Sanctions and Cyber-attacks Hit Iran after Saudi Strike
The US response to an Iranian attack on two Saudi oil installations included new economic measures and a round of cyber-warfare today. It began with the Treasury Department's announcement that Iran's Central Bank and state-sponsored development fund would be sanctioned, specifically for their role in funding international terrorism. The new restrictions are a significant escalation in the sanctions effort against the Iranian regime, which had previously been focused on its nuclear program. In addition to this, Internet data gathered by analytical firms only hours ago reveals massive disruption to Iranian banking and oil systems, signaling a widespread cyber-attack against Iran in retaliation for its attempts to disrupt global markets.
Meanwhile, the Russian military shot down an Israeli drone over Syria before it could conduct an airstrike in that country. This is the third recent incident involving a Russian take-down of an Israeli drone, showing the resolve of the Russian government to control the tenor of events in Syria and to prevent Israel and the US from gaining a larger foothold in Eastern Syria. Reports have circulated that the US, Israeli and Saudi governments are secretly working together in Eastern Syria to disrupt the flow of weapons, fighters and materiel from Iraq and Syria to the borders of Israel. The downing of yet another drone reveals the commitment of not only regional powers, but also of world powers, as they contend for influence in the region.