Lolita C. Baldor, The Related Press
Revealed Friday, September 20, 2019 7:05AM EDT
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will current a broad vary of navy choices to U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday as he considers how to reply to what administration officers say was an unprecedented Iranian assault on Saudi Arabia’s oil trade.
In a White Home assembly, the Republican president might be offered with a listing of potential airstrike targets inside Iran, amongst different attainable responses, and he might be warned that navy motion in opposition to the Islamic Republic may escalate into warfare, in accordance with U.S. officers conversant in the discussions who spoke on the situation of anonymity.
The nationwide safety assembly will probably be the primary alternative for a choice on how the U.S. ought to reply to the assault on a key Center East ally. Any choice might rely upon what sort of proof the U.S. and Saudi investigators are in a position to present proving that the cruise missile and drone strike was launched by Iran, as various officers, together with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have asserted.
Iran has denied involvement and warned the U.S. that any assault will spark an “all-out war” with rapid retaliation from Tehran.
Pompeo and Vice-President Mike Pence have condemned the assault on Saudi oil services as “an act of war.” Pence stated Trump will “review the facts, and he’ll make a decision about next steps. But the American people can be confident that the United States of America is going to defend our interest in the region, and we’re going to stand with our allies.”
The U.S. response may contain navy, political and financial actions, and the navy choices may vary from no motion in any respect to airstrikes or much less seen strikes equivalent to cyberattacks. One probably transfer could be for the U.S. to supply further navy help to assist Saudi Arabia defend itself from assaults from the north, since most of its defences have targeted on threats from Houthis in Yemen to the south.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, emphasised to a small variety of journalists travelling with him Monday that the query of whether or not the U.S. responds is a “political judgment” and never for the navy.
“It is my job to provide military options to the president should he decide to respond with military force,” Dunford stated.
Trump will need “a full range of options,” he stated. “In the Middle East, of course, we have military forces there and we do a lot of planning and we have a lot of options.”
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., stated in an interview Thursday that if Trump “chooses an option that involves a significant military strike on Iran that, given the current climate between the U.S. and Iran, there is a possibility that it could escalate into a medium to large-scale war, I believe the president should come to Congress.”
Slotkin, a former prime Center East coverage adviser for the Pentagon, stated she hopes Trump considers a broad vary of choices, together with probably the most primary selection, which might be to position extra forces and defensive navy tools in and round Saudi Arabia to assist enhance safety.
A forensic crew from U.S. Central Command is pouring over proof from cruise missile and drone particles, however the Pentagon stated the evaluation shouldn’t be completed. Officers try to find out if they’ll get navigational data from the particles that might present arduous proof that the strikes got here from Iran.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman stated Thursday that the U.S. has a excessive degree of confidence that officers will be capable of precisely decide precisely who launched the assaults final weekend.
U.S. officers have been unwilling to foretell what sort of response Trump will select. In June, after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone, Trump initially endorsed a retaliatory navy strike then abruptly referred to as it off as a result of he stated it will have killed dozens of Iranians. The choice underscores the president’s long-held reluctance to embroil the nation in one other warfare within the Center East.
As a substitute, Trump opted to have U.S. navy cyber forces perform a strike in opposition to navy pc techniques utilized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to regulate rocket and missile launchers, in accordance with U.S. officers.
The Pentagon stated the U.S. navy is working with Saudi Arabia to seek out methods to supply extra safety for the northern a part of the nation.
Air Pressure Col. Pat Ryder, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Employees, advised Pentagon reporters Wednesday that U.S. Central Command is speaking with the Saudis about methods to mitigate future assaults. He wouldn’t speculate on what kinds of help could possibly be offered.
Different U.S. officers have stated including Patriot missile batteries and enhanced radar techniques could possibly be choices, however no selections have been made.