Just as the price of oil was settling down from its record surge, it spiked once again, following a tweet by president Trump which has made war with Iran virtually inevitable.
Just before 7pm, Trump tweeted that "Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!"
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
Setting aside the implicit admission that US foreign policy in the middle-east is now inexplicably run by Saudi Arabia, what is far more troubling is Trump's statement that the US military is "locked and loaded", and set to attack the country which instigated the attack on Saudi facilities, which according to Mike Pompeo was not Yemen, and its Houthi rebels, but rather Iran.
Now, as Bloomberg's Javier Blas correctly notes, Trump's tweet has left Saudi crown prince MbS boxed: "if he doesn’t point to #Iran, he’s likely to dissapointing Trump, but he does, he could start an all-war with Tehran of unknown end." Needless to say, it is clear which option Saudi Arabia - which has been needling for war with Iran for years - will pick.
“Locked and loaded”— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) September 15, 2019
And “waiting to hear from the kingdom”. Now MbS is boxed: if he doesn’t point to #Iran, he’s likely to dissapointing Trump, but he does, he could start an all-war with Tehran of unknown end | #OOTT 🇺🇸 🇸🇦 🇮🇷 ⛽️🛢 https://t.co/aYS6uWixGl
And just in case it is unclear how Saudi Arabia will order the US "to proceed", back in May, The Arab News - a newspaper that has long been chaired by various sons of King Salman until 2014 and is regarded as reflecting official position - published an editorial in English on Thursday, arguing that after incidents this week against Saudi energy targets, the next logical step "should be surgical strikes." One can be certain that this time, it will be even more vocal.
Meanwhile, one wonders just how credible the official narrative of Iran being behind the attacks is. Here are some thoughts:
Saudi story is very suspicious. Called it a drone attack. US satellites showed it was really a missile attack. Now Saudis agree it was a missile attack. No long term damage to the facilities. The tanks didn’t have anything in them or they would have exploded. Doesn’t add up.— hks55 (@hks55) September 15, 2019
The irony here is that just last week, Iran suddenly seemed on the cusp of renewed talks with the US after Trump unceremoniously sacked John Bolton, who had been pushing for an attack on Iran for years. And yet, with Bolton gone, his most desired outcome has been achieved with the US military now "locked and loaded" to attack Iran... One almost wonders where Bolton was when "Iran" was launching drones at Saudi Arabia.
Incidentally, anyone hoping that oil prices will drop once the US invades Iran will be very disappointed.
Because war with Iran will lower oil prices? https://t.co/MaxeKRWhYn— zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 15, 2019
For now, the market is clearly aware of what such an outcome would mean to oil prices, and not even Trump's subsequent tweet that "PLENTY OF OIL!" will do anything to ease fears that a full-blown middle-eastern war may be coming.