Trump and Iran: Where did it all go wrong?

The United States’ decision to withdraw its forces from Turkey is just another move in the U.S-Iran political minefield (Image Source: Latin American Post)

By Annalise Toms  | @annalise_toms

Turkey launched an offensive into north-eastern parts of Syria yesterday, unleashing air strikes and artillery barrages, causing several civilian casualties.

This event occurred just days after Trump had withdrawn all his U.S troops from Syria’s border with Turkey.

These attacks were aimed at Kurdish forces, backed by the U.S, who control the region and are assisting in the elimination of Islamic State (ISIS).

Political aggression between the U.S and Iran has been ongoing for over two decades, but it’s increasingly escalated since the Trump administration has been in office.

However, tensions between Iran and the United States were at its highest when President Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions on Iran last month.

The new round of sanctions were imposed against Iran’s international financial system and national bank in retaliation to suspected recent attacks from Iran on Saudi Arabia and their oil fields.

With no evidence on who was responsible for the attacks, Dr Edson Ziso, a lecturer at the University of South Australia, said the economic sanctions are patently unfair.

“Iran has shown some commendable degree of compromise under very provocative conditions,” Dr Ziso said.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed during the Obama era was a reasonable compromise.

“When Trump tore it apart, he reset an improving relationship back to the current tensions.”

According to an article in the New York Times, the National Security Adviser for Trump’s administration Robert C. O’Brien considered the options of “tightening the stranglehold on Iran’s economy, sending more American forces to the region, and launching military strikes targeting weapons caches and possibly oil facilities”.

This so-called “economic stranglehold” has caused Iran’s inflation to rise to 40 per cent, and its economy is projected to plummet by three per cent to six this year.

“This just worsens a general feeling of mutual distrust,” Dr Ziso said.

“Iran wishes to assert its rights in nuclear capabilities whilst the U.S, especially under Trump, is unable to view this as nothing other than an attempt to threaten its interest and allies in the Middle East.”

The U.S was also quick to accuse Iran of the recent oil attacks that occurred in Saudi Arabia last month, knocking out roughly five per cent of the global oil supply.

But despite disapproving of the sanctions, Iran refuses to negotiate with the US on the existing sanctions against their oil, oil products and automotive industry, which are the three largest contributors to their economy.

It is believed that the ongoing tensions, along with the latest impeachment inquiry against the President, spurred his decision to withdraw from Turkey.

It was reported by the Washington Post that Trump made this call ignoring the advice of the Pentagon, and disregarded allies and congress in his withdrawal.

This move could lead to Kurdish forces abandoning their influence and control all together over Islamic State, leaving a detrimental impact not just on the safety of civilians in the Middle East, but on the world’s safety and security as well.

“The Islamic State threat does not go away permanently, and it is surprising Trump justified the pull-out on the basis of having ‘defeated the Islamic State’” Dr Ziso said.

“A rejuvenated Islamic State in one form or another cannot be ruled in the near future.”

“You’re going to see — and I hope I’m wrong — ISIS fighters and sleeping cells coming out and trying to really capitalize on the violence if and when Turkey invades northeastern Syria,” Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics, told NBC News.

“For ISIS, it’s a godsend.”

 

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