US vs Iran
Week of 6th January 2020
From the web:
by Dina Esfandiary
Iran lets Trump avoid war
South China Morning Post
by Cary Huang
US-Iran crisis: A Middle East war risks drawing in China and Russia, too.
by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Celso Amorim
Brazil helped the US and Iran towards peace. Dialogue is the only answer.
From our site members:
2020 - What comes next for the Middle East?
President Trump celebrated the new year with the targeted assassination of – now Lieutenant – Qassem Soleimani. This has led to a sea of speculations as to how Iran and/or its allies will retaliate.
Unfortunately, if there is one reliable constant to the various events and conflicts that have occurred in the Middle East, it is that nothing can be predicted. Indeed, the multitude of variables that affect the region are peculiar to this part of the world.
Nonetheless, it is in our nature to contemplate the possibilities, and a somewhat comforting act to attempt to predict the chain of events which the world will be subject to. But where does one begin? The caricatural battle of good vs evil between the US and Iran, the Islamic feud for supremacy between Saudi and Iran, the cold war for military dominance in the region between Israel and Iran? Or should the focus rather be on the ramified connections of Iran to the various militia groups in the region such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq, Hamas in Palestine and so on? There is also the issue of regional balance and appeal. Not everyone wants a war with Iran, and Iran itself cannot allow the international community to perceive it as the monster that the US depicted. And let us not forget the respectively unwelcome and disruptive Presidential impeachment process and upcoming elections in the Land of Brave.
That being said, one can start guessing some of the moves that should be played by the various protagonists involved. For starters, this direct attack on The Islamic Republic ironically gives it much more leeway in its uranium enrichment program, and they will most certainly make use of this card to fast track their development of nuclear weapons. Trump will most probably carry on bolstering on his twitter feed (as he has so far) while carrying rash decisions, with the aim to make his version of “America Great Again”. This obviously, at the expense of any traditional political mediation, whether with Iran, China, North Korea or Europe, and with the hope that it can carry him to and through the upcoming presidential elections. China will also look to up its influence on the region, whether as a bargaining chip for future China-US trade talks, or even more crucially for the smooth progress of its One Belt One Road project. We can also expect some more skirmish on Iraqi soil, most probably via Iranian trained and funded Kata’ib Hezbollah whom Soleimani was visiting when he was targeted. Perhaps some additional proxy conflicts in Yemen, Syria or Israel, but it is my opinion that there are too many downsides to a frontal attack on the US or its embassies.
Indeed, for all its significance and hit on national pride, the assassination of Soleimani cannot go unanswered, but there are benefits to playing the “victim”, and Iran can reap much more from assuming this role and what it entails in its Petrol and Nuclear advancements; than giving the President of the United States Carte Blanche to demolish its much needed facilities.