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Westlake Legal Group > Mohammed bin Salman (1985- )

Saudi Arabia and Iran Make Quiet Openings to Head Off War

Westlake Legal Group 05saudi-iran-facebookJumbo Saudi Arabia and Iran Make Quiet Openings to Head Off War Zarif, Mohammad Javad Yemen United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States United Nations United Arab Emirates Trump, Donald J Syria Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Persian Gulf Pakistan Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Middle East Mahdi, Adel Abdul Larijani, Ali Khan, Imran Jubeir, Adel al- Israel Iraq Iran Indyk, Martin S Houthis General Assembly (UN) Defense and Military Forces

After years of growing hostility and competition for influence, Saudi Arabia and Iran have taken steps toward indirect talks to try to reduce the tensions that have brought the Middle East to the brink of war, according to officials from several countries involved in the efforts.

Even the prospect of such talks represents a remarkable turnaround, coming only a few weeks after a coordinated attack on Saudi oil installations led to bellicose threats in the Persian Gulf. Any reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran could have far-reaching consequences for conflicts across the region.

It was President Trump’s refusal to retaliate against Iran for the Sept. 14 attack, analysts say, that set off unintended consequences, prompting Saudi Arabia to seek its own solution to the conflict. That solution, in turn, could subvert Mr. Trump’s effort to build an Arab alliance to isolate Iran.

In recent weeks, officials of Iraq and Pakistan said, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, asked the leaders of those two countries to speak with their Iranian counterparts about de-escalation.

Iran welcomed the gestures, stating privately and publicly that it was open to talks with Saudi Arabia.

In a statement to The New York Times on Friday, the Saudi government acknowledged that Iraq and Pakistan had offered to mediate talks between the two countries but denied that Prince Mohammed had taken the initiative.

“Efforts at de-escalation must emanate from the party that began the escalation and launched attacks, not the kingdom,” the statement said.

Distrust between the two Middle Eastern powers remains intense, and the prospect of high-level direct talks any time soon appears remote. But even a slight warming could echo far outside their respective borders, where their rivalry fuels political divides from Lebanon to Yemen.

Iran has long wanted to wrest the Saudis from their alliance with Iran’s archenemies, Israel and the United States, which are waging a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran to try to force it to restrict its nuclear program and stop backing militias in the region.

Iran’s receptiveness for contact with the Saudis contrasts with its chilly tone toward the United States. Last week, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, dodged an opportunity to speak directly with Mr. Trump while both were attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The new overtures between Saudi Arabia and Iran began in the aftermath of last month’s drone and cruise missile strikes on two Saudi oil facilities, which Saudi Arabia and the United States accused Iran of orchestrating.

Despite tough threats by the Trump administration, the president declined to order a military response. The demurral raised questions for the Saudis about the American commitment to Saudi security, which has underpinned the strategic layout of the Persian Gulf for decades.

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan met with Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, in Jeddah last month. Days later, while Mr. Khan was at the General Assembly, he told reporters that Prince Mohammed had asked him to talk to Iran.

Prince Mohammed told Mr. Khan, “I want to avoid war,” according to a senior Pakistani official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. “He asked the prime minister to get involved.”

Mr. Khan then spoke with Mr. Rouhani on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

The Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, visited Saudi Arabia a few days after Mr. Khan did.

A senior Iraqi official said that Prince Mohammed asked Mr. Abdul Mahdi to mediate with Iran, and that Iraq had suggested Baghdad as the venue for a potential meeting.

“There is a big response from Saudi Arabia and from Iran and even from Yemen,” Mr. Abdul Mahdi told journalists in Iraq after his return from the kingdom. “And I think that these endeavors will have a good effect.”

Iran endorsed the idea.

“Iran is open to starting a dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region,” Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s Parliament, told Al Jazeera in an interview broadcast on Tuesday. “An Iranian-Saudi dialogue,” he added, “could solve many of the region’s security and political problems.”

While they explore back-channel possibilities, both sides have continued to stake out staunchly opposing public positions.

The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia had not asked anyone to send messages to Iran. Instead, he wrote, other countries he did not identify had offered to serve as intermediaries.

“We informed them that the truce needs to come from the side that is escalating and spreading chaos through aggressive acts in the region,” Mr. al-Jubeir wrote.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran said that his country would “definitely greet Saudi Arabia with open arms” — but only if it prioritized friendly relations with neighbors over purchasing weapons from the United States.

Iran has long sought to pull Saudi Arabia away from the United States and Israel. But it was the lack of an American military response to the strikes on Saudi oil facilities that appeared to have created an opening.

“There are cracks in the armor suggesting Saudi Arabia is interested in exploring a new relationship with Iran,” said Philip Gordon, a former White House coordinator for the Middle East. “The worst outcome for the Saudis is to move to a confrontation with Iran expecting the U.S. to support them and find out they won’t.”

He added, “This administration has shown it’s not really ready to take on Iran.”

Top officials from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi allies which could suffer if open conflict broke out, have spoken publicly of the need for diplomacy to reduce tensions and have made their own efforts to reach out to Iran. The Emirates has held direct maritime security talks with Iran, and has pulled back from the war in Yemen, where it is allied with the Saudis in a battle against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

If Saudi Arabia joins Kuwait and the Emirates in reaching out to Iran, it could undermine the Trump administration’s effort to build an international coalition to ostracize and pressure the Iranians.

“The anti-Iran alliance is not just faltering, it’s crumbling,” Martin Indyk, the executive vice president of Brookings Institution and a former senior diplomat, said Thursday on Twitter. “MBZ has struck his deal with Iran; MBS is not far behind,” he said, referring to the Emirati crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, or MBZ, and the Saudi crown prince, known as MBS.

He also noted that Mr. Trump’s most hawkish anti-Iran adviser, John R. Bolton, had left the administration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is fighting for his political life and Mr. Trump has shown a willingness to talk directly to the Iranians.

For the Saudis, even indirect talks with Iran would represent a significant departure from Prince Mohammed’s approach to his prime regional rival since his father, King Salman, ascended to the Saudi throne in 2015.

He has cast Iran as the root of the Middle East’s problems and argued that political and theological differences make negotiations impossible. He has compared Iran’s supreme leader to Hitler and threatened to instigate violence inside Iran’s borders.

“We are a primary target for the Iranian regime,” Prince Mohammed said in 2017. “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

His antipathy toward Iran gave him common cause with Israel and the Trump administration. The Saudis have pitched themselves as the United States’ greatest ally against Iran, proposing they carry out joint operations to weaken it and possibly bring about regime change, according to former United States officials.

But Prince Mohammed may now be more willing to explore a possible accommodation.

“We have reached the peak of Saudi-Iran tensions and both sides have concluded this balance of fear is detrimental to their interests,” said Saeed Shariati, a political analyst in Tehran.

For now, the rift appears wide, and possibly unbridgeable. The Saudis criticize Iran for backing militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, where the kingdom has been mired in a disastrous war against the Houthis for four years.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attacks on Saudi oil facilities that seem to have helped prompt the diplomatic initiatives, but many Western experts believed that the Houthis could not have carried out the strikes unassisted.

Mr. al-Jubeir said Tuesday that Iran needed to stop its ballistic missile program, refrain from interfering in Arab states and “act like a normal country, and not like a rogue who sponsors terrorism.”

For its part, Iran has called on Saudi Arabia to freeze its multibillion-dollar arms purchases from the United States, stop its intervention in Yemen and end discrimination against the Shiite Muslim minority in Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim-led absolute monarchy.

At the General Assembly last week, Iran’s president, Mr. Rouhani, aimed part of his speech directly at Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.

“It’s the Islamic Republic of Iran who is your neighbor,” he said. “At the day of an event, you and us will be alone. We are each other’s neighbors, not America.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf

The oil-rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf have relied for decades on the promise of protection by the United States military, a commitment sealed by the rollback of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and reinforced by a half dozen American military bases that sprang up around the region.

Now that commitment is facing its most serious test since the first gulf war: an attack last Saturday by a swarm of at least 17 missiles and drones that crippled Saudi Arabia’s most critical oil installation and temporarily knocked out 5 percent of the world’s oil supply.

Washington and Riyadh blamed Iran, despite its denials, and President Trump threatened that the United States was “locked and loaded.” Yet despite months of such bravado, Mr. Trump has been hesitant to take military action that might risk an expanded conflagration. For better or worse, such a muted response could signal another turning point for the region.

“It is enormous,” said Gregory Gause, a scholar of the region at Texas A&M University. “This is the most serious challenge since the invasion of Kuwait to the status of the United States as a great power that would protect the free flow of energy from the region, and unless there is a big change in the response from the Trump administration I think Gulf leaders will start to question the value of that security commitment.”

Confounding expectations on all sides of the Persian Gulf, the attack and its aftermath have laid bare a cascade of revelations about the regional balance of power.

The stunning success of the attack has shown that billions of dollars in Saudi military spending has left the kingdom’s central industry vulnerable, and it has demonstrated to the world that the increasing availability of low-flying cruise missiles and drones may have rendered many other defense systems perilously obsolete.

It has also shown the world a new side of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the hard charging and often impulsive de facto ruler of the kingdom: He, too, has been forced in this case to back away from immediate retribution against his nemesis, Iran.

If Iran carried out the attack directly, as Washington and Riyadh say, then it has taken a brazen step beyond its familiar strategy of working through allied militant groups to strike at its foes, evidently surprising the White House.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161012769_abe13950-dc14-415d-8511-0fdc5722ac94-articleLarge Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Nuclear Weapons Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Gulf of Oman Incident (June 2019) Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Debris from missiles that the Saudi government says were used in last weekend’s attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Seeking to exact a price from the United States for its sanctions on Iranian oil sales, Tehran may also now be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war in the region. The attack on Saudi Arabia was just the latest in a string of recent attacks carried out by Iran or a proxy — including attacks on oil tankers and the downing of an American drone — with little or no cost to Iran.

And President Trump, focused on his re-election, has so far shown himself less willing to match Iran’s escalation than his ferocious tweets about “obliteration” and “the official end of Iran” had suggested. He recently fired the adviser most hawkish on Iran, John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser. And instead of emphasizing the traditional American interest in the free flow of oil, he appears to have returned to a view he espoused before his election — “Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars,” as he wrote in a tweet in 2014.

