Dark clouds gather: Fighting talk has ramped up after the drone and missile attacks on the Abqaiq oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, threatening stability in the Gulf region. Picture: AFP/Ho/Planet Labs Inc
Dark clouds gather: Fighting talk has ramped up after the drone and missile attacks on the Abqaiq oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, threatening stability in the Gulf region. Picture: AFP/Ho/Planet Labs Inc

The political drama playing out in the Gulf is really just another version of Peter Gabriel’s song Games Without Frontiers.

With its childish verse "Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays with Jane/Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again ...", the song perfectly describes the outbursts of petulance and gung-ho talk emanating from the Gulf and beyond.

Following drone and missile attacks on the Abqaiq oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, the war talk has escalated with all the usual backroom bravado one expects from egocentric politicians (none of whom will do actual fighting on the ground with the grunts, of course).

"We’re locked and loaded," tweets US President Donald Trump. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif writes on Twitter that US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has turned to "max deceit" after saying that Iran was probably behind the attack. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the kingdom is "willing and able" to fight what he calls "terrorist aggression" (with Trump adding the T&Cs that whatever response the Saudis make, they will be footing the bill).

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have drones and who have been engaged in a bitter war against a Saudi-backed coalition in Yemen, claimed responsibility for the strike.

It was a big one — more than a dozen explosions in the refinery, knocking an estimated 5-million barrels a day out of production.

The scale suggests a bigger player than the Yemeni rebels. The Houthis are aligned with Iran.

Let’s all get on Twitter and join the dots.

And then what? Boom?