MbS-aligned Saudi newspaper urges 'surgical strikes' on Iran

MbS-aligned Saudi newspaper urges 'surgical strikes' on Iran
An editorial in a Saudi newspaper owned by the crown prince's brother calls for ‘decisive, punitive’ airstrikes against Iran, reflecting unwavering Saudi support for the Trump administration's anti-Iran, pro-Israel policies.
3 min read
16 May, 2019
Arab News, a mouthpiece of the Saudi regime, is owned by MbS' brother [AFP]
A mouthpiece for the Saudi regime published an article on Thursday making an impassioned plea for "decisive, punitive" action against Iran in the form of "calculated surgical" airstrikes by the United States.

Arab News, owned by Prince Turki bin Salman, the crown prince's brother, published the unattributed editorial following skyrocketing tensions between adversaries the US and Iran.

After US tankers were sabotaged in an alleged Iranian attack in an Emirati port on Sunday, the US military deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bomber to the Gulf, which many interpreted as a step towards full-blown confrontation.

Read more: War in the Gulf: An inconvenient truth for the Iran hawks

The article lauds Saudi Arabia's long-held anti-Iran stance, highlighting Mohammed bin Salman's comments that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is "the Hitler of the Middle East".

"Crown Prince Mohammed was therefore clearly correct when he argued that appeasement does not work with the Iranian regime, just as it did not work with Hitler," the article says.

"The next logical step - in this newspaper's view — should be surgical strikes."

Faisal J. Abbas, the newspaper's Editor-in-Chief added fuel to the controversial piece, tweeting: "In other words, @arabnews editorial says: hit them... and hit them hard!"

The piece concludes calling for "decisive, punitive reaction to what happened so that Iran knows that every single move they make will have consequences," adding: "action, in our opinion, should be a calculated surgical strike."

The editorial cites the 2018 US strikes on Syria following chemical attacks in Douma as a "precedent" for successful intervention. The author failed to mention that the Assad regime continues to use barrel bombs, napalm and depopulation tactics against its own people since the airstrikes.

The article has been called out for further hypocrisy after criticising Iran for "putting the lives of babies in incubators at risk, threatening hospitals and airports, attacking civilian ships and putting innocent lives in danger", while ignoring the soaring civilian casualties at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, including the bombing of a school bus in 2018, which killed 29 children and wounded 30 more.

Saudi Arabia defended the strike, calling it "legitimate military action" that targeted elements responsible for a rebel missile attack.

The latest editorial comes just a day after the regime mouthpiece published an op-ed on Nakba memorial day, calling on Palestinians to accept Jared Kushner's widely-panned 'Deal of the Century' peace plan.

Authored by Faisal J. Abbas, the piece called the plan "an interesting development" and "a glimmer of hope", despite most experts and observers being in agreement that the plan is one-sided and averts tackling any of the most pressing issues for Palestinians.

Follow Florence Dixon on Twitter @flo_dix