17, September 2019
US Vice President Mike Pence has said the United States is “locked and loaded” to defend America’s allies like Saudi Arabia but added that the Trump administration doesn’t want to go to war with anyone.
“In the wake of this unprovoked attack, I promise you, we’re ready,” Pence said on Tuesday following the attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities on Saturday that knocked out more than half the kingdom’s production. The strike sent oil prices soaring.
“We’re locked and loaded and we’re ready to defend the interests of our allies. Make no mistake about it,” he added.
Yemen’s Houthi fighters have claimed responsibility for the attack, but the United States has rejected their claim with President Donald Trump saying that Iran appears to be responsible for the strike.
Pence also said that it “looks like” Iran was responsible for the attack, but added US intelligence agencies were working to confirm the details.
The US vice president said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss the attack with Saudi officials.
“We’re evaluating all of the evidence, we’re consulting with our allies,” Pence said.
He added that the United States “will take whatever action is necessary” to defend US allies.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday the American military was preparing a response to the attacks.
Esper briefed President Donald Trump in the White House on Monday. He did not directly put blame on Iran for the attack but accused it of undermining international order.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put the blame for the operation on Iran, claiming, “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia” and that “there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”
Tehran, however, dismissed the allegation, saying Washington seems to be shifting from a failed campaign of “maximum pressure” to one of “maximum lying” and “deceit” against the Islamic Republic.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet that “US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory.”
Yemen said it used 10 drones for Saturday’s operation, which was one of their largest retaliatory attacks ever inside the kingdom.
The Yemeni army has said the raids were carried out on the back of an intelligence operation and in cooperation with “certain honorable and freedom-seeking individuals within Saudi Arabia.”