That Iran would seek in some way to attack Saudi oil production, though, was hardly unexpected. Experts had predicted for months that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Iran’s oil sales would drive it to lash out against the oil production of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States.

The rulers of those Arab states had previously accused President Obama of trying to pull back from the American commitment to the region. They faulted him for negotiating a 2015 deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions without further constraining its military or other activities. And the Gulf leaders were outraged when Mr. Obama called off a planned strike against Syria, an Iranian ally, for using chemical weapons against civilians.

Now some prominent voices in the Arab Gulf States accuse Mr. Trump of an even greater betrayal. “Trump, in his response to Iran, is even worse than Obama,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent political scientist in the United Arab Emirates.

Instead of reversing the perceived pullback as Gulf leaders had expected, Mr. Abdulla argued, President Trump let down his Arab partners by failing to respond more forcefully to Iranian aggressions.

The United States has said that Iran was behind naval mines that damaged five oil tankers in the Persian Gulf this spring, and in June Iran boasted of shooting down an American surveillance drone. Yet President Trump did little in retaliation for the tanker attacks and called off a planned airstrike against Iran in response to the downing of the drone.

“His inaction gave a green light to this,” Mr. Abdulla said. “Now an Arab Gulf strategic partner has been massively attacked by Iran — which was provoked by Trump, not by us — and we hear Americans saying to us, you need to defend yourselves!”

The oil installation in the eastern city of Abqaiq burned after the attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

“It is an utter failure and utter disappointment in this administration,” he added.

Mr. Trump has not ruled out a military strike, and senior national security officials met Thursday to refine a list of potential targets should President Trump go that route. Still, he has made clear his opposition to another war, and has ordered new sanctions.

But Iran is already under acute economic pressure from the existing sanctions, which use the reach of the American financial system to try to choke off Iranian oil exports anywhere in the world. After pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration implemented the sweeping new penalties this spring to try to force Iran to accept a more restrictive agreement.

Iranian leaders have denounced the sanctions as “economic warfare,” and they appear to have orchestrated an escalating series of attacks that threaten the flow of Persian Gulf oil in order to inflict some of the same pain on the United States and Washington’s Arab allies.

“The Iranians do feel cornered,” Professor Gause said, and that is why they appear to be taking more aggressive action than they have in the past. “This is an effort by Iran to break out of what they see as strangulation.”

Defending the administration’s policies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued this week that the sanctions may have limited Iran’s ability to strike with even more sophisticated missiles or drones.

“They’d have more complex ones but for the sanctions we put in place that have prevented them from getting access to money, most importantly, but also parts, spare parts, information technology,” he told reporters on a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Iranian leaders have denied responsibility for the attack last weekend, but at the same time they have openly reveled in its success. It showed the United States “that playing with the lion’s tail carries serious dangers and if they take action against Iran there will be no tomorrow for them,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp boasted Thursday, Iranian news media reported.

The Iranians may have previously worried about Mr. Trump’s threatening tweets and hawkish advisers, said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at Brookings Institution. “But now they see that he is not going to follow through on the bluff that he has carried out on behalf of the American people,” she said.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran this week. Iran may be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war.CreditOffice of the Iranian Presidency

Others analysts argued that the alarms from the Persian Gulf about an American retreat were overblown under President Obama and remain so under President Trump. American warships are patrolling the gulf to help protect tanker traffic. American satellite and surveillance drones patrol the skies. The many large American military bases deter invasions or other large-scale military actions.

But President Trump’s combination of tough threats and a weak response “is the worst of both worlds,” argued Jeremy Shapiro, research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official in the Obama administration.

“It would be foolish to counter this escalation with an escalation, but it was foolish to get into this position in the first place,” he argued, leaving the Trump administration “to choose between an unwise escalation or a humiliating climb-down.”

Experts on military technology said Saudi Arabia should not be faulted for failing to stop the attack. Like those of other countries, Saudi Arabia’s defenses were designed to stop ballistic missiles. This attack appears to have been carried out with low-flying cruise missiles or drones that would escape detection by most radar systems.

“I don’t think that there is any country that could have defended any better than Saudi Arabia did, and that includes the United States,” said Peter Roberts, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, an international research institute.

Yet the attack appears to have caused some rethinking by Crown Prince Mohammed.

Soon after he was first named defense minister, in 2015, he plunged the kingdom into a military campaign in neighboring Yemen to drive from power a faction backed by Iran. Saudi media outlets proclaimed that the prince was asserting the kingdom’s power and leading a new drive to roll back Iranian influence.

“The Iranians, they’re the cause of problems in the Middle East, but they are not a big threat to Saudi Arabia,” the prince boasted confidently to Time magazine in 2018. “Saudi Arabia’s economy is double the size of the Iranian economy,” he said, adding that Iran’s army was “not among the top five” in the Middle East.

“We will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, and not in Saudi Arabia,” he promised on a Saudi news channel.

Yet the damage to the oil installation was a painful lesson in the potential costs of a wider conflict, at a time when the Saudi military remains bogged down in Yemen and Prince Mohammed has been pushing for a public sale of the Saudi state oil company.

The Saudi decision to call for an international investigation and not immediate retribution may be the choice of a chastened prince, analysts said. “I think there has a been a calculation that the costs might be too high,” said Rebecca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf

The oil-rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf have relied for decades on the promise of protection by the United States military, a commitment sealed by the rollback of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and reinforced by a half dozen American military bases that sprang up around the region.

Now that commitment is facing its most serious test since the first gulf war: an attack last Saturday by a swarm of at least 17 missiles and drones that crippled Saudi Arabia’s most critical oil installation and temporarily knocked out 5 percent of the world’s oil supply.

Washington and Riyadh blamed Iran, despite its denials, and President Trump threatened that the United States was “locked and loaded.” Yet despite months of such bravado, Mr. Trump has been hesitant to take military action that might risk an expanded conflagration. For better or worse, such a muted response could signal another turning point for the region.

“It is enormous,” said Gregory Gause, a scholar of the region at Texas A&M University. “This is the most serious challenge since the invasion of Kuwait to the status of the United States as a great power that would protect the free flow of energy from the region, and unless there is a big change in the response from the Trump administration I think Gulf leaders will start to question the value of that security commitment.”

Confounding expectations on all sides of the Persian Gulf, the attack and its aftermath have laid bare a cascade of revelations about the regional balance of power.

The stunning success of the attack has shown that billions of dollars in Saudi military spending has left the kingdom’s central industry vulnerable, and it has demonstrated to the world that the increasing availability of low-flying cruise missiles and drones may have rendered many other defense systems perilously obsolete.

It has also shown the world a new side of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the hard charging and often impulsive de facto ruler of the kingdom: He, too, has been forced in this case to back away from immediate retribution against his nemesis, Iran.

If Iran carried out the attack directly, as Washington and Riyadh say, then it has taken a brazen step beyond its familiar strategy of working through allied militant groups to strike at its foes, evidently surprising the White House.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161012769_abe13950-dc14-415d-8511-0fdc5722ac94-articleLarge Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Nuclear Weapons Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Gulf of Oman Incident (June 2019) Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Debris from missiles that the Saudi government says were used in last weekend’s attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Seeking to exact a price from the United States for its sanctions on Iranian oil sales, Tehran may also now be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war in the region. The attack on Saudi Arabia was just the latest in a string of recent attacks carried out by Iran or a proxy — including attacks on oil tankers and the downing of an American drone — with little or no cost to Iran.

And President Trump, focused on his re-election, has so far shown himself less willing to match Iran’s escalation than his ferocious tweets about “obliteration” and “the official end of Iran” had suggested. He recently fired the adviser most hawkish on Iran, John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser. And instead of emphasizing the traditional American interest in the free flow of oil, he appears to have returned to a view he espoused before his election — “Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars,” as he wrote in a tweet in 2014.

That Iran would seek in some way to attack Saudi oil production, though, was hardly unexpected. Experts had predicted for months that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Iran’s oil sales would drive it to lash out against the oil production of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States.

The rulers of those Arab states had previously accused President Obama of trying to pull back from the American commitment to the region. They faulted him for negotiating a 2015 deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions without further constraining its military or other activities. And the Gulf leaders were outraged when Mr. Obama called off a planned strike against Syria, an Iranian ally, for using chemical weapons against civilians.

Now some prominent voices in the Arab Gulf States accuse Mr. Trump of an even greater betrayal. “Trump, in his response to Iran, is even worse than Obama,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent political scientist in the United Arab Emirates.

Instead of reversing the perceived pullback as Gulf leaders had expected, Mr. Abdulla argued, President Trump let down his Arab partners by failing to respond more forcefully to Iranian aggressions.

The United States has said that Iran was behind naval mines that damaged five oil tankers in the Persian Gulf this spring, and in June Iran boasted of shooting down an American surveillance drone. Yet President Trump did little in retaliation for the tanker attacks and called off a planned airstrike against Iran in response to the downing of the drone.

“His inaction gave a green light to this,” Mr. Abdulla said. “Now an Arab Gulf strategic partner has been massively attacked by Iran — which was provoked by Trump, not by us — and we hear Americans saying to us, you need to defend yourselves!”

The oil installation in the eastern city of Abqaiq burned after the attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

“It is an utter failure and utter disappointment in this administration,” he added.

Mr. Trump has not ruled out a military strike, and senior national security officials met Thursday to refine a list of potential targets should President Trump go that route. Still, he has made clear his opposition to another war, and has ordered new sanctions.

But Iran is already under acute economic pressure from the existing sanctions, which use the reach of the American financial system to try to choke off Iranian oil exports anywhere in the world. After pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration implemented the sweeping new penalties this spring to try to force Iran to accept a more restrictive agreement.

Iranian leaders have denounced the sanctions as “economic warfare,” and they appear to have orchestrated an escalating series of attacks that threaten the flow of Persian Gulf oil in order to inflict some of the same pain on the United States and Washington’s Arab allies.

“The Iranians do feel cornered,” Professor Gause said, and that is why they appear to be taking more aggressive action than they have in the past. “This is an effort by Iran to break out of what they see as strangulation.”

Defending the administration’s policies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued this week that the sanctions may have limited Iran’s ability to strike with even more sophisticated missiles or drones.

“They’d have more complex ones but for the sanctions we put in place that have prevented them from getting access to money, most importantly, but also parts, spare parts, information technology,” he told reporters on a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Iranian leaders have denied responsibility for the attack last weekend, but at the same time they have openly reveled in its success. It showed the United States “that playing with the lion’s tail carries serious dangers and if they take action against Iran there will be no tomorrow for them,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp boasted Thursday, Iranian news media reported.

