Who Will Trump Bomb? Only Saudi Arabia Can Say.
Poor John Bolton! All he's ever wanted his whole life was to bomb Iran. And in the five minutes since he got tweetfired -- after 17 months of prostrating himself before That Orange Idiot -- it looks like we're going to do it. Dumb fuckin' luck!
Which is not to diminish the seriousness of a conflict which might be worse than Vietnam and will, in the best of scenarios, kill tens of thousands of people. But it is pretty ironic. Oil prices dropped precipitously when Bolton got fired, as everyone deducted the Iran war premium. And then someone bombed the shit out of Saudi Arabia's oil facilities in Abqaiq, knocking half their production offline. So now oil prices are soaring, and Trump says he's ready to liquidate our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, so Americans should definitely not blame him for rising prices at the pump in the run-up to the 2020 election, more or less. Also, can't you idiots see we're swimming in a delicious sea of oil?
PLENTY OF OIL!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1568587842.0
Anyway, THIS IS ALL FINE, and as soon as Saudi Arabia gives us our marching orders, the bombings will begin.
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded de… https://t.co/KIcQ6LdQ90— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1568587806.0
Silly us! We always thought that the Constitution gave Congress the power to declare war. Apparently that authority was actually vested in the 34-year-old Crown Prince of an oil monarchy 7,000 miles east of DC. Or perhaps we are just bad at words and have entirely misinterpreted this tweet as some kind of threat. As Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short told CNN, "locked and loaded" is commonly understood to be a very general expression referring to oil production.
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 ... 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.
LOL, okay buddy. We're not outsourcing American war decisions to Prince Bonesaw. You bet!
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately blamed Iran for the precision strikes on Saudi Arabia.
Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid al… https://t.co/yZdFmDSccI— Secretary Pompeo (@Secretary Pompeo)1568491168.0
But Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been in a long, bitter war with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, claimed to have accomplished the attack with 10 drones. Here's a really helpful primer on the war in Yemen from Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy. To which we'd only add that this is part of the wider regional conflict that Mohammed bin Salman talked Jared Kushner into endorsing, and the fact that Saudi Arabia has been bogged down in Yemen for five years, despite its willingness to slaughter thousands of civilians, does not augur well for its military prospects. (Hey remember that funny time when MBS talked us into supporting a blockade of Qatar, even though we have a huge air base with 10,000 troops there? Good times!)
The State Department has blasted reporters with unattributed statements purporting to "prove" that Iran is behind the attacks. Or perhaps it came from Iraq? You can tell they're really certain of their evidence, though, since no one is willing to put their name on it, much less host a press conference and take questions on the record.
BREAKING: U.S. government releases satellite pictures showing the surgical strike against the Saudi oil facility of… https://t.co/q1ef8PDs8B— Javier Blas (@Javier Blas)1568580000.0
Sure this administration lies about the weather, but you can definitely trust some faceless dude from State when he tells the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on background that all the buildings were hit on the northwest side, so this absolutely had to be a cruise missile strike by Iran or its proxies in Iraq.
The experts who spoke to CNN on the record were less willing to make definitive statements.
"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," he said.
Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling said the images "really don't show anything, other than pretty good accuracy on the strike of the oil tanks. Ret. Adm. John Kirby echoed this point, stating "there is nothing I see in these pictures which confirms a launch from any particular location."
"I'm struck by the precision of the strikes. Almost pin-prick," Kirby said. "Certainly possible with (unmanned aerial vehicles). But again, that doesn't really confirm anything."
The Iranians deny having anything to do with the strike, although they are definitely engaged in a proxy war in Yemen with Saudi Arabia, and would like nothing more than to cripple their arch rival and give the US a black eye.
Having failed at "max pressure", @SecPompeo's turning to "max deceit" US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because… https://t.co/sGRtSyiZIy— Javad Zarif (@Javad Zarif)1568538640.0
Wouldn't it be awesome if we could believe our own government over a murderous regime of religious fanatics?
One thing's for sure, though. Donald Trump is, was, and always has been a resolute opponent of the Iranian government. And anyone who suggests that he would meet with them or propose a $15 billion bribe to get them back to the negotiating table is a damn, dirty liar.
The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, “No Conditions.” That is an incorrect statement (as usual!).— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1568588536.0
Huh. That's weird, because on Tuesday when Mike Pompeo was asked if Trump would sit down with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN, Pompeo said, "He is prepared to meet with no preconditions." Also, there's this video. And this one.
WATCH: Trump tells Chuck Todd that he wants to talk with Iran with “no pre-conditions.” #MTP #IfItsSunday https://t.co/kie0I91ZbA— Meet the Press (@Meet the Press)1561304585.0
But who ya gonna believe, Trump or yer lyin' eyes?
So what happens now? We'll see?????
Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their “airspace” when, in fact, it was nowher… https://t.co/eJYBpG701W— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1568639757.0
WE'LL SEE. Which is the entire sum of US foreign policy at the moment. As Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last month in a speech at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "Mutual unpredictability will lead to chaos. President Trump cannot expect to be unpredictable and expect others to be predictable. Unpredictability will lead to mutual unpredictability and unpredictability is chaotic."
And we have no brief for that guy, but ... he ain't wrong.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.