MbS: War With Iran Would Send Oil To Highs "That We Haven't Seen In Our Lifetimes"

In an interview that aired just days before the one-year anniversary of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and presumed murder, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman sat for an interview with 60 Minutes - reportedly the most extensive interview he has ever given to a Western media outlet.

During the nearly 15-minute discussion with '60 Minutes' correspondent Norah O'Donnell (in an interview that, fittingly, was aired during '60 Minutes' 52nd season premier), MbS addressed every controversy afflicting his regime: tensions with Iran and the recent attacks on Abqaiq, the murder of Khashoggi, MbS's hopes for peace in Yemen and the arrest of female activists despite MbS's landmark gender reforms like granting women the right to drive.

The two issues from the interview that garnered the most attention were MbS's insistence that he wasn't aware of the plot to kill Khashoggi (but that he 'accepts responsibility', as a leader should), and the disruption in global oil supplies - triggering a spike in global prices - that could result from a war with Iran (just look at how global benchmarks responded to the attack on Abqaiq, with the largest one-day spike since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait).

Asked point-blank whether he ordered Khashoggi's murder, MbS replied "absolutely not" and described the attack as a "heinous crime" (all via a translator).

"Absolutely not. This was a heinous crime. But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government."

When pressed about how he could've been unaware of a mission in which some of his closest associates participated, MbS insisted that it would be 'impossible' for him to monitor what KSA's 3 million government employees do on a daily basis.

"Some think that I should know what three million people working for the Saudi government do daily? It's impossible that the three million would send their daily reports to the leader or the second highest person in the Saudi government."

Moving on, O'Donnell had a few questions about the attack on Abqaiq, which briefly took 5.5% of global oil production offline. She asked MbS about Iran's motives, as well as what a conflict would be like.

Asked what 'strategic' reason Iran would have for orchestrating the attack on Abqaiq (a question that many skeptical analysts have also raised), MbS responded that the only sensible motive was "stupidity."

"I believe it's stupidity. There is no strategic goal. Only a fool would attack 5% of global supplies. The only strategic goal is to prove that they are stupid and that is what they did."

'60 Minutes' also aired what it described as the first footage of the attack on Abqaiq, which showed the barrage of cruise missiles slamming into various infrastructure inside the plant:

Echoing comments from Mike Pompeo, MbS said he would describe the attack on Abqaiq as an 'act of war', before the discussion turned to the global oil market.

Given Saudi Arabia's importance to global energy supplies, a war with Iran could bring about the "total collapse" of the global economy, not just the Middle East region.

"The region represents about 30% of the world's energy supplies, about 20% of global trade passages, about 4% of the world GDP. Imagine all of these three things stop. This means a total collapse of the global economy, and not just Saudi Arabia or the Middle East countries. Iran appears willing to risk war to improve its position."

Oil prices would likely soar to "unimaginable" highs that we "haven't seen in our lifetimes" as global supplies are disrupted.

"If the world does not take a strong and firm action to deter Iran, we will see further escalations that will threaten world interests. Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven't seen in our lifetimes."

Finally, touching on the issue of a ceasefire in Yemen, MbS said Saudi Arabia is working diligently toward peace. He added that he considers the Houthi-backed ceasefire a "positive step."

Not long after, O'Donnell wrapped up the interview with a final question: "What lessons have you learned? And have you made mistakes?

"Of course I've made mistakes," MbS insisted. "Even prophets make mistakes, so how come we, as humans, expect not to make mistakes?"

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