Following the drone attacks this weekend on Saudi Arabian oil fields by Houthi rebels in Yemen, attacks that have purportedly damaged half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity and temporarily disrupted the flow of five percent of the world’s oil output, Donald Trump tweeted last night that the United States was “locked and loaded,” and ready to punish those responsible.
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
“Locked and loaded” sounds pretty threatening. And it’s obviously a phrase intended to impress Trump’s Fox News -watching, chest thumping, aging, white male base, tingling whatever is left of their testosterone in between their multiple trips to the bathroom.
Since the Houthi rebels are being backed by Iran in what has essentially become a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, it seems a fairly reasonable supposition that Iran was aware of and may have even planned the attack themselves. And, in fact, the administration stated as much over the weekend, albeit with no evidence to support the accusation.
Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the blame on Iran for an attack at a Saudi oil field in a pair of tweets Saturday.
“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 continued, providing no evidence that Iran was behind the attacks.
But Trump’s pals in the Kremlin have a close, strategic and economic relationship with Iran, and all this “tough talk” makes them jittery. So this morning Uncle Vlad dispatched one of his minions to send their White House lackey a clear signal to stand down.
MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Russia on Monday urged countries in the Middle East and outside the region not to draw “hasty conclusions” on who staged the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked about the U.S. statement, said: “We have a negative attitude towards rising tensions in the region and call for all countries in the region and outside of it to avoid any hasty steps or conclusions which may deepen destabilisation.”
In a separate statement on Monday, Russia’s foreign ministry said it believed that the exchange of strikes on civilian targets was “a direct consequence of the ongoing sharp military and political crisis in Yemen”.
They couldn’t have made their directive to Trump any clearer. In fact, they even threw him a bone to make sure he was paying attention.
“We believe it is counterproductive to use what happened to increase tensions around Iran in line with the well-known U.S. policy,” the foreign ministry said.
Isn’t that nice of them to credit our policy?
Lo and behold, just as the Kremlin issued its “warning,” here’s what we get from the White House: backtracking.
President Trump’s claim the US is “locked and loaded” may not refer to military action, the vice president’s chief of staff said Monday, calling the term tweeted by Trump “broad.”
“I think that locked and loaded is a broad term and talks about the realities that we’re all far safer and more secure domestically from energy independence,” Marc Short told reporters on the White House lawn. “This is not the 1970s oil embargo. It’s not 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. We’re now a net oil exporter which means that the American market is much better protected.”
Nice to be reminded of who is calling the shots now.