U.S. President Donald Trump says American forces are 'locked and loaded' to respond to the fiery attacks on one of Saudi Arabia's largest oil fields and the world’s biggest crude oil stabilization facility.
"There is reason to believe we know the culprit," Trump tweeted late Sunday. He added he is waiting to hear from the Saudis as to who they believe is behind the attack and “under what terms we would proceed.”
Earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had tweeted that “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," discounting the claim of responsibility by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen who said they carried out the attack by drones.
Iran calls the charges it is behind the attack, “maximum lies.”
Likely targets in Iran for the United States or Saudi Arabia “would be refineries and critical oil facilities,” Ali Shihabi, the founder of the Arabia Foundation, tells VOA.
Shihabi says, despite Trump’s tweet, it is not about Riyadh “deciding,” that any action the Saudis take “in retaliation across the Gulf will expose U.S. troops and facilities to Iranian attack, so it has to coordinate with the U.S.”
Middlebury Institute of International Studies scholar Jeffrey Lewis says Trump leaving the decision to the Saudis “is pathetic.”
Lewis, the founding publisher of the Arms Control Wonk blog, tells VOA the U.S. president is “clearly leaving himself an out” – so he can declare that he “wanted to retaliate, but it was the Saudis who said no.”Lewis adds that Trump “likes to talk tough and I can’t rule out something symbolic, but I don’t think he has the stomach to start a war.”
Source : VOA