After Saudi oil attack, U.S. ‘locked and loaded’ says Trump

(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

President Donald Trump is waiting on “confirmation” of who is responsible for the attack on a Saudi Arabian oil field but said the United States is “locked and loaded” and ready to respond.

The president tweeted Sunday that there is “reason to believe that we know” who was behind Saturday’s strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil centers which sent oil prices escalating as about half of the oil capacity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was disrupted.

(Video: Fox News)

“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,” Trump said Sunday in tweets reacting to the attacks which affected more than 5 percent of the daily crude oil production of the world.

Yemen’s rebel Houthi group claimed responsibility for drone attacks amid a backdrop of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran which, though not directly blamed for the attack by the Trump administration, is believed to be backing the group.

(Image: screenshot)

Iran called accusations that it had launched the attack “maximum lies” as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted there is “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Iran’s foreign minister issued a denial of the accusations on Twitter.

“This is the handiwork of a sophisticated (most likely State) actor. The precise nature of the intelligence used to conduct targeting, the mission planning that went into this to avoid radar detection, as well as the selection of the targets shows a robust capability that would most likely be the work of a government or government-sponsored group,” Ret. Col. Cedric Leighton told CNN Sunday.

“The drones most likely originated in either Southern Iraq or Iran,” the intelligence expert added.

In response to the potential increase in oil prices, Trump indicated the markets would be kept “well-supplied” as he was authorizing the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

“PLENTY OF OIL!” he added in a follow-up tweet, apparently attempting to downplay any concerns.

Tapping in to the use of the reserves, located in Texas and Louisiana, has only occurred three times, with the most recent under the Obama administration amid unrest in Libya.

“The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the largest government-owned stockpile of emergency crude oil in the world,according to the Department of Energy which is responsible for managing the supply.

Trump has “many options on the table,” according to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway who spoke on “Fox News Sunday.”

“This president and his national security team, Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo – our nation’s chief diplomat – keep many options on the table, particularly when it comes to retaliating against malign behavior, and protecting American interests and Americans and our American economy,” she said.

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Frieda Powers

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