The Pentagon has developed a new plan to “contain Iran”, providing for sending to the Middle East up to 120 thousand US troops.
It happened on May 9. The country’s defense minister, Patrick Shanahan, presented President Trump a range of military response measures that will come into force if “Iranian forces attack the US military.” Or if “Iran will accelerate the development of nuclear weapons.”
The publication notes that in this way the American side plans to surround Iran by deploying its military in the border states. But the talk “about a direct invasion of Iranian territory” is not in question.
However, the last statement looks rather dubious, considering that one of the initiators of the proposed plan was Assistant to the President of the USA on national security John Bolton, a well-known “hawk” and a supporter of solving any issues by force.
It was Bolton, on May 6, who announced that Washington would send a naval strike group led by the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and a B-52 bombers link to the shores of Iran, which, by the way, had already arrived at Qatar. Participation in military exercises aimed at countering the so-called “Iranian threat”.
Trump, however, denied yesterday the message of The New York Times, calling it “fake news.” But, having an idea of the inconstancy of the American president and his open dislike for the representatives of the mass media, it is quite possible to assume that he was irritated by the fact that this information was leaked to the media.
The pretext for strengthening the US military contingent in the region, as is known, appeared after Washington allegedly received intelligence on Tehran’s preparation for an attack on US forces in Iraq and Syria.
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And then Trump said that Iran would “suffer greatly” if the country’s authorities “take ill-considered steps.”
To that end, the brigadier general of the Iranian Corps of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC), Amir Ali Hadjizade, for his part, promised to deliver the US “a blow to the head.”
That is, it is abundantly clear that the degree of confrontation in the region is clearly increasing. And the prospect of a real military conflict between Washington and Tehran is literally hanging in the air. The only thing the Americans may just need some more significant reason to “uncover guns” and justify the start of hostilities.
And it is unlikely, in this sense, that accusing Iran of involvement in a recent series of explosions on tankers in the port of Fujairah (UAE) can be called a coincidence. What follows from the report of US military experts who were sent to investigate the incident. They concluded that Iran allegedly used explosive devices to attack oil ships. However, this is all again at the “highly Likely” level – without direct evidence and details.
So, what, in fact, did the Americans conceive – another military adventure, or do they just “play with their muscles”?
Senator Alexei Pushkov believes that the States are preparing an invasion of the Islamic Republic according to the Iraqi scenario:
– In 2003, Vice President Cheney declared:“ It’s time to take Iraq. ” But they “took” it so fast, that then did not know how to quit. Now the role of Cheney is performed by Bolton, calling for a strike on Iran. The Pentagon is ready to send 120 thousand soldiers to the Middle East, as in its time in Iraq. War is being prepared, – he commented on the situation on his Twitter page.
Irina Fedorova, a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of the Countries of the Near and Middle East at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, does not see anything new in the new threats from Washington:
– As under Obama and under Trump, the States have constantly stated that with regard to Iran, they have all options on table, including military ones. So, there is nothing new in their current threats.
Forcing in relations with Iran by Washington is connected with the fact that Trump, after leaving a nuclear deal a year ago, considers it necessary to conclude a new agreement that would force Iran to abandon its missile program and from active operations in the Middle East region. For this purpose, such actions are taken. But Tehran, too, cannot but respond – otherwise it would show that Iran is weak.
And in response, he recently limited his commitments to a number of items that are contained in the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (IFAP) for the Iranian nuclear program, which guarantees the exclusively peaceful purposes of this program.
And at the moment we are seeing, indeed, a new round of escalation. The states declare the buildup of the military grouping in the region, transferring more and more new forces to the Middle East. And Iran, in turn, says it is ready to destroy the “US head” in the Persian Gulf …, etc.
– And what, actually, is meant by the “head of the United States” in the region, Israel?
– I do not think this is Israel. Rather, I can assume that this is an American contingent, which is located in Iraq. Iran, in general, can strike at it, it is quite real. There are American units in Syria – Iran can do it there too. And, of course, give some answer to Israel.