The Iranians may have previously worried about Mr. Trump’s threatening tweets and hawkish advisers, said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at Brookings Institution. “But now they see that he is not going to follow through on the bluff that he has carried out on behalf of the American people,” she said.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran this week. Iran may be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war.CreditOffice of the Iranian Presidency

Others analysts argued that the alarms from the Persian Gulf about an American retreat were overblown under President Obama and remain so under President Trump. American warships are patrolling the gulf to help protect tanker traffic. American satellite and surveillance drones patrol the skies. The many large American military bases deter invasions or other large-scale military actions.

But President Trump’s combination of tough threats and a weak response “is the worst of both worlds,” argued Jeremy Shapiro, research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official in the Obama administration.

“It would be foolish to counter this escalation with an escalation, but it was foolish to get into this position in the first place,” he argued, leaving the Trump administration “to choose between an unwise escalation or a humiliating climb-down.”

Experts on military technology said Saudi Arabia should not be faulted for failing to stop the attack. Like those of other countries, Saudi Arabia’s defenses were designed to stop ballistic missiles. This attack appears to have been carried out with low-flying cruise missiles or drones that would escape detection by most radar systems.

“I don’t think that there is any country that could have defended any better than Saudi Arabia did, and that includes the United States,” said Peter Roberts, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, an international research institute.

Yet the attack appears to have caused some rethinking by Crown Prince Mohammed.

Soon after he was first named defense minister, in 2015, he plunged the kingdom into a military campaign in neighboring Yemen to drive from power a faction backed by Iran. Saudi media outlets proclaimed that the prince was asserting the kingdom’s power and leading a new drive to roll back Iranian influence.

“The Iranians, they’re the cause of problems in the Middle East, but they are not a big threat to Saudi Arabia,” the prince boasted confidently to Time magazine in 2018. “Saudi Arabia’s economy is double the size of the Iranian economy,” he said, adding that Iran’s army was “not among the top five” in the Middle East.

“We will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, and not in Saudi Arabia,” he promised on a Saudi news channel.

Yet the damage to the oil installation was a painful lesson in the potential costs of a wider conflict, at a time when the Saudi military remains bogged down in Yemen and Prince Mohammed has been pushing for a public sale of the Saudi state oil company.

The Saudi decision to call for an international investigation and not immediate retribution may be the choice of a chastened prince, analysts said. “I think there has a been a calculation that the costs might be too high,” said Rebecca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf

The oil-rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf have relied for decades on the promise of protection by the United States military, a commitment sealed by the rollback of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and reinforced by a half dozen American military bases that sprang up around the region.

Now that commitment is facing its most serious test since the first gulf war: an attack last Saturday by a swarm of at least 17 missiles and drones that crippled Saudi Arabia’s most critical oil installation and temporarily knocked out 5 percent of the world’s oil supply.

Washington and Riyadh blamed Iran, despite its denials, and President Trump threatened that the United States was “locked and loaded.” Yet despite months of such bravado, Mr. Trump has been hesitant to take military action that might risk an expanded conflagration. For better or worse, such a muted response could signal another turning point for the region.

“It is enormous,” said Gregory Gause, a scholar of the region at Texas A&M University. “This is the most serious challenge since the invasion of Kuwait to the status of the United States as a great power that would protect the free flow of energy from the region, and unless there is a big change in the response from the Trump administration I think Gulf leaders will start to question the value of that security commitment.”

Confounding expectations on all sides of the Persian Gulf, the attack and its aftermath have laid bare a cascade of revelations about the regional balance of power.

The stunning success of the attack has shown that billions of dollars in Saudi military spending has left the kingdom’s central industry vulnerable, and it has demonstrated to the world that the increasing availability of low-flying cruise missiles and drones may have rendered many other defense systems perilously obsolete.

It has also shown the world a new side of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the hard charging and often impulsive de facto ruler of the kingdom: He, too, has been forced in this case to back away from immediate retribution against his nemesis, Iran.

If Iran carried out the attack directly, as Washington and Riyadh say, then it has taken a brazen step beyond its familiar strategy of working through allied militant groups to strike at its foes, evidently surprising the White House.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161012769_abe13950-dc14-415d-8511-0fdc5722ac94-articleLarge Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Nuclear Weapons Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Gulf of Oman Incident (June 2019) Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Debris from missiles that the Saudi government says were used in last weekend’s attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Seeking to exact a price from the United States for its sanctions on Iranian oil sales, Tehran may also now be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war in the region. The attack on Saudi Arabia was just the latest in a string of recent attacks carried out by Iran or a proxy — including attacks on oil tankers and the downing of an American drone — with little or no cost to Iran.

And President Trump, focused on his re-election, has so far shown himself less willing to match Iran’s escalation than his ferocious tweets about “obliteration” and “the official end of Iran” had suggested. He recently fired the adviser most hawkish on Iran, John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser. And instead of emphasizing the traditional American interest in the free flow of oil, he appears to have returned to a view he espoused before his election — “Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars,” as he wrote in a tweet in 2014.

That Iran would seek in some way to attack Saudi oil production, though, was hardly unexpected. Experts had predicted for months that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Iran’s oil sales would drive it to lash out against the oil production of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States.

The rulers of those Arab states had previously accused President Obama of trying to pull back from the American commitment to the region. They faulted him for negotiating a 2015 deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions without further constraining its military or other activities. And the Gulf leaders were outraged when Mr. Obama called off a planned strike against Syria, an Iranian ally, for using chemical weapons against civilians.

Now some prominent voices in the Arab Gulf States accuse Mr. Trump of an even greater betrayal. “Trump, in his response to Iran, is even worse than Obama,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent political scientist in the United Arab Emirates.

Instead of reversing the perceived pullback as Gulf leaders had expected, Mr. Abdulla argued, President Trump let down his Arab partners by failing to respond more forcefully to Iranian aggressions.

The United States has said that Iran was behind naval mines that damaged five oil tankers in the Persian Gulf this spring, and in June Iran boasted of shooting down an American surveillance drone. Yet President Trump did little in retaliation for the tanker attacks and called off a planned airstrike against Iran in response to the downing of the drone.

“His inaction gave a green light to this,” Mr. Abdulla said. “Now an Arab Gulf strategic partner has been massively attacked by Iran — which was provoked by Trump, not by us — and we hear Americans saying to us, you need to defend yourselves!”

The oil installation in the eastern city of Abqaiq burned after the attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

“It is an utter failure and utter disappointment in this administration,” he added.

Mr. Trump has not ruled out a military strike, and senior national security officials met Thursday to refine a list of potential targets should President Trump go that route. Still, he has made clear his opposition to another war, and has ordered new sanctions.

But Iran is already under acute economic pressure from the existing sanctions, which use the reach of the American financial system to try to choke off Iranian oil exports anywhere in the world. After pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration implemented the sweeping new penalties this spring to try to force Iran to accept a more restrictive agreement.

Iranian leaders have denounced the sanctions as “economic warfare,” and they appear to have orchestrated an escalating series of attacks that threaten the flow of Persian Gulf oil in order to inflict some of the same pain on the United States and Washington’s Arab allies.

“The Iranians do feel cornered,” Professor Gause said, and that is why they appear to be taking more aggressive action than they have in the past. “This is an effort by Iran to break out of what they see as strangulation.”

Defending the administration’s policies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued this week that the sanctions may have limited Iran’s ability to strike with even more sophisticated missiles or drones.

“They’d have more complex ones but for the sanctions we put in place that have prevented them from getting access to money, most importantly, but also parts, spare parts, information technology,” he told reporters on a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Iranian leaders have denied responsibility for the attack last weekend, but at the same time they have openly reveled in its success. It showed the United States “that playing with the lion’s tail carries serious dangers and if they take action against Iran there will be no tomorrow for them,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp boasted Thursday, Iranian news media reported.

The Iranians may have previously worried about Mr. Trump’s threatening tweets and hawkish advisers, said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at Brookings Institution. “But now they see that he is not going to follow through on the bluff that he has carried out on behalf of the American people,” she said.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran this week. Iran may be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war.CreditOffice of the Iranian Presidency

Others analysts argued that the alarms from the Persian Gulf about an American retreat were overblown under President Obama and remain so under President Trump. American warships are patrolling the gulf to help protect tanker traffic. American satellite and surveillance drones patrol the skies. The many large American military bases deter invasions or other large-scale military actions.

But President Trump’s combination of tough threats and a weak response “is the worst of both worlds,” argued Jeremy Shapiro, research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official in the Obama administration.

“It would be foolish to counter this escalation with an escalation, but it was foolish to get into this position in the first place,” he argued, leaving the Trump administration “to choose between an unwise escalation or a humiliating climb-down.”

Experts on military technology said Saudi Arabia should not be faulted for failing to stop the attack. Like those of other countries, Saudi Arabia’s defenses were designed to stop ballistic missiles. This attack appears to have been carried out with low-flying cruise missiles or drones that would escape detection by most radar systems.

“I don’t think that there is any country that could have defended any better than Saudi Arabia did, and that includes the United States,” said Peter Roberts, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, an international research institute.

Yet the attack appears to have caused some rethinking by Crown Prince Mohammed.

Soon after he was first named defense minister, in 2015, he plunged the kingdom into a military campaign in neighboring Yemen to drive from power a faction backed by Iran. Saudi media outlets proclaimed that the prince was asserting the kingdom’s power and leading a new drive to roll back Iranian influence.

“The Iranians, they’re the cause of problems in the Middle East, but they are not a big threat to Saudi Arabia,” the prince boasted confidently to Time magazine in 2018. “Saudi Arabia’s economy is double the size of the Iranian economy,” he said, adding that Iran’s army was “not among the top five” in the Middle East.

“We will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, and not in Saudi Arabia,” he promised on a Saudi news channel.

Yet the damage to the oil installation was a painful lesson in the potential costs of a wider conflict, at a time when the Saudi military remains bogged down in Yemen and Prince Mohammed has been pushing for a public sale of the Saudi state oil company.

The Saudi decision to call for an international investigation and not immediate retribution may be the choice of a chastened prince, analysts said. “I think there has a been a calculation that the costs might be too high,” said Rebecca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.

