There's an old saying that wars are easy to get into but hard to get out of. President Trump understands this, which is why he wisely resisted the temptation to launch a military strike against Iran after that nation launched a missile and drone attack last week against Saudi Arabian oil facilities. When he was running for president, Trump promised the American people he would not jump into endless conflicts in the greater Middle East, where thousands of members of the U.S. military have been killed and wounded in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fighting began in 2001 in Afghanistan and 2003 in Iraq and still continues in both countries. U.S. forces have also fought on a smaller scale in Syria to strike at terrorist targets.
Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said Thursday that she would re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and end sanctions in response to Iran's involvement in drone attack against Saudi Arabia oil facilities if she was president. "What I would do is, I would re-enter the Iran nuclear deal to prevent Iran from continuing to move forward in building a nuclear weapon that puts us and the world further at risk," Gabbard said on "The Story with Martha MacCallum." Every day that we don't do this, every day we continue down this failed strategy Iran gets closer and closer to a nuclear weapon. U.S. officials told Fox News on Tuesday that Iranian cruise missiles and drones were both used in the attack on the two Saudi Arabian oil facilities, and that they were fired from inside southwest Iran this past weekend. Gabbard called the attack a "retaliation" against "extreme sanctions."
Senior national security officials from across the government met on Thursday to refine a list of potential targets to strike in Iran, should President Trump order a military retaliation for missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields last weekend, officials said. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are to present the updated options to Mr. Trump at a National Security Council meeting scheduled for Friday, a senior American official said. In advance of being presented with the newest set of options, Mr. Trump has sent different signals on his intentions. He has threatened to order "the ultimate option" of a strike on Iran to punish the nation for its behavior, but also has made clear his continued opposition to ordering the United States into another war in the Middle East. The Pentagon is advocating military strikes that one senior official described as at the lower end of options.
On Fox Nation's "Deep Dive," a panel of experts analyzed the world response to last weekend's crippling attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure and explained why the Saudi government seems hesitant to explicitly accuse Iran of carrying out the strikes. "If you look at the sophistication of the attack, the ranges of the weapons used, and how this was perpetrated, it can only be Iran really," said Lt. Col. Dakota Wood, who is a retired Marine and Senior Research Fellow for Defense Program at the Heritage Foundation. At a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the Saudis displayed broken and burned drones and pieces of a cruise missile that military spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki identified as Iranian weapons collected after the attack. Tehran has denied that it carried out the attacks and Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility. Speaking from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran is responsible for the attack, telling reporters that the strike was "an act of war."
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, says the United States is considering a "suite of options" in response to Iran's alleged responsibility for drone attack on Saudi Arabia's oil fields. "We have a commander-in-chief and he has said he does not want war with Iran and the Saudi Arabians have said the same thing," Risch said on "The Story with Martha MacCallum Wednesday. "The unfortunate part of all of this is Iran continues to push the envelope." U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday doubled down on accusations Iran is responsible for the weekend bombing on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, telling reporters that the strike was "an act of war." Earlier President Trump tweeted that he had ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to "substantially increase sanctions" on Iran. Risch said the Iranians are "notorious for making bad judgments" and said that's what is happening with the current situation. "[Trump] doesn't want war with Iran.
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia alleged Wednesday an attack by drones and cruise missiles on the heart of the kingdom's oil industry was "unquestionably sponsored by Iran," naming but not directly accusing Tehran of launching the assault. Iran denies being involved in the attack claimed by Yemeni rebels, and has threatened the U.S. that it will retaliate "immediately" if Tehran is targeted in response. The news conference by Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki comes after a summer of heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. over President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The U.S. alleges Iran launched the attack, which Yemen's Houthi rebels earlier claimed as a response to the yearslong Saudi-led war there that's killed tens of thousands of people. Al-Malki made a point not to directly accuse Iran of firing the weapons or launching them from inside of Iranian territory.
CANBERRA – An Australian government minister on Wednesday expressed concern for three Australians arrested in Iran on suspicion of spying and separated their plight from a tense standoff in the Middle East over the weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham was responding after Iran on Tuesday acknowledged for the first time that it is holding three Australian citizens, including two British dual nationals, on suspicion of espionage. "The government continues to seek information and clarity around these matters," Birmingham told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "We are concerned for the welfare of these individuals and work to make sure their treatment is as fair as possible." Iran confirmed the arrests of Melbourne University Middle East expert Kylie Moore-Gilbert in October and travel blogging couple Mark Firkin and Jolie King in July as fallout continues from Saturday's fiery missile and drone attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was headed to Jiddah in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss possible responses to what U.S. officials believe was an attack coming from Iranian soil.
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DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The assault on the beating heart of Saudi Arabia's vast oil empire follows a new and dangerous pattern that's emerged across the Persian Gulf this summer of precise attacks that leave few obvious clues as to who launched them. Beginning in May with the still-unclaimed explosions that damaged oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the region has seen its energy infrastructure repeatedly targeted. Those attacks culminated with Saturday's assault on the world's biggest oil processor in eastern Saudi Arabia, which halved the oil-rich kingdom's production and caused energy prices to spike. Some strikes have been claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been battling a Saudi-led coalition in the Arab world's poorest country since 2015. Their rapidly increasing sophistication fuels suspicion among experts and analysts however that Iran may be orchestrating them -- or perhaps even carrying them out itself as the U.S. alleges in the case of Saturday's attack.
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration tried to balance diplomacy with fresh talk of military action Tuesday in response to the fiery missile and drone attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry -- a strike marking the most explosive consequence yet of the "maximum pressure" U.S. economic campaign against Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was headed to Jiddah in Saudi Arabia to discuss possible responses to what U.S. officials believe was an attack coming from Iranian soil. President Donald Trump said he'd "prefer not" to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at next week's U.N. session but "I never rule anything out." Iran continued to deny involvement in last weekend's attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing plant and its Khurais oil field, a strike that interrupted the equivalent of about 5 percent of the world's daily supply. Saudi Arabia's energy minister said Tuesday that more than half of the country's daily crude oil production that was knocked out by the attack had been recovered and production capacity at the targeted plants would be fully restored by the end of the month.