Following Monday’s meeting with President Donald Trump on the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, the U.S. military is now on standby and preparing for a response to counter the attack.
Saudi and U.S. investigators have established “with very high probability” that the attack on the Saudi oil industry was launched from an Iranian base in Iran close to the Iraqi border, CNN reports, citing sources it claims to be familiar with the investigation.
According to the same CNN report, the attack involved cruise missiles and drones flying at low altitude, and their trajectory was from the north of the Abqaiq oil plant, which was targeted for attack by more than a dozen projectiles in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out,” the president told reporters on Tuesday. “That was an attack on Saudi Arabia, and that wasn’t an attack on us.”
“We have a lot of options, but I’m not looking at options right now,” the president said. “We want to find definitively who did this. We’re dealing with Saudi Arabia. …We’ll see what happens.”
“In the wake of this weekend’s unprovoked attack on several oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, I promise you, we’re ready. As the president said, we don’t want war with anybody, but the United States is prepared—we’re locked and loaded,” Vice President Mike Pence said, while describing the U.S. military as the “best equipped, best trained, and most technologically advanced fighting force in the world.”
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that there will be “no negotiation with the United States at any level,” ruling out all possibilities of a consultation.
President Trump has also told reporters on Tuesday that he wishes against seeing Islamic President Hassan Rouhani, stating that “I never rule anything out, but I prefer not meeting him.”
Pence is positive that president Trump has the situation is under control.
“We’re evaluating all the evidence. We’re consulting with our allies. And the president will determine the best course of action in the days ahead,” Pence said. “The United States of America will take whatever action is necessary to defend our country, our troops, and our allies in the Gulf.”
Hudson Institute senior fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs agrees with defense officials in terms of urging a restrained response. Heinrichs noted that the United States “should resist being baited into a shooting war,” and that “this is primarily a Saudi problem.”
“President Trump, the whole country really, doesn’t want to get involved in another Middle East conflict if we really don’t have to,” Heinrichs said. “This administration does not want to go to war with Iran.”
However, Rand Corp., analyst Jeffrey Martini believes that it is necessary for the United States to acknowledge that Washington will have to consider a kinetic strike should intelligence analysts be able to “credibly” show that the missile strikes come from Iran, Foreign Policy reports.
“What the U.S. has the opening to do now, once it’s gathered all the evidence, is present it to an emergency session of the UN Security Council,” retired Army general Jack Keane advised, referring to it as a means to “garner more support to counter future aggressive Iranian behavior.”
According to CNN, a source familiar with White House discussions said the administration feels time is on its side as it prepares its responses against Iran, which has denied responsibility for the attacks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be traveling to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night to consult with leaders there. The source has told CNN that nothing will be done until Pompeo has returned and Trump’s national security team has assembled.
“No knee jerk reactions to this—it’s very systematic—what happens with patience is it prevents stupid moves,” the source cited by CNN said.