Saudi Arabia's Aramco, one of the biggest companies in the world, was hit by armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. A total of 18 drones and seven missiles were launched against the Saudi infrastructure. The attack was the worst on Middle Eastern oil facilities since Saddam Hussein set fire to Kuwait's oil wells in 1990. The attack knocked out 5% of the world's oil supply, and oil prices increased almost 20% as a result. Even though the attacks were claimed by Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabian officials blamed Iran, at least for providing weapons to the Houthis. Some officials even claimed that Iran was directly involved in the attacks.
There are three items on President Erdoğan's agenda: Turkey's request for support regarding the fate of Syrian refugees, Erdoğan's commitment to setting up a safe zone in northeastern Syria and his emphasis on injustices in the current world order. I believe that the Turkish president will touch upon those issues in his address to the U.N. General Assembly as well as bilateral meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. Erdoğan's recent remarks about nuclear weapons relate to the search for a new world order, as encapsulated by the maxim: "The world is bigger than five." After all, revealing one's intention to become a nuclear power makes little sense if one indeed means it.
This week's attack on the facilities of Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company, was no mere skirmish among proxies. Iran has allegedly fired missiles, loaded on drones, to strike at the heart of the Saudi oil industry. Although Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed the attack, already some fingers are pointing to Tehran. Hence a series of questions: have tensions in the Gulf, which have been escalating since May 2018, already spun out of control? Is the policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran giving way to war? Why did U.S. President Donald Trump escalate tensions right after sacking John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser? What will be the Trump administration's military response to an attack that it considers a casus belli? As world leaders pack their bags for the United Nations General Assembly's opening session, the world is still trying to answer those questions.
Çankaya Palace in Ankara was home to a historic trilateral summit on Monday. The presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran met for the fifth time in two years to discuss the situation in Idlib, refugees, the most recent developments in northeastern Syria and the proposed constitutional committee.
An important meeting was held between the leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia in Ankara on Sept. 16. The three actors' positions were close in the last trilateral meeting. The leaders of the three countries agreed on the structure of the constitutional commission and reiterated their commitment to the territorial integrity of Syria. They also supported the idea of reducing the tensions in Idlib province.