Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Arrives in Saudi Arabia Amid Iran Tensions
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
June 24, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday in the first stop of a trip that will include visits to India, Japan and South Korea. The trip to Saudi Arabia will see Pompeo meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "to discuss ways to counter the malign Iranian influence in the region" according to a statement from the State Department.
Tensions in the region have risen dramatically after Iran reportedly shot down a U.S. surveillance drone last week. The State Department said the drone was flying in International Waters at the time it was shot down, an assertion Tehran has disputed. In response, Trump ordered, then canceled a strike intended to hit a set of radar and missile battery sites in Iran after he was informed that up to 150 people could be killed by the strike.
Trump did reportedly authorize a series of cyberattacks against Iran's Revolutionary Guard systems that control rocket and missile launches.
The U.S. is also set to announce 'significant' sanctions against Iran in retaliation for the downing of the U.S. drone. However, Iran's Minister for Information, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, tweeted that those attacks were unsuccessful.
An Iranian admiral said their military stood ready to shoot down any other U.S. drones that might encroach on their territory.
“The enemy dispatched its most sophisticated, smartest and most complicated surveillance aircraft to the banned area, and everyone saw the shooting down of the unmanned aerial vehicle," Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said. "We confidently say that this crushing response can be repeated ... and the enemy is aware of this."
Pompeo is also scheduled to travel to Abu Dhabi to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss heightened tensions in the region and the need to support maritime security. The Secretary of State will make a stop in India before continuing on to Japan for the G-20 Summit with President Donald Trump.
Photo: Getty Images