Now that Saudi Arabia has severed diplomatic ties with Iran and reportedly bombed Iran’s embassy in Yemen, the big question is whether the Saudis are desperate and unhinged enough to launch an attack across the Persian Gulf. While Saudi leaders insist they have no such intent, there are mounting pressures pushing them in that direction.
The ruling family is under unprecedented strain. Its economy is shrinking; it’s bogged down in a seemingly endless war in Yemen; and its human-rights policies are an international scandal. If countries could have nervous breakdowns, Saudi Arabia would be well on its way. And when breakdowns occur, nations do crazy things.
Of course, there is always the possibility that sanity will suddenly descend upon the Saudis. But reason seems to be in increasingly short supply. Here’s a quick rundown of the reasons why Saudi Arabia is in such dire straits that war with Iran might appear to Saudi leaders as the best remaining option.