President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

This is one of those take-a-deep-breath-before-you-jump-into-it weeks for this newsletter. Fair warning. Let’s get started.

An oil field in Saudi Arabia was attacked and it started a huge fire. On its face, that’s a pretty straight forward sentence. But the international issues surrounding that circumstance are far from simple and certainly not straightforward. The Houthis, an Iranian-allied rebel group based in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the attacks. (Important context from our reporters: “The Saudis and the Houthis, with Iran’s backing, have waged a brutal, years-long proxy war in Yemen as they vie for influence in the region.”)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeohas unequivocally blamed Iran, and he headed to Saudi Arabia this week to discuss a response. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham posited that an earlier decision to call off a military strike on Iran in June was clearly seen by Iranian leaders as “a sign of weakness.” Which you can imagine did not sit well with President Trump, who snapped back in a tweet, “No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!”

So, are we going to war? Trump has said he doesn’t want war with Iran, but the U.S. is prepared for anything. And he’s instructed the Treasury to “substantially” increase sanctions on Iran. In an interview that aired Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister then warned they were prepared for “all out war” if Saudi Arabia or the U.S. attacked. “We don’t want war,” Javad Zarif told CNN. “But we won’t blink to defend our territory.” 

What does this mean for you? In the short term, at the very least, expect to see increasing gas prices. In the long term? Well, we’ll keep you posted.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister and Chairman of the Likud Party, attends a meeting of MKs (Members of Knesset) of the Likud party after the first official results of the general election in Jerusalem, Israel on Sept. 18, 2019. With 91 percent of votes counted, Likud gets 31 seats, while 32 seats to former Israeli Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Israeli centrist political alliance.  (Photo: Atef Safadi, EPA-EFE)

This week in Bad News for Bibi

For the second time in six months, Israeli voters failed to convincingly back a prime minister candidate. Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu, who is Israel’s longest-serving leader, has called upon his rival, Benny Gantz, to join him in a unity government after neither candidates’ party earned a majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament. What happens next? A unity government could be formed, or Israelis might have to head to the polls a third time.

This week in the White House

This week in 2020 Dems 

Thanks for reading OnPolitics. We’ll see you next week. — Annah Aschbrenner 

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