Trump and his neocon advisers are taking us to the brink of yet another disastrous war in the Middle East, writes Hilary Stephenson
The US has announced plans to deploy 1500 troops to the Middle East in response to a campaign by Iran to attack US “interests” in the region.
Earlier in the month, Donald Trump tweeted “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” after the US had sent an aircraft carrier attack force and B-52 bombers in response to what the US administration said were “clear indications” that the Tehran regime was plotting to threaten the US.
The reality is that these latest developments clarify that Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 was a prelude to confrontation with Iran.
Why else would the US attempt to dismantle a deal designed to prevent Iran starting a nuclear weapons programme, that took years to negotiate and everyone agrees is working?
Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal was coupled with fresh sanctions designed to cripple the Iranian economy. The Iranian currency has lost 60% of its value on the open market.
One of the reasons the situation is so volatile is that, while the sanctions have caused damage, they so far haven’t been as crippling as US planners hoped. National Security Advisor John Bolton - who has argued for regime change in Iran for at least two decades - appears to be waiting for the right moment when he can argue the sanctions aren’t working, US interests are threatened, it’s time for war.
Trump’s ability to flip from threatening to ‘end Iran’ to saying he’s not interested in regime change makes the situation even more unpredictable, though his strongman image seems to play well with Trump’s political base in the US.
The guiding principle of US relations with Iran is how to contain an independent power that threatens US dominance in the Middle East, which Eisenhower described as the most “strategically important part of the world.” Important not just because of what the region’s oil could do for the US economy, but what the oil could do for US enemies if they got their hands on it.
Iran, which is home to 10% of the world’s oil reserves, must be crushed whether through sanctions or war. The same game is currently being played in Venezuela, which can count one failed US-backed coup attempt this year.
The anti-war movement must be ready to rise up and demand that Britain plays no role in a war with Iran that would have devastating humanitarian consequences, spread the threat of terrorism, and lead to an even more dangerous world.