Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is playing a dangerous game of chicken with President Donald Trump. Iran thinks they can intimidate Trump into lifting the crippling sanction penalties by attacking the global oil supply.
Under Barack Obama, their little game would have sent John Kerry scurrying to drop another pallet of cash. That’s not happening now. President Trump is letting Saudi Arabia decide the most appropriate way to retaliate. We will assist in an action against whoever is finally determined to be behind the attack on “the nerve center of the Saudi energy system.”
Iran says they didn’t do it but nobody believes them. The evidence is piling up and the interested government parties are assessing the response.
“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
According to Colonel Turki al-Malki with the ground forces battling the Houthis in Yemen, it wasn’t them. The Houthis were set up to take the fall. Instead of drones, the oil facilities were hit with cruise missiles, al-Malki reports. “Saudi officials indicated they had seen signs that cruise missiles were used in the attack, which is inconsistent with the Iran-aligned Houthi group’s claim that it conducted the attack with 10 drones.”
“There’s no doubt that Iran is responsible for this. No matter how you slice it, there’s no escaping it. There’s no other candidate,” al-Malki insists.
President Trump sent out a tweet about that too. “Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their ‘airspace’ when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”
Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their “airspace” when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement Saturday saying, “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”
Pompeo emphasized that the United States isn’t being the worlds policeman here but we’re on hand to do our part for our allies. “We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
He also points out that everyone has been begging the Ayatollah to chill out, ever since the attacks on tanker ships started, but Iran just wants to throw fire on the gasoline. “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”
CNN writes that “U.S. officials Sunday pointed to satellite imagery provided to CNN showing the oil facilities were struck from the northwest, suggesting an attack from Iraq, where Tehran has proxies or Iran, among other information.” Iraq was quick to say, hey, don’t look at us! We didn’t do it.
President Trump has been trying to arrange a meeting with President Rouhani. It would be a step in the right direction for everyone if the two countries could start a dialog. Iran refuses to come to the table. “Neither is such an event on our agenda, nor will it happen. Such a meeting will not take place,” proclaimed Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.
They are insisting on getting the benefits first and negotiate for them later. The way Obama did it. Government spokesman Ali Rabiei notes, “stopping all sanctions is an indispensable precondition for constructive diplomacy. We hold meetings when we are sure that our people’s problems can be solved. Sanctions must be lifted, and the United States must respect the Iranian nation.” Meanwhile they’re putting up billboards saying “Death To America.”
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday the refinery attacks “did not help” prospects for a meeting between the two leaders. Abbas Mousavi agrees. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says negotiations are pointless. He’s ready for all out war.
Commander Amirali Hajizadeh, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander, warned, “all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles.”
Well, Commander, all your bases and equipment are also in range of ours. Your move.
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