Smoke is seen following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 14, 2019.
Trump promised the U.S. was “locked and loaded depending on verification” and waiting for the Saudis to say “under what terms we would proceed!”
The attack and ensuing threats of retaliation had the region on edge Sunday, with heightened fears of a conflict — Iran and its proxies against the Saudis and U.S.
The risk of conflict seemed lower less than a week ago, with the departure of hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton and Trump seeming to embrace the possibility of talks with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly later this month in New York. Pompeo said Tuesday that Trump was “prepared to meet with no preconditions.”
But in a reversal Sunday, Trump tweeted it was “incorrect” to say he was willing to meet without conditions, blaming the “fake news” despite his repeated statements saying so.
In July 2018, the president first said “no preconditions … If they want to meet, I’ll meet — anytime they want.”