Thursday, April 2, 2020

Trump plays caution with Iran

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The US president prefers not to categorically attribute Tehran responsibility for the raid against Saudi Arabia.

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Donald Trump in Washington on September 16th. ALEXANDER DRAGO / REUTERS

Donald Trump gave the impression of wanting to take his time before a possible response to the attack on sensitive oil installations in Saudi Arabia on 14 September. The president of the United States was less categorical than his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to blame Iran for the raid that obviously involved drones. "It seems like that is the case", said the president of the United States, adding however: "We want to determine with certainty who did it. "

"I do not want war with anyone, but we are prepared more than anyone. Are we going to take this route? We will see ", he added. He left, as planned, the White House in the middle of the afternoon for a brief three-day tour of New Mexico and California.

The day before, the president had given the impression of being suspended on the advice of his Saudi allies. "We are waiting for the Kingdom to tell us who they think could be the cause of this attack and under what conditions we could proceed! "he assured on his Twitter account. Many experts have publicly argued that US military intervention would require the green light of Congress.

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Donald Trump has downplayed the economic implications of the attack for his country, because the current state of oil resources in the United States, once again the world's largest producer, the issue for Washington, refers to a question of credibility. In June, Donald Trump assured that he had stopped a military response at the last minute after Iran's destruction of an American observation drone. Tehran had assured that the aircraft was evolving in its airspace, which had strongly denied the US authorities. The United States could hardly adopt the same attitude, vis-à-vis Iran as vis-à-vis their allies, if they were able to prove an Iranian involvement in the attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Open crisis

Even more than the responsibility claimed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which Riyadh has tried in vain to crush militarily for more than four years, that of Tehran would strike a blow to the argument that continues to develop the president: that of a change in Iran's behavior since its arrival at the White House and the exit of the United States, in May 2018, the agreement on nuclear Iran, concluded in 2015. Donald Trump assured Monday that "The Iranians were causing a lot of problems in the region" previously, while the open crisis testifies to Tehran's nuisance capacity, directly or through their Yemeni allies.

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The president has shown little eagerness, moreover, to take the place of the Saudi armed forces. "The fact is that the Saudis will contribute a lot if we decide to do something. They will be very involved, including financially, and they understand it perfectly. ", he said, stating that "Other presidents" before him would probably not have mentioned this point.

This is a constant in Donald Trump's speech. The latter lamented in an advertisement published in 1987, while he was already wondering about a possible candidacy for the presidential election, that the United States defend "The Persian Gulf, an area of ​​marginal importance in the United States for its supply of oil". In 2014, he said: "Saudi Arabia should wage its own wars, which it will not do, or pay us a fortune to protect them and protect their wealth. "

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