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Attack on Saudi Arabia Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf

The oil rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf have relied for decades on the promise of protection by the United States military, a commitment sealed by the rollback of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and reinforced by a half dozen American military bases that sprung up around the region.

Now that commitment is facing its most serious test since the first gulf war: an attack last Saturday by a swarm of at least 17 missiles and drones that crippled Saudi Arabia’s most critical oil installation and temporarily knocked out five percent of the world’s oil supply.

Washington and Riyadh blamed Iran, despite its denials, and President Trump threatened that the United States was “locked and loaded.” Yet despite months of such bravado, Mr. Trump has been hesitant to take military action that might risk an expanded conflagration. For better or worse, such a muted response could signal another turning point for the region.

“It is enormous,” said Gregory Gause, a scholar of the region at Texas A&M University. “This is the most serious challenge since the invasion of Kuwait to the status of the United States as a great power that would protect the free flow of energy from the region, and unless there is a big change in the response from the Trump administration I think Gulf leaders will start to question the value of that security commitment.”

Confounding expectations on all sides of the Persian Gulf, the attack and its aftermath have laid bare a cascade of revelations about the regional balance of power.

The stunning success of the attack has shown that billions of dollars in Saudi military spending has left the kingdom’s central industry vulnerable, and it has demonstrated to the world that the increasing availability of low-flying cruise missiles and drones may have rendered many other defense systems perilously obsolete.

It has also shown the world a new side of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the hard charging and often impulsive de facto ruler of the kingdom: he, too, has been forced in this case to back away from immediate retribution against his nemesis, Iran.

If Iran carried out the attack directly, as Washington and Riyadh say, then it has taken a brazen step beyond its familiar strategy of working through allied militant groups to strike at its foes, evidently surprising the White House.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161012769_abe13950-dc14-415d-8511-0fdc5722ac94-articleLarge Attack on Saudi Arabia Tests U.S. Guarantee to Defend Gulf United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Nuclear Weapons Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Gulf of Oman Incident (June 2019) Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Debris from missiles that the Saudi government says were used in last weekend’s attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Seeking to exact a price from the United States for its sanctions on Iranian oil sales, Tehran may also now be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war in the region. The attack on Saudi Arabia was just the latest in a string of recent attacks carried out by Iran or a proxy — including attacks on oil tankers and the downing of an American drone — with little or no cost to Iran.

And President Trump, focused on his re-election, has so far shown himself less willing to match Iran’s escalation than his ferocious tweets about “obliteration” and “the official end of Iran” had suggested. He recently fired the adviser most hawkish on Iran, John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser. And instead of emphasizing the traditional American interest in the free flow of oil, he appears to have returned to a view he espoused before his election — “Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars,” as he wrote in a tweet in 2014.

That Iran would seek in some way to attack Saudi oil production, though, was hardly unexpected. Experts had predicted for months that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Iran’s oil sales would drive it to lash out against the oil production of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States.

The rulers of those Arab states had previously accused President Obama of trying to pull back from the American commitment to region. They faulted him for negotiating a 2015 deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions without further constraining its military or other activities. And the Gulf leaders were outraged when Mr. Obama called off a planned strike against Syria, an Iranian ally, for using chemical weapons against civilians.

Now some prominent voices in the Arab Gulf States accuse Mr. Trump of an even greater betrayal. “Trump, in his response to Iran, is even worse than Obama,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent political scientist in the United Arab Emirates.

Instead of reversing the perceived pullback as Gulf leaders had expected, Mr. Abdulla argued, President Trump let down his Arab partners by failing to respond more forcefully to Iranian aggressions.

The United States has said that Iran was behind naval mines that damaged five oil tankers in the Persian Gulf this spring, and in June Iran boasted of shooting down an American surveillance drone. Yet President Trump did little in retaliation for the tanker attacks and called off a planned airstrike against Iran in response to the downing of the drone.

“His inaction gave a green light to this,” Mr. Abdulla said. “Now an Arab Gulf strategic partner has been massively attacked by Iran — which was provoked by Trump, not by us — and we hear Americans saying to us, you need to defend yourselves!”

The oil installation in the eastern city of Abqaiq burned after the attack.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

“It is an utter failure and utter disappointment in this administration,” he added.

Mr. Trump has not ruled out a military strike, and senior national security officials met Thursday to refine a list of potential targets should President Trump go that route. Still, he has made clear his opposition to another war, and has ordered new sanctions.

But Iran is already under acute economic pressure from the existing sanctions, which use the reach of the American financial system to try to choke off Iranian oil exports anywhere in the world. After pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration implemented the sweeping new penalties this spring to try to force Iran to accept a more restrictive agreement.

Iranian leaders have denounced the sanctions as “economic warfare,” and they appear to have orchestrated an escalating series of attacks that threaten the flow of Persian Gulf oil in order to inflict some of the same pain on the United States and Washington’s Arab allies.

“The Iranians do feel cornered,” Professor Gause said, and that is why they appear to be taking more aggressive action than they have in the past. “This is an effort by Iran to break out of what they see as strangulation.”

Defending the administration’s policies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued this week that the sanctions may have limited Iran’s ability to strike with even more sophisticated missiles or drones.

“They’d have more complex ones but for the sanctions we put in place that have prevented them from getting access to money, most importantly, but also parts, spare parts, information technology,” he told reporters on a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Iranian leaders have denied responsibility for the attack last weekend, but at the same time they have openly reveled in its success. It showed the United States “that playing with the lion’s tail carries serious dangers and if they take action against Iran there will be no tomorrow for them,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp boasted Thursday, Iranian news media reported.

The Iranians may have previously worried about Mr. Trump’s threatening tweets and hawkish advisers, said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at Brookings Institution. “But now they see that he is not going to follow through on the bluff that he has carried out on behalf of the American people,” she said.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran this week. Iran may be emboldened to carry out further attacks, calculating that President Trump will balk at another war.CreditOffice of the Iranian Presidency

Others analysts argued that the alarms from the Persian Gulf about an American retreat were overblown under President Obama and remain so under President Trump. American warships are patrolling the gulf to help protect tanker traffic. American satellite and surveillance drones patrol the skies. The many large American military bases deter invasions or other large-scale military actions.

But President Trump’s combination of tough threats and a weak response “is the worst of both worlds,” argued Jeremy Shapiro, research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official in the Obama administration.

“It would be foolish to counter this escalation with an escalation, but it was foolish to get into this position in the first place,” he argued, leaving the Trump administration “to choose between an unwise escalation or a humiliating climb-down.”

Experts on military technology said Saudi Arabia should not be faulted for failing to stop the attack. Like those of other countries, Saudi Arabia’s defenses were designed to stop ballistic missiles. This attack appears to have been carried out with low-flying cruise missiles or drones that would escape detection by most radar systems.

“I don’t think that there is any country that could have defended any better than Saudi Arabia did, and that includes the United States,” said Peter Roberts, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, an international research institute.

Yet the attack appears to have caused some rethinking by Crown Prince Mohammed.

Soon after he was first named defense minister, in 2015, he plunged the kingdom into a military campaign in neighboring Yemen to drive from power a faction backed by Iran. Saudi media outlets proclaimed that the prince was asserting the kingdom’s power and leading a new drive to roll back Iranian influence.

“The Iranians, they’re the cause of problems in the Middle East, but they are not a big threat to Saudi Arabia,” the prince boasted confidently to Time magazine in 2018. “Saudi Arabia’s economy is double the size of the Iranian economy,” he said, adding that Iran’s army was “ not among the top five” in the Middle East.

“We will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, and not in Saudi Arabia,” he promised on a Saudi news channel.

Yet the damage to the oil installation was a painful lesson in the potential costs of a wider conflict, at a time when the Saudi military remains bogged down in Yemen and Prince Mohammed has been pushing for a public sale of the Saudi state oil company.

The Saudi decision to call for an international investigation and not immediate retribution may be the choice of a chastened prince, analysts said. “I think there has a been a calculation that the costs might be too high,” said Rebecca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.

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Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ and Seeks Coalition to Counter Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Wednesday of carrying out an “act of war” with aerial strikes on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia last weekend, as he met with Saudi leaders to discuss building a coalition to deter further attacks.

Mr. Pompeo’s condemnation was the strongest yet from any American official about the attack on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, which cut oil production, left two of the kingdom’s most vital facilities smoldering and exposed failures by the Saudis and their American allies in detecting an incoming aerial assault.

The attack also raised fears that tensions between the United States and Iran, which have been rising since President Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear agreement last year, could escalate into a new war.

Despite Mr. Pompeo’s statement, President Trump pushed back against another American military entanglement in the Middle East, speaking only of unspecified new sanctions on Iran.

Asked about a possible retaliatory American attack on Iran, Mr. Trump told reporters in Los Angeles: “There are many options. There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that.”

In Saudi Arabia, military officials displayed parts of destroyed drones and cruise missiles that they said pointed to Iranian complicity. But they did not specify who exactly had carried out the attack, from where or what action they wanted the United States to take.

The attack shocked Saudi leaders and Trump administration officials, who have spent years casting Iran as the prime troublemaker in the Middle East and vowing to confront it forcefully. But as the days have passed since the strike, it has become clear that other factors are restraining them from putting bellicose rhetoric into action.

Mr. Trump, who ran on pledges to end America’s wars abroad, has indicated he would like another option short of dragging the United States into a military conflict over an attack that killed no Americans.

And as much as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, hates Iran’s rising regional influence, analysts said that he has reasons to tread carefully: The attack laid bare the kingdom’s vulnerabilities; Prince Mohammed questions the support he would get from the Trump administration in a real war with Iran; and further violence could dampen interest in his proposed public sale of stock in Aramco, the Saudi state oil monopoly.

The Aramco stock offering is central to Prince Mohammed’s plans for the country, which include diversifying the economy away from oil and creating more jobs for young Saudis.

Such caution toward Iran marks a U-turn for the 34-year-old crown prince, who has belittled Iran’s military abilities, compared its Supreme Leader to Hitler and suggested that Saudi Arabia would take the fight to Iran inside its own borders.

“We will not wait until the battle is in Saudi Arabia,” he told an interviewer in 2017. “We will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, and not in Saudi Arabia.”

Westlake Legal Group saudi-oil-attack-promo-1568672150666-articleLarge-v2 Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ and Seeks Coalition to Counter Iran United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

Who Was Behind the Saudi Oil Attack? What the Evidence Shows

American officials have offered only satellite photos, which analysts said were insufficient to prove where the attack came from, which weapons were used and who fired them.