But, I think, Iran will not dare to start any military actions against Israel. Because it understands: the attack on Israel will cause a sharp opposition of the entire international community. Moreover, Tel Aviv is not taking any action now regarding Iran on its territory.
Will this “muscle game” come to a real military conflict between Tehran and Washington? I think not.
– Explain why?
– I immediately exclude any US ground operation in Iran, it is too expensive in terms of both losses and financial ones. For this they will not go.
On the contrary, it is worth paying attention to the fact that amid this heightening of tension, Trump constantly talks about the possibilities of negotiations with Iran. Naturally, on the terms of the United States, but such negotiations are possible. He even suggested that the Embassy of Switzerland, which represents the interests of the United States in Iran, hand over a phone number whereby the Iranian leadership can contact him if necessary.
It seems to me that there is also a certain copying of the scheme that the United States tested against North Korea.
We remember that the degree of mutual rejection there also reached a critical point. And it seemed that the sides were about to exchange blows. But then negotiations were proposed.
It seems to me that one cannot exclude such a scenario that the US President has already tested in relation to the DPRK.
– But after all, Trump never got from Kim Jong-un those concessions, which he expected …
– Not achieved. And from Iran, too, will not achieve. But still everyone now says that Kim Jong-un is a good guy.
It is difficult, of course, to judge what is in the head of the US president, but we cannot exclude it. Moreover, Iran is also not interested in the beginning – in any form – of a military conflict. It has a very difficult internal situation, and it simply will not stand serious war, despite the promise to tighten his belts, etc. The leadership of the Islamic Republic understands this.
– Do not stand in what sense? Iranian army is considered one of the strongest in the region, isn’t it?
– It’s not about the armed forces. It will not sustain mode. The deterioration of the economic situation can become so noticeable that the internal political situation in Iran will get out of the control of the central government.
The budget has already halved compared to last year, because oil sanctions are in effect. For an oil producing country, this is very serious. And recently, restrictions have been imposed on the metallurgical sector of Iran, which gives up to 10% of budget revenue. Iran can no longer simply sell copper, steel and other metals.
Therefore, the country’s leadership understands that not only stability, but, to some extent, the very existence of this regime in the event of a serious military conflict will be threatened.
So, I do not exclude that this is all a prelude to some kind of diplomatic dialogue. After all, when a comprehensive action plan was concluded, before official agreements there existed communication channels for contacts between the USA and Iran. Negotiations on this topic were going on.
Accordingly, we cannot rule out that, despite the official Iran’s tough refusal to negotiate before the United States returns to the FACU, such negotiations are underway. And the worse the situation in Iran is, the greater the likelihood that these negotiations will take place.
– But, as we know, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently said that European countries (these are members of an agreement on an Iranian nuclear program) have only 60 days to hold talks with his country. If such negotiations do not take place, or their result does not suit Tehran, can the Iranian leadership refuse to fulfill the terms of the contract?
– Theoretically, of course, it is possible that Iran will give up some more points of the agreement. Because those points that he refused, are not cardinal and systemically important for this transaction.
Iran has even explained which items it can then give up – but not on the transaction itself, as it stresses, namely, on the fulfillment of some specific obligations of this transaction.
– But the Europeans do almost nothing to preserve obligations to Iran, although, it seems, they do not approve of Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement …
– As for the position of Europe, this position is quite complicated. On the one hand, European countries, of course, want to show some kind of independence. Washington’s pressure hurt their ego and in general undermines Europe’s prestige in the world.
But the closest economic ties between the European Union and the United States (the trade turnover between them totals over a trillion dollars) cannot be compared with the volume of trade with Iran, which is about 15-20 billion dollars.
Therefore, Europe wants, on the one hand, to save face. And, on the other hand, do not cause any economic, commercial war with the United States.
In general, I think that Tehran is more focused on dialogue.
To some extent, they hope that the 2020 elections in the United States may bring democrats to power, with