President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter the US is “locked and loaded” to respond to Iranian aggression after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Tehran of carrying out a series of drone attacks on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Iran denied any allegation of involvement in the attack, pointing out Yemeni Houthi forces revindicated the strike. Former US Marine Corps Colonel Stephen Ganyard told ABC: “I don’t think we’re going to see a military response right off the bat.
“Maybe, at some point, the Administration will feel they need to push back against the Iranians.”
Col. Ganyard continued: “This is a very big escalation by the Iranians. They’d attack things like oil pipelines but this is oil infrastructure.
“Taking five percent of the world’s oil supply off the market is a very big escalatory step.”
Two Aramco-managed oil facilities in Saudi Arabia’s heartland were the target of a drone attack on Saturday, with 17 points of impact which two vital oil installations and cutting global oil supplies by five percent.
US-Iran news: Donald Trump could choose to “push back” against Iran, Col. Ganyard claimed
US-Iran news: Col. Ganyard warned Iran’s drone capabilities are getting more “effective”
Col. Ganyard suggested the attack showed Iran has developed a strong drone contingency to strike against other countries as the international community struggles to come to terms with the “effectiveness” of the new aerial weapon.
He said: “The interesting thing is that this is an asymmetric response. These are $10,000-$20,000 drones that are defeating air defence systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars so it’s a very cheap, very effective way.
“We’ve seen the result of what 20 drones could do but it’s a very difficult thing to attack. Even now, the US Military is just rolling out the capability to take down these drones.
“They’ll do things like go after their guiding system, they’ll use lasers to shoot them out of the sky or they’ll have other hunter drones knock these drones down. But it’s a very difficult asymmetric threat that nobody in the world has come to grips with.”
US-Iran news: Tehran denied any involvement in the Aramco oil attack on Saudi facilities
Following the attack, Donald Trump authorised the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on an as-needed basis to “keep the markets well-supplied.”
He later wrote on his personal Twitter account: “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!”
In August, Dr. Alan Mendoza from the Henry Jackson Society suggested Teheran was “laying the speed” for a large military operation against Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Mendoza said: “There would be a danger for Iran if it were to go for major targets.
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US-Iran news: Donald Trump wrote on Twitter the United States are “locked and loaded” to respond if evidence showed Iranian involvement
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“The US could not sit back, for example, if there was a major attack on Saudi operations, and allow that to happen.”
The academic claimed smaller actions against Saudi pipelines were “distractions” that were used to “remind everyone that Iran has major capabilities”.
He continued: “The danger for Iran is that they overreach – but at the moment, these are perfectly small targets and in keeping with what Iran intends to do.
“At the same time, it doesn’t risk a major response.”
The attacks on the two Aramco facilities were claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Tehran for the attacks.
Secretary Pompeo said that there is “no evidence” that the attacks came from Yemen, and it is believed the US government have obtained photographic evidence that suggests the attack was too sophisticated to have been executed without help from the Iranian military.