But the attack showed that Iran, which has spent years building a network of allied armed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, can hit Saudi Arabia in its most sensitive spots, and in a way that gives Iran a level of deniability.

“He knows he has a lot to lose,” said Bernard Haykel, a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, referring to Prince Mohammed. “You live in a castle with an arsonist next door, and the arsonist doesn’t have a castle — he has nothing to lose. And the arsonist has shown he can hit you again and again, with precision.”

The drones and cruise missiles said to have been used flew hundreds of miles undetected in a region dotted with American military bases. That raised questions about whether Saudi Arabia can protect itself even with American pledges of help, said Ali Shihabi, a Saudi commentator who speaks frequently with Saudi officials.

“The fact that this thing was able to slip through the American line of defense and then through the Saudi line of defense and hit with the precision that it did, frankly, it was an eye-opener,” he said. “So the question is can you get into a war today when you are not sure what the Americans will do?”

Both Prince Mohammed and Mr. Pompeo sought on Wednesday to frame the attack as the world’s problem.

In a phone call with the president of South Korea, Prince Mohammed called the attack “a true test of international will to confront sabotage that threatens international security and stability.”

In comments to reporters after a flight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he met with Prince Mohammed, Mr. Pompeo accused Iran of having carried out the strikes.

“We were blessed there were no Americans killed in this attack,” he added, “but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always a risk that could happen.”

Instead of threatening a military response, Mr. Pompeo spoke of assembling an international coalition to deter further strikes, without specifying who it would include and what it might do.

“That’s my mission here, is to work with our partners in the region,” he said. He spoke of working with European countries and planned to visit the United Arab Emirates, a close Saudi ally, before returning to Washington.

The State Department said in a statement after their meeting that Mr. Pompeo and Prince Mohammed had “agreed that this was an unacceptable and unprecedented attack that not only threatened Saudi Arabian national security, but also endangered the lives of all the American citizens living and working in Saudi Arabia, as well as the world’s energy supply in general.”

It said they “discussed the need for the international community to come together to counter the continued threat of the Iranian regime.”

Earlier, at a news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the Saudi Defense Ministry provided new details about the weapons it said had been used and showed remnants of drone and cruise missiles it said were plainly of Iranian origin.

A ministry spokesman, Col. Turki al-Maliki, said 18 drones struck one site and four cruise missiles hit another, while three missiles had fallen short of their target.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160995843_c15a4b03-847e-4855-a7ba-ca76214b84c6-articleLarge Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ and Seeks Coalition to Counter Iran United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, center, in Tehran on Wednesday. Mr. Rouhani has said he would meet President Trump only if sanctions were lifted first.CreditIranian Presidency

Saudi Arabia had yet to determine who exactly had launched the attack or from where, but he said it had come from the north, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, not the south, in the direction of Yemen.

The attack, Colonel al-Maliki said, “was unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”

American and Saudi officials have said previously that the attack used Iranian weapons. The Americans also have said that evidence, not yet made public, points to a strike launched from Iran.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been bombed by a Saudi-led coalition for more than four years, claimed credit for the attack while Iran, which backs the Houthis, has denied any responsibility. Iranian officials have said the attacks were in response to the deaths and destruction wrought by the Saudis in Yemen.

American and Saudi officials have said the Houthis possessed neither the sophistication nor the weapons to have carried out the aerial assault on the oil facilities, a point Mr. Pompeo reiterated on Wednesday.

“As for how we know, the equipment used is unknown to be in the Houthis’ arsenal,” he said.

The attack came amid tensions that have been rising between the Trump administration and Iran since President Trump renounced the 2015 agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in return for economic relief. Since then, the United States has been applying a strategy of “maximum pressure” of economic sanctions to punish Iran for what the Trump administration considers its malign activities in the Middle East.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that he had told the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran.” It was not immediately clear how extensive the latest round of penalties would be, but Mr. Trump said details would be released within 48 hours.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran responded on Twitter that Mr. Trump was “escalating U.S. economic war on Iranians.”

Mr. Trump and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, have been expected to cross paths at the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York next week, and there was speculation this summer about a possible face-to-face encounter.

But on Wednesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that an Iranian advance team had been unable to travel to New York because the United States had not granted visas. As a result, it said, Mr. Rouhani and his delegation might not attend the gathering, which runs from Tuesday through the following Monday.

Mr. Pompeo declined to comment on the visa situation. Asked about it at the United Nations, Secretary General António Guterres told reporters he had been “in contact with the host state in order to solve all outstanding visa problems in relation to delegations,” and he hoped that would “solve the problem.”

A senior Trump administration official said that Iran had sought visas for 124 people to assist its delegation, and that the State Department had denied around 40 to those found linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which the administration designated as a terrorist organization in April.

The State Department did not deny a visa to Mr. Zarif, the official said, although his movements are limited to the area close to the United Nations.

Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he is open to a meeting with Mr. Rouhani, which would be the first between leaders of the two countries after four decades of antagonism, but Mr. Rouhani has said the United States must first lift economic sanctions.

Mr. Rouhani sent a formal note on Monday to the United States denying an Iranian role in the Saudi attack and warning that any American action against Iran would bring retaliation, Iranian state news media reported on Wednesday. The note went through Swiss envoys who act as intermediaries because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

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Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ as Trump Tightens Iran Sanctions

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Wednesday of having carried out an “act of war” with aerial strikes on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia last weekend, and he said the United States was working to build a coalition to deter further attacks.

Mr. Pompeo’s words were the strongest so far from any American official regarding the attack on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, which severely impaired production at the leading oil exporter and raised fears that tensions between Iran and the United States could escalate into a new war.

Despite Mr. Pompeo’s statement, President Trump pushed back against another American military entanglement in the Middle East, speaking only of unspecified new sanctions on Iran.

Asked about a possible American attack on Iran, Mr. Trump told reporters in Los Angeles: “There are many options. There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that.”

In Saudi Arabia, military officials displayed what they described as physical evidence that Iran had been responsible for the attack, but did not specify how they intended to respond or what they expected from their American allies.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition for more than four years, have said they were responsible for the attack. Iran, a strong ally of the Houthis, has denied any responsibility. American and Saudi officials have said the Houthis had neither the sophistication nor the weapons to have carried it out.

“This was an Iranian attack,” Mr. Pompeo said. “We were blessed there were no Americans killed in this attack, but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always a risk that could happen.”

Mr. Pompeo spoke to reporters at the end of a flight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of the country, to discuss the intelligence on the attack and actions. Mr. Pompeo also planned to visit the United Arab Emirates on this emergency trip before returning to Washington.

“That’s my mission here, is to work with our partners in the region,” he said. “We will be working with our European partners as well.”

Westlake Legal Group saudi-oil-attack-promo-1568672150666-articleLarge-v2 Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ as Trump Tightens Iran Sanctions United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

Who Was Behind the Saudi Oil Attack? What the Evidence Shows

American officials have offered only satellite photos, which analysts said were insufficient to prove where the attack came from, which weapons were used and who fired them.

“We’re working to build out a coalition to develop a plan to deter them,” Mr. Pompeo added.

He dismissed the claim by the Houthis that they had attacked the oil facilities. “The intelligence community has high confidence that these were not weapons that would have been in the possession of the Houthis,” Mr. Pompeo said. “As for how we know, the equipment used is unknown to be in the Houthis’ arsenal.”

Earlier at a news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the Saudi Defense Ministry showed what it described as debris from the attack site and videos that appeared to be from surveillance cameras on the ground.

“This attack was launched from the north, and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” said Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for ministry.

He said Saudi officials were still trying to determine exactly where the strikes had originated.

In Iran, state media reported Wednesday that American obstruction might force President Hassan Rouhani to miss the annual United Nations General Assembly next week in New York.

The attack on Saturday, which Saudi officials said involved some two dozen drones and cruise missiles, temporarily cut Saudi oil processing in half, shaking global markets and worsening the tensions between the United States and Iran that have prevailed since Mr. Trump took office.

Mr. Trump has already imposed punishing economic sanctions on Iran and some of its top officials, in what the administration has described as a “maximum pressure” campaign to force Iran to negotiate new limits on its nuclear program and stop its sponsorship of militant groups across the Middle East.

On Wednesday morning, he wrote on Twitter that he had told the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran.” It was not immediately clear how extensive the latest round of penalties would be, but Mr. Trump later that details would be released within 48 hours.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran responded to the announcement on Twitter, writing that Mr. Trump was “escalating U.S. economic war on Iranians.”

Iran and the Houthis have described the airstrike on Saudi Arabia as retaliation for the extensive bombing by the Saudis that has killed thousands of people in Yemen.

American and Saudi officials have said that the weekend attack clearly used Iranian weapons. The Americans have also said that evidence that has not been made public points to a strike launched from Iran, to the north, not from Yemen, to the south.

“This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran’s best effort to make it appear so,” said Colonel al-Maliki, the Saudi spokesman.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160995843_c15a4b03-847e-4855-a7ba-ca76214b84c6-articleLarge Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ as Trump Tightens Iran Sanctions United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, center, in Tehran on Wednesday. Mr. Rouhani has said he would meet President Trump only if sanctions were lifted first.CreditIranian Presidency

He also said that 18 drones hit one site and four cruise missiles hit another, and that three missiles fell short.

It was not clear how the evidence shown by the Saudis indicated that the attack came from the north, or did not come from Yemen. Nor did the Saudis make it clear whether they were saying that Iran had the kind of indirect involvement, through supplying munitions and training, that it has had in previous Houthi strikes on Saudi Arabia, or something more direct, like Iranian personnel taking part or the attack’s having been launched from Iran.

The Houthis have launched missiles at Saudi targets before, but none of the attacks had the scale, sophistication or practical impact of the one on Saturday.

Mr. Trump and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, have been expected to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York next week, and there was even speculation this summer about a possible face-to-face encounter between them.

But on Wednesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that an Iranian advance team had been unable to go to New York to prepare for the meeting because the United States had not granted visas. As a result, it said, Mr. Rouhani and his delegation might not attend the gathering, which runs from Tuesday through the following Monday.

Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he is open to a meeting with Mr. Rouhani, which would be the first between leaders of the two countries after four decades of antagonism, but Mr. Rouhani has said that Iran would not agree until the United States lifted economic sanctions.

