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
© Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegKlobuchar, Steyer unable to name Mexico's president in pointed interview Democrats redefine center as theirs collapses Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage 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 StephanopoulosWhile Klobuchar surges, Warren flounders The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders, Buttigieg do battle in New Hampshire Democrats ramp up attacks on opponents in final pitch before New Hampshire MORE on ABC's "This Week" that Iran has acted "predictably" after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE removed the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 PompeoDonald Trump: Unrepentant, on the attack and still playing the victim US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk Kobach says he discussed his Senate bid with Trump 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."