect of Americans paying more at the pump may help dispel the myth that, because the United States is less reliant on importing Middle Eastern oil, Washington can withdraw from the region. Like it or not, there is a global price that affects American companies and consumers. And, more broadly, some of the world's biggest economies and America's biggest trading partners still have unquenchable thirsts for Middle Eastern oil. Someone who argues the United States should not care about Saudi Arabia's oil must also be prepared to argue that the nation should not care about how the Chinese, Indian, and Japanese economies perform.
Point - American - Officials - Attack - Iraq
On the second point, American officials are now saying the attack likely came from Iraq or Iran itself. Indeed, there is growing evidence that an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq carried out the attacks, not the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Yes,...
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