Buttigieg: Not too late for US to be 'constructive force' in Middle East

Buttigieg: Not too late for US to be 'constructive force' in Middle East
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Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision Buttigieg says he wasn't comfortable with Clinton attack on Gabbard Buttigieg: Trump undermining US credibility 'is going to cost us for years and years' MORE said Sunday that the United States needs to focus on deescalating conflicts in the Middle East, after two Saudi oil refineries were struck by drones this weekend. 

The South Bend, Ind. mayor told George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosWhite House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week Democratic senator: Pompeo 'lives in a parallel alternate universe' on Syria Pompeo on Mulvaney admission of quid pro quo: 'I never saw that in the decisionmaking process' MORE on ABC's "This Week" that Iran has acted "predictably" after President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE removed the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal. 


"We’re moving in the wrong direction, but it’s not too late for us to be a constructive force toward peace and stability in the region," Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg also said he thinks the United States is not using its "leverage" effectively in the relationships with Saudi Arabia and Iran to achieve stability. 

"We have leverage with the Saudis because of our alliance and have had leverage with Iran," he said. "The problem is we’re either taking our own options off the table or not using them well."

His comments come after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP lawmaker: Trump administration 'playing checkers' in Syria while others are 'playing chess' Trump-Graham relationship tested by week of public sparring White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week MORE late Saturday blamed Tehran for the attacks on the Saudi oil plants. Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks amid a civil war in their country. Saudi Arabia is driving the movement, supported by the United States, against the rebels, who are supported by Iran. 


Buttigieg said on Sunday that the U.S. should deescalate conflict that causes "not only danger to world oil supply but danger to peace."

"Right now, there is more than enough destabilizing the Middle East and the Persian Gulf without fears that a president could destabilize it further with the next tweet," the South Bend mayor said. "We need to make sure that we create options to prevent things from escalating further and since this appears to be spillover from the Yemen conflict."