'Start Here': Trump weighs US response to oil attack and Netanyahu fights for Israel's vote

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September 17, 2019, 5:05 AM

It's Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Let's start here.

1. Iran tensions

Tensions are escalating between the U.S. and Iran as the Trump administration accuses Tehran of crippling Saudi Arabia's key oil facilities in a weekend drone attack.

Hours after the massive attack, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the Iranian government, which denied involvement. President Donald Trump initially tweeted that the U.S. was "locked and loaded" to respond to Iran if necessary, but has stopped short of directly pointing a finger at the regime.

"That was a very large attack and it could be met with an attack, many, many times larger, very easily by our country, but we're going to find out who definitively did it first," he told reporters at the White House on Monday.

As the U.S. maintains its maximum pressure campaign against Iran, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz questions on "Start Here" whether the strategy is working.

"The U.S. really has to take a look at where this has gotten the Americans because so far oil tankers have been attacked, they've shot down a U.S. drone, and now according to the U.S., they're launching missiles and drones at oil facilities," she says, adding, "If there's no response to this, then what do the Iranians think?"

2. Israel's do-over

Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his job in Israel's do-over election today as he faces a formidable challenge from centrist and rival Benny Gantz.

Netanyahu failed to form a ruling coalition after barely winning his election back in April amid possible corruption charges. In the months since, he's made appeals to his right-wing base to try to secure another victory in today's re-do.

"Netanyahu had a decade to annex the West Bank, or the Jordan Valley, or settlements," ABC News' Jordana Miller says. "He has traditionally staved off those far-right elements, but this time around he needs them."

PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a weekly cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Sept. 15, 2019.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a weekly cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Sept. 15, 2019.
Amir Cohen/Reuters

3. Autoworkers strike

Tens of thousands of General Motors factory workers are on strike, demanding a fair return for what they say were big concessions made during the 2009 auto industry bailout.

"They forfeited pay, and they forfeited vacation, and they forfeited benefits, and they said when things get better for you, they're going to get better for us," the Detroit Free Press' Phoebe Wall Howard tells the podcast.

Contract talks between the United Auto Workers and GM resumed on Monday, but negotiations over wages, health care benefits and and more remain at a stalemate.

After the union announced the strike over the weekend, GM issued a statement including the offer rejected by the UAW-- $7 billion in investments and more than 5,400 jobs-- and said the company has "negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency."

PHOTO: General Motors employees Bobby Caughel, left, and Flint resident James Crump, shout out as they protest with other GM employees, United Auto Workers members and labor supporters outside of the Flint Assembly Plant, Sept. 16, 2019 in Flint, Mich.
General Motors employees Bobby Caughel, left, and Flint resident James Crump, shout out as they protest with other GM employees, United Auto Workers members and labor supporters outside of the Flint Assembly Plant, Sept. 16, 2019 in Flint, Mich.
Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP

"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.

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