Mr. Rouhani sent a formal note on Monday to the United States denying an Iranian role in the drone attack and warning that any American action against Iran would bring retaliation, Iranian state news media reported on Wednesday. The note went through Swiss envoys who act as go-betweens because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

Last year, Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 accord limiting the scope of Iran’s nuclear program, and reimposed sanctions that had been lifted as part of the deal. This year, Mr. Trump has hit Iran and Iranian officials with new rounds of sanctions.

The main penalties seek to choke off Iran’s international oil sales, the heart of its economy. They bar any company doing business with Iran from using the American banking system, whose reach is so vast that Mr. Trump’s actions apply to many overseas businesses.

After Mr. Trump began imposing more sanctions this year, several tankers were damaged near the Persian Gulf, and Western governments said they had been sabotaged by Iran, which Tehran denied. Iran has also seized several foreign vessels in or near the Strait of Hormuz, including a British-flagged tanker it has held for two months.

Analysts have described those episodes — and, possibly, the attack on Saudi Arabia — as one prong of a two-pronged strategy to pressure other nations to provide sanctions relief, by showing that Iran can interrupt world oil supplies. The other prong, analysts say, is that Iran began exceeding the limits on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal.

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Saudi Arabia Says Iran ‘Sponsored’ Attack as Trump Vows New Sanctions

President Trump on Wednesday promised new sanctions against Iran, and Saudi Arabia presented what it called evidence of Iran’s responsibility for aerial strikes on Saudi oil processing facilities.

At a news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Wednesday, the Saudi Defense Ministry presented debris from the site and videos that appeared to be from surveillance cameras on the ground.

“This attack was launched from the north, and was unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” said Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for ministry.

He said Saudi officials were still trying to determine exactly where the strikes originated.

In Iran, which has vehemently denied any involvement, state media reported Wednesday that American obstruction might force President Hassan Rouhani to miss a major United Nations gathering next week in New York.

The attack on Saturday, which Saudi officials said involved some two dozen drones and cruise missiles, temporarily cut Saudi oil processing in half, shaking global markets and escalating the already high level of tension between the United States and Iran, raising fears of military clashes and even outright war.

Mr. Trump has already imposed punishing economic sanctions on Iran and some of its top officials, in what the administration has described as a “maximum pressure” campaign to force Iran to negotiate new limitations on its nuclear program and stop its sponsorship of militant groups across the Middle East.

On Wednesday morning, he wrote on Twitter that he had told the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran.” It was not immediately clear how extensive the latest round of penalties would be, or whether they would be aimed at Iran generally, specific elements of the regime or individuals.

Iran and its ally, the Houthi rebel faction in Yemen, insist that the Houthis — who are fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war — carried out the strikes in retaliation for the extensive bombing by Saudi Arabia that has killed thousands of people in Yemen. The Houthis are known to use weapons supplied by Iran, but the attack showed a level of technological sophistication far beyond what the Houthis had demonstrated before.

American and Saudi officials have said that the weekend attack clearly used Iranian weapons. The Americans have also said that evidence that has not been made public points to a strike launched from Iran, to the north, not from Yemen, to the south.

“This attack did not originate from Yemen, despite Iran’s best effort to make it appear so,” said Colonel al-Maliki, the Saudi spokesman.

He also said that 18 drones hit one site and four cruise missiles hit another, and that three missiles fell short.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160995843_c15a4b03-847e-4855-a7ba-ca76214b84c6-articleLarge Saudi Arabia Says Iran ‘Sponsored’ Attack as Trump Vows New Sanctions United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Iran Houthis

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, center, in Tehran on Wednesday. Mr. Rouhani has said he would meet President Trump only if sanctions were lifted first.CreditIranian Presidency

It was not clear how the evidence shown by the Saudis indicated that the attack came from the north, or did not come from Yemen. Nor did the Saudis make it clear whether they were saying that Iran had the kind of indirect involvement, through supplying munitions and training, that it has had in previous Houthi strikes on Saudi Arabia, or something more direct, like Iranian personnel taking part or the attack’s having been launched from Iran.

The Houthis have launched missiles at Saudi targets before, but none of the attacks had the scale, sophistication or practical impact of the one on Saturday.

Mr. Trump and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, have been expected to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York next week, and there was even speculation this summer about a possible face-to-face encounter between them.

But on Wednesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that an Iranian advance team had been unable to go to New York to prepare for the meeting because the United States had not granted visas. As a result, it said, Mr. Rouhani and his delegation might not attend the gathering, which runs from Tuesday through the following Monday.

Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he is open to a meeting with Mr. Rouhani, which would be the first between leaders of the two countries after four decades of antagonism, but Mr. Rouhani has said that Iran would not agree until the United States lifted economic sanctions.

Mr. Rouhani sent a formal note on Monday to the United States denying an Iranian role and warning that any American action against Iran would bring retaliation, Iranian state news media reported on Wednesday. The note went through Swiss envoys who act as go-betweens because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to meet on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the throne and the country’s day-to-day ruler, but it was not clear whether there would be any public announcement about the talks. In a statement, the State Department said the two would “discuss the recent attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities and coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region.”

Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States was “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

Last year, the president withdrew the United States from the 2015 accord limiting the scope of Iran’s nuclear program, and reimposed sanctions that had been lifted as part of the deal. This year, Mr. Trump has hit Iran and Iranian officials with new rounds of sanctions.

The main penalties seek to choke off Iran’s international oil sales, the heart of its economy. They bar any company doing business with Iran from using the American banking system, whose reach is so vast that Mr. Trump’s actions apply to many overseas businesses.

After Mr. Trump began imposing more sanctions this year, several tankers were damaged near the Persian Gulf, and Western governments said they had been sabotaged by Iran, which Tehran denied. Iran has also seized several foreign vessels in or near the Strait of Hormuz, including a British-flagged tanker it has held for two months.

Analysts have described those incidents — and, possibly, the attack on Saudi Arabia — as one prong of a two-pronged strategy to pressure other nations to provide sanctions relief, by showing that Iran can interrupt world oil supplies. The other prong, analysts say, is that Iran began exceeding the limits on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal.

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How a Trump Ally Tested the Boundaries of Washington’s Influence Game

WASHINGTON — Elliott Broidy had the kind of past that might have given a more traditional White House reason to keep him at a distance: A wealthy businessman, he had pleaded guilty in 2009 to giving nearly $1 million in illegal gifts to New York State officials to help land a $250 million investment from the state’s pension fund.

But on a fall day in 2017, Mr. Broidy was ushered into the West Wing. For about two hours, he met with a handful of the most powerful people on earth, including President Trump, his chief of staff, his national security adviser and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, discussing everything from personnel recommendations to the Republican Party’s finances.

Mostly, though, according to a detailed account he later sent to an associate, Mr. Broidy talked about the Middle East, a subject that had long been important to him personally and was becoming increasingly important to him financially.

As he sat with Mr. Trump, Mr. Broidy promoted a plan for a counterterrorism force backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which he said would be supported by his private security and intelligence company, Circinus, under the leadership of Stanley A. McChrystal, the retired Army general and former commander in Afghanistan.

And at a time when Mr. Broidy was running a multimillion-dollar advocacy campaign to turn Washington against Qatar, a regional rival of the Saudis and the Emiratis, he took the opportunity to tell Mr. Trump that Qatar was part of an “axis of evil,” according to his account of the meeting.

That meeting was one of the high points of a comeback by Mr. Broidy, who after having been shunned by some Republicans in the wake of his 2009 guilty plea had worked himself into Mr. Trump’s inner circle as a top fund-raiser for his 2016 campaign and inauguration.

The stature he suddenly assumed when Mr. Trump won the election allowed him to position himself as a premier broker of influence and access to the new administration. In the process, his international business came to overlap with his efforts to influence government policy in ways that have now made him the subject of an intensifying federal investigation.

But Mr. Broidy’s tour through the White House that day was also further evidence of how Mr. Trump — who initially lacked an established network of high-dollar fund-raisers, held unformed positions on many issues and had difficulty attracting top-tier talent — came to rely on people whose backgrounds and activities would have raised red flags in other campaigns and administrations.

Among them were Paul Manafort, who was the chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign and was later indicted for lobbying and financial crimes, and Mr. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, who also helped run Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Prosecutors are still investigating whether the chairman of the inaugural committee and a close friend of the president, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., violated lobbying laws.

Few figures exploited the moment more ambitiously than Mr. Broidy, whose Oval Office meeting was just one element of a sophisticated effort to amass and exert influence in Mr. Trump’s Washington.

Bolstering his own access to the administration, Mr. Broidy enlisted a host of prominent figures to advance the interests of his companies, his clients or his causes. In addition to General McChrystal, there was the former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon; former defense secretaries including Robert M. Gates and Leon E. Panetta; David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director; and the longtime diplomat Dennis B. Ross. They gave paid speeches to groups he was funding, wrote op-eds or advised Mr. Broidy, wittingly or unwittingly becoming public faces of his efforts.

While Mr. Broidy seemed to find a sympathetic audience for his positions in the upper reaches of the administration, including his campaign against Qatar, other efforts appeared to yield little action, like an arrangement to help a Malaysian financier with legal problems in the United States. And some of Mr. Broidy’s proposals, like his plan to help set up the counterterrorism force in the Persian Gulf, went nowhere.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158902074_de96803f-23f3-4fff-bfb3-4b00c21652ca-articleLarge How a Trump Ally Tested the Boundaries of Washington’s Influence Game United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ross, Dennis B Presidential Election of 2016 Nader, George A (1959- ) Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) McChrystal, Stanley A Low Jho (1981- ) Lobbying and Lobbyists Inaugurations Government Contracts and Procurement Gates, Robert M foreign agents registration act Circinus LLC Broidy, Elliott Barrack, Thomas J Jr Bannon, Stephen K

Stanley A. McChrystal, the retired Army general, accompanied Mr. Broidy and his team on a trip to the Middle East.CreditSteven Senne/Associated Press

The Justice Department has been investigating, among other issues, whether Mr. Broidy violated the law by not registering as an agent of foreign interests at a time when he was promoting their causes and being paid by them, and whether, in one case, he was paid with laundered money to lobby. The Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, requires Americans to disclose efforts to shape government policy or public opinion on behalf of foreign governments and political interests. Enforcing FARA has become an increasing priority for the Justice Department.

While Mr. Broidy’s advocacy efforts could have benefited his paying clients, his representatives say the efforts were not directed or funded by those clients in a way that would require FARA registration.

“Elliott Broidy has never agreed to work for, been retained or compensated by, nor taken direction from any foreign government directly or indirectly for any interaction with the United States government, ever,” said his lawyer, Chris Clark. “Any implication to the contrary is a lie.”

But the full scope and intensity of Mr. Broidy’s activities, and the investigations into them, are only now coming into focus. Interviews and records show that:

• Federal investigators are homing in on the question of whether his involvement with the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Malaysian financier may have run afoul of FARA.

• Investigators are exploring the financial links between Mr. Broidy, the government of the United Arab Emirates and one of that government’s advisers, George Nader. According to previously unreported banking records, Mr. Nader was paid millions of dollars by the United Arab Emirates as he was working closely with Mr. Broidy on two fronts: to win security and intelligence contracts from the Emirate and Saudi governments, and to direct and fund the campaign in Washington against Qatar.

• Other banking records show that government of the United Arab Emirates continued to pay Mr. Broidy’s company tens of millions of dollars, including a payment of $24 million in late March, even as it became public that prosecutors were looking into his activities.

• Officials from one country with which Mr. Broidy has worked, Angola, say they believed his company was being paid to lobby on their behalf, rather than to provide private intelligence services, as Mr. Broidy’s representatives say.

• His efforts to help his clients in Washington were more extensive than previously known. They involved not just prominent political figures but also payments to influential think tanks, lobbyists and a nonprofit conservative media outlet that produced articles promoting his clients’ agendas and criticizing their rivals.

Four people Mr. Broidy worked with on business or advocacy efforts have been indicted. He resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee last year after it was revealed he had agreed to pay $1.6 million in hush money to a former Playboy model he impregnated, in a deal arranged by Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer.

Mr. Broidy’s current situation is a sharp turnabout from two and a half years ago, when he helped raise a record $107 million for Mr. Trump’s inauguration. He offered to arrange inaugural tickets for politicians from Angola, the Republic of Congo and Romania — countries from which he sought intelligence contracts worth as much as $266 million, documents and interviews show.

He greatly increased his giving to Republicans. He socialized with Mr. Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he was a member.

Business was good. Mr. Broidy’s company won deals worth more than $200 million from the United Arab Emirates alone. The company established an office there that employs 60 people who compile intelligence reports for the U.A.E. government.

After The New York Times, The Associated Press and other news media outlets revealed last year that he had marketed his access to the Trump team to prospective foreign clients, his company lost lucrative United States government subcontracts. Members of Congress returned donations, as did the Hudson Institute, a think tank, which returned funding for a research project on Qatari influence. Mr. Ross returned $20,000 in consulting fees he had accepted in early 2018, when he was advising Mr. Broidy on how to pursue contracts with foreign governments and how to shape American foreign policy toward those governments.

Mr. Broidy offered inaugural tickets to politicians from Angola, the Republic of Congo and Romania — countries from which he was seeking defense intelligence contracts worth as much as $266 million.CreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times

“There was a cloud that was created, and it made sense just to dissociate,” said Mr. Ross, who worked on Middle Eastern policy for administrations of both parties.

Some of the activities of Mr. Broidy and his associates are detailed in hundreds of documents and emails from the private accounts of Mr. Broidy and his wife, which were distributed to reporters anonymously starting in early 2018. Mr. Broidy sued Qatar and some of its lobbyists, accusing them of orchestrating the theft and dissemination of those documents, which Qatar denies.

Mr. Broidy’s spokesman, Nathan Miller, said those documents “have been altered and cherry-picked out of context to present a false narrative about his business activities and public educational efforts that were entirely legitimate and legal.”

But this account also relies on dozens of interviews, banking records provided by people familiar with Mr. Broidy’s work and other documents submitted in court cases or obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

“He was certainly trying to influence the administration to adopt a policy that served his political preference,” Mr. Ross said in a July interview with The Times about his work with Mr. Broidy, some of which was subsequently reported by The Daily Beast. “Was he doing it because it would serve his business interests as well? Presumably yes.”

Mr. Broidy, 62, made his own fortune. He grew up middle class in Los Angeles, and paid his way through the University of Southern California by operating a laundromat. After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, he went to work for an accounting firm, before he was hired to handle the personal investments of one of the firm’s clients, Taco Bell’s founder, Glen Bell Jr., in the early 1980s.

After about a decade, Mr. Broidy started his own investment firm, Broidy Capital Management. He built a mansion in the hills of Bel Air and established a reputation as a generous philanthropist and pillar of Los Angeles’s Jewish community.

He assembled a large wine collection and indulged a fondness for expensive wristwatches, according to people who know him. They said he boasted that he was among the biggest private buyers of a type of 25-year-old whisky that retails for $1,800 a bottle.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mr. Broidy’s political and business focus turned toward national security in the United States and Israel.

In 2006, he was appointed by President George W. Bush, for whom Mr. Broidy had become a top fund-raiser, to a homeland security advisory panel and the Kennedy Center board of trustees. In October 2006, Mr. Bush attended a dinner at the Bel Air mansion that raised $1 million for the Republican Party.

Some of the activities of Mr. Broidy and his associates have come to light through the circulation of documents and emails from the private accounts of Mr. Broidy and his wife, Robin Rosenzweig.CreditAlex Berliner/BEI, via Shutterstock

As the 2016 presidential campaign got underway, Mr. Broidy edged back into high-profile electoral politics, supporting a succession of senators seeking the Republican nomination, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

When Mr. Cruz dropped out, Mr. Broidy enthusiastically began raising money for the Trump campaign.

In the weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Mr. Broidy was in the center of the action.

He helped organize and fund a private breakfast at the Trump International Hotel two days before the inauguration that was attended by 50 to 60 people, according to people familiar with the event.

The guest list featured officials from Africa, Eastern Europe and Arab nations, as well as Republicans with ties to the incoming administration, including Mr. Trump’s choice for national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Mr. Broidy teamed with a Nigerian-American entrepreneur to pursue an intelligence contract with the Angolan government. An early draft of the deal called for payments of as much as $64 million over five years, but someone familiar with it said the final contract was for a smaller amount.

He offered to arrange access in Washington for a pair of powerful Angolan officials who had a hand in the contract.

Days before the inauguration, the Angolans paid $6 million to Circinus. And Mr. Broidy escorted an Angolan official, André de Oliveira João Sango, then the director of external intelligence, to introductory meetings with Republican lawmakers.

A couple of days later, Mr. Sango sat at a table adjacent to Mr. Broidy’s at an exclusive “candlelight” donor dinner sponsored by Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee and attended by the president-elect, according to another Angolan official.

While Mr. Broidy’s representatives say he was not required to register as a lobbyist because he did not accept funds for lobbying, Angolan diplomats in Washington saw things differently.

“It was basically to help assist in approaching the Trump administration,” Lucombo Joaquim Luveia, a counselor at the embassy, said of the payment to Circinus.

The Angolan ambassador at the time, Agostinho Tavares, said his impression was that Mr. Broidy “sold the invitation” to the inaugural to Mr. Sango.

Mr. Luveia said that “all those arrangements were back-channeled between the lobbyist Broidy and the central government, at the presidential level., The Angolan president at the time, José Eduardo dos Santos, was replaced last year.

Mr. Broidy also provided access during inauguration week to a pair of Romanian politicians seen as critical to Circinus’s chances for doing business in the country. Mr. Broidy arranged an impromptu introduction to Mr. Trump during an informal dinner at the Trump hotel for Liviu Dragnea, then a powerful Romanian parliamentary leader.

George Nader presented himself as a liaison to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, center, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, right.Creditvia Shutterstock

Circinus subsequently competed for Romanian government contracts valued at more than $200 million, according to the Romanian news media and people familiar with the contracting process. But the contracts did not materialize. Mr. Dragnea, who was facing unrelated corruption charges in Romania at the time of the inauguration, has since been convicted. And Romanian and American officials have questioned a former Circinus executive in Romania.

Hours after Mr. Trump’s swearing-in, Mr. Broidy was abuzz as he and his wife, holding hands, walked into a late-night party in a private room at the Trump hotel.

He approached a fellow Republican donor and, in a move the donor interpreted as an early flexing of new status, Mr. Broidy suggested it was time to settle a lingering business dispute between them.

“He was exuding hubris,” said the donor, Yuri Vanetik, a characterization disputed by Mr. Broidy’s representatives. “He wanted to show that it was his world now.”

Through the transition and the early days of the administration, Mr. Broidy entertained discussions about using his newfound connections in Washington to help an array of foreign clients.

After being approached by a lawyer working with Russian executives who were under sanctions, Mr. Broidy devised a plan to try to lift the sanctions in exchange for $11 million — a deal that ultimately was not pursued.

Separately, Mr. Broidy discussed helping to end a Justice Department investigation into a flamboyant Malaysian financier who was suspected of embezzling billions of dollars from a Malaysian investment fund.

The financier, Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, transferred $6 million to the law firm of Mr. Broidy’s wife, Ms. Rosenzweig, to finance the effort, according to a guilty plea for bank fraud by a former Justice Department employee in a related case.

Allies of Mr. Low also talked with Mr. Broidy about using his connections to force the extradition of a Chinese dissident living in the United States, according to the court filings.

Mr. Broidy’s lawyers said their client never discussed assisting Mr. Low in any criminal matters and never lobbied to resolve the civil issues facing the financier.

Mr. Trump took office signaling a new approach to the Middle East, setting off a scramble by governments in the region to assure that their voices would be heard by the new administration. A key figure in Mr. Broidy’s activities was Mr. Nader.

An American citizen born in Lebanon, Mr. Nader, 60, entered Mr. Broidy’s life at a fortuitous moment for both men and for Mr. Nader’s patrons — primarily Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, though Mr. Nader also presented himself as a liaison to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

To the princes, whose countries are closely allied, Mr. Broidy was a perfect messenger to try to turn the new American administration against Qatar.

Rick Gates, the former deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, is one of a number of Trump aides to have run into legal problems.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

And to Mr. Broidy, Mr. Nader was a perfect messenger to pitch Circinus’s services to the wealthy governments of the Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Not long after meeting at the Trump hotel during inauguration week, Mr. Broidy and Mr. Nader were exchanging messages about Circinus’s efforts to win hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of defense contracts with the Persian Gulf nations, and discussing the anti-Qatar campaign, according to documents and interviews.

Mr. Nader wired Mr. Broidy $2.4 million in three installments, starting less than three months after the inauguration, for the anti-Qatar public policy effort. Mr. Broidy contributed his own money, according to people familiar with the campaign. They said other donors contributed as well.

Mr. Broidy donated to two Washington think tanks — the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute — to fund conferences he intended to be critical of Qatar. Featured speakers included the former defense secretaries Mr. Panetta and Mr. Gates, as well as Mr. Bannon and Mr. Petraeus.

Mr. Gates and Mr. Bannon were paid about $100,000 each, while Mr. Petraeus was paid $50,000, according to interviews and contracts, which stipulated that Mr. Gates and Mr. Petraeus would meet privately with Mr. Broidy on the sidelines of the conference. The think tanks paid the speakers and were reimbursed by Mr. Broidy. Mr. Nader helped arrange Mr. Bannon’s appearance, The Daily Beast reported.

Mr. Broidy assured the think tanks that he was using only his own money and that it was not from foreign sources, according to people familiar with the conferences, who said he did not disclose that he was simultaneously pursuing business in the region.

But updates sent by Mr. Broidy to Mr. Nader list Circinus as the entity overseeing the advocacy campaign, which included plans for the conferences, op-eds, articles and congressional and media outreach, including to the Fox News host Sean Hannity, a favorite of Mr. Trump.

One update lists the Emirati and Saudi governments as the “clients” of the campaign, and a senior Saudi general, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, who would later be blamed by his country’s leadership for the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as a consultant. Mr. Broidy’s lawyers say that the updates were early drafts and that references to the involvement of Circinus and the Saudi and Emirati governments were errors that were corrected in subsequent drafts.

Banking records obtained by The Times show that, months after the first think-tank conference, and days before the second, Mr. Nader received the first of two payments of about $5 million worth of Emirati currency from an entity controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

“Any payments by the U.A.E. to Mr. Nader had absolutely nothing to do with the conferences or the broader educational initiative,” said Tim McCarten, a lawyer with the firm Latham & Watkins, who represents both Mr. Nader and Mr. Broidy. Mr. McCarten declined to specify the purpose of the payments.

The second $5 million payment came months after Mr. Nader began cooperating with prosecutors looking into whether Emirati money was funneled into Mr. Trump’s political operation.

The Justice Department has asked witnesses about the funding of the anti-Qatar campaign, as well as whether foreign money flowed into Mr. Trump’s inaugural.

In April, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn issued a subpoena for documents from the inaugural committee naming Mr. Broidy and companies with which he is associated, as well as Mr. Nader. Among others named were Mr. Dragnea, the Angolan politician Mr. Sango and Angola’s current president, João Lourenço. Mr. Lourenço previously served as the head of the Angolan Defense Ministry, and was also invited by Mr. Broidy to attend the inauguration, but did not go, according to the Angolan diplomats.

Leon E. Panetta, a former defense secretary, is among the prominent figures Mr. Broidy enlisted to advance the interests of his companies, his clients or his causes.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Mr. Nader was charged in June with possession of child pornography, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

The direct impact of the anti-Qatar advocacy campaign is not clear. It coincided with Mr. Trump’s public criticism of Qatar, and his expression of support for Qatar’s rivals, the Emiratis and the Saudis, though his administration attempted to walk back some of the criticism.

Mr. Broidy paid $10,000 a month to a Democratic firm, Bluelight Strategies, which worked to harness the center-left to press the administration to be tough on Qatar, according to emails and interviews.

Mr. Broidy gave $25,000 to a nonprofit group called the Jewish Institute for National Security of America to write op-eds and host news conferences criticizing Qatar, including with a retired Air Force general, Charles F. Wald.

Another nonprofit listed by Mr. Broidy as part of the advocacy campaign, the American Media Institute, received $240,000 from Mr. Broidy in 2017, according to its tax returns. Mr. Broidy and his allies were in close contact with the group’s staff as it produced articles and op-eds that advanced the interests of his clients and prospective clients, including the government of Malaysia, while criticizing their rivals, including Qatar and the Chinese dissident.

Richard Miniter, the institute’s chief executive, said its decisions were based on news judgment, rather than Mr. Broidy’s wishes. “We get tons of ideas from both donors and nondonors, but there were no conditions on the grant to do those stories,” he said.

Mr. Miniter said he was unaware before being alerted by The Times of overlap between Mr. Broidy’s business and the subjects he wanted covered.

In correspondence around the time of the Hudson Institute conference, Mr. Broidy cited Mr. Panetta and General Wald — as well as General McChrystal — as members of Circinus’s team.

The men or their representatives say those claims were exaggerated or false.

General McChrystal acknowledged that he accompanied Mr. Broidy and his team on a trip to the Middle East, where they met with Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the summer of 2017.

The trip came after Mr. McChrystal was offered $100,000 by Mr. Broidy, according to documents and interviews.

When Mr. Broidy later dropped the general’s name in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump interjected to say that “he thinks highly of General McChrystal,” according to Mr. Broidy’s readout.

Mr. McChrystal said he accompanied Mr. Broidy to the United Arab Emirates because it seemed as if his company was pursuing worthwhile work. But he said he declined a subsequent offer for a leadership role in the company because “it didn’t fit into my time or my interests to do any more.”

Mr. Panetta’s office said he “is not and has never been involved in” Mr. Broidy’s business.

General Wald said he turned down Mr. Broidy’s invitation to join Circinus because he felt the company’s work was “mercenary,” and because of concerns about Mr. Broidy.

“Broidy is playing for both political and financial reasons,” he said, “and it’s hard to figure out which one he is interested in mostly.”

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With Saudi Aramco Set to Disclose Earnings, Could an I.P.O. Be Next?

LONDON — Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, is set to shed new light on its financial health on Monday, a revelatory moment for the highly secretive, state-controlled company.

The most intriguing thing the oil giant may disclose in the process involves its future plans, including whether it will finally try to become the world’s biggest publicly traded company.

Until April, Saudi Aramco had never shared how much crude it pumped and how much money it made. When it did — reporting earnings of $111 billion for 2018 in the run-up to its first-ever bond sale — investors snapped to attention: The company’s results made it more profitable than Exxon Mobil and Apple.

When Aramco executives present a half-year earnings report for bond investors on Monday, they will have another opportunity to impress the global market with the company’s vitality and its potential for raising money that can help Saudi Arabia diversify its economy.

The report could also help Aramco test the waters for its much-discussed but long-delayed public offering.

Teams of bankers, including senior executives from advisory firms like Moelis & Company, have recently been meeting with company and kingdom officials in discussions that could revive the listing, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. The Aramco board also held a meeting in Boston this week.

For Aramco, the efforts at financial transparency are a significant change. Releasing detailed figures on topics like earnings, reserves and payments to the government is “a huge difference from where things stood even a couple of years ago,” said Sadad al-Husseini, a former executive vice president at the company.

The new approach has been prompted partly by worries over the long-term prospects for Saudi oil. The value of the kingdom’s vast reserves is threatened by various factors, including a shale-oil boom in the United States that has depressed prices, and broader concerns about fossil fuels’ role in climate change.

Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince and the country’s main policymaker, has ambitious plans to reduce the economy’s overwhelming dependence on oil, but achieving his vision of new cities and industries will require immense sums of money.

That is where Aramco fits in. The crown prince wants the company, Saudi Arabia’s main economic asset, to be a magnet for attracting international investors, including through a public sale of shares. He may also be counting on a public offering to provide some distraction from the fallout caused by his ties to the killing last year of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A formal process for picking banks to advise an offering is expected to begin in earnest next month, according to a person briefed on the matter. Banks that worked on the last set of preparations and are expected to make a pitch for roles on the revived listing include Moelis, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and HSBC.

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The Ras Tanura refinery. Until April, Saudi Aramco had never disclosed how much crude it produced or how much money it made.CreditAhmed Jadallah/Reuters

Representatives for the banks declined to comment.

Last year, Aramco abruptly suspended a plan to go public in an offering that the crown prince hoped would value the company at $2 trillion. It chose instead to acquire a majority stake in a petrochemical company, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, or Sabic. In April, Aramco held the bond sale to help finance that acquisition. Saudi officials have said since then that there was a chance the stock offering could be revived.

Many of the questions about a public offering that confronted Aramco in the past have not been resolved, including which global stock market its shares would be listed on and how they should be valued.

Aramco’s new openness has attracted the attention of Wall Street analysts who had largely ignored the company in the past because of its secrecy. Oswald Clint, an oil analyst at the research firm Bernstein, said he expected to listen to an analysts’ call that Aramco has scheduled for Monday and to write a brief report.

Still, Mr. Clint said, Aramco, despite its enormous profits, would be “a tough sell to investors” in what is a skeptical climate for oil companies.

Among the biggest questions an Aramco listing would raise is the outsize role played by the Saudi government, currently the sole shareholder. Officials have discussed plans to sell only 5 percent of Aramco in a public offering, meaning that whatever returns investors got would be completely dependent on the government. The company’s eleven person board includes five senior government officials.

At the moment, Aramco has substantially curtailed production, on government orders, to prop up weak oil prices. If the government needed more money, the company could also increase its dividend. Aramco paid the Saudi government $58 billion in dividends last year.

“Potential investors realize that they would have no control over Saudi Aramco strategy,” said Ben Cahill, research director at Energy Intelligence, a market research firm.

The stigma of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing could also scare off some potential investors.

The souring global economic environment may also work against a possible offering. Oil prices — about $59 a barrel for the Brent benchmark — have edged down in recent weeks despite the big production cuts by Saudi Arabia and other producers.

The cuts were mostly driven by increasing supplies of crude from American shale-oil producers and fears that President Trump’s trade war would hurt economic growth and reduce demand for oil.

As the company made clear in its April report, its financial results are highly sensitive to movement in oil prices. In the low-price environment of 2016, it earned only about $13 billion, much less than in 2018.

The geopolitical environment also appears less welcoming these days. In recent months, tankers traversing the Persian Gulf, where Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter, have been attacked and seized. The growing tensions between the United States and Iran expose the Saudis, who have sided with Washington, to added risks.

“The gulf has taken a nose-dive,” in terms of its reputation as a place to do business, said Bill Farren-Price, a director of the research firm RS Energy Group.

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