05242018Thu

Iran and US Headed for Conflict

Iran Focus

London, 20 Sep - Iran and the US are heading for a confrontation, according to one US national security expert.

Hal Brands, a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Program on National Security, wrote an op-ed for Bloomberg in which he assessed that Iran is the adversary that the US should be concerned about, rather than North Korea.

Brands, a Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), wrote: “[Iran is] a rogue-state adversary, a potential foe that has proved rational yet ruthless in pursuit of its interests, including the aggressive development of its nuclear program and associated military capabilities.”

This confrontation seems imminent for three main reasons.

1) The defeat of ISIS: As combined forces drive ISIS out of the Middle East, the Iranian Regime is attempting to take over these areas in order to create their Shiite Crescent from the Persian Gulf to Mediterranean.

2) Iran’s Interference in the Middle East: As mentioned above, Iran seeks to dominate the Middle East and in countries that ISIS was not able to overtake, they rely on terrorist proxy groups to destabilise the area and make it seem like Regime interference is preferable. This is something that worries both other Middle Eastern powers like Saudi Arabia, who fear that the Iranian Regime will destroy the Middle East, and Trump administration officials who fought in Iran in the early 2000s- and perhaps even the 1980s- in order to achieve peace and stability.

3) The nuclear deal: Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the nuclear deal, calling it “the worst deal ever negotiated”, and he is expected to decertify Iran’s compliance with the upcoming certification deadline in October after US policy on Iran is finalised.

Brands wrote: “Together, these three factors are fostering heightened tensions on a variety of issues, and they are creating a situation in which the potential for escalation -- in the Gulf, in Syria, in Iraq -- is significant indeed.”

Root Cause

The reason for this confrontation is in part due to the US’s appeasement policy of the mullahs that has been going on for nearly 40 years, but it is mainly due to the Regime itself.

Brands wrote: “It is fundamentally rooted in Iran’s destabilizing behaviour; it reflects a predictable return to rivalry as the shared threat from the Islamic State fades. And there is a reasonable argument for a stronger but calibrated approach to constraining Iranian expansionism -- indeed, even former Obama administration officials have acknowledged that previous US efforts have been insufficient.”

What Next?

While Brands does not condone breaking the nuclear deal altogether, he understands the need for a tougher policy on Iran. He advises that Trump take the advice of his generals and his chiefs of staff, to act tough but cautious.

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