We can’t help but say that the whole situation in the Middle East resulting from the US-Iran standoff has been precipitated by a series of actions initiated by the US beginning with the US sanctions on Iran. The latest move by the US to position a carrier group in the Gulf, and deployment of F-22 bombers in the region, gives one the impression that it is the US which is trying to provoke a reaction from Iran.
Unfortunately, the main US motivation is regime change in Iran, a common psyche that pervades the mind of the two major policy shapers for President Trump, Pompeo and Bolton. The sabotaging of several tanker in the Gulf this week is being blamed on Iran. These are all reminiscent of the situation immediately predating the invasion of Iraq. Plan to dispatch some 120,000 US troops to the region if Iran retaliates against US forces is an ominous indication.
Is the region not unsettled enough as it is? US ratcheting up tensions do not help matters. Iraq is still in turmoil, Syria is in a shambles, Libya’s politico-military situation is still in a flux and Yemen is a case of unmitigated humanitarian disaster. The nuclear deal in 2015, reached between Iran and the Western Powers that took five years in the making has been scrapped by President Trump. None of the other countries in the deal think that Iran is in breach of the agreement and wants to keep the deal. The allegation against Iran is that it is arming belligerents who are deemed to be terrorist organisations by the US. But the reality is that armed groups in the region have been supported by western powers too and singling out Iran as the main perpetrator of regional instability falls flat. Does US have the moral high ground to call upon Iran to act like a normal country.
Regime change in the Middle East has had a disastrous effect on the world geopolitical order. We have only to look at Iraq, Syria and Libya to see what turmoil it has brought to those nations and beyond. There is still time to move away from brinkmanship and allow statesmanship to frame policy. It is also time for the UN Security Council to step in to diffuse the situation.