The Arab News, a major English-language Saudi Arabian newspaper owned by Saudi Prince Turki bin Salman (brother of crown prince Mohamed bin Salman) has long been treated as virtually an official government mouthpiece. This is becoming particularly important Thursday, as the front page of the paper advocated that the United States attack Iran.
The editorial, ominously titled “Iran must not go unpunished” begins with the declaration that “nobody wants war,” and then argues throughout about how vital it is that the US launch such a war, even if it is just a limited war involving US missile strikes.
They argue that President Trump has already set a precedent for this sort of war in Syria, and present a US attack as “retaliation” against Iranian threats. Those threats are being publicly scoffed at across Europe, and seemingly in other countries where the government doesn’t believe it has a vested interest in seeing the US attack a regional rival.
As this is going on in the Saudi press, Saudi government officials are taking this week’s drone attack, from Yemen’s Houthi movement, and trying to pin the entire thing on Iran, claiming that it proves Iran are “terrorists” and are carrying out an expansionist agenda.
Saudi officials have tried to tie the Houthi movement to Iran from the war’s beginning. Initially, it was meant to justify attacking the Houthis on the grounds that it would hurt Iran. Now, however, officials are hoping it swings both ways, and that years of hostility fostered by the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen can be parlayed into more direct hostilities with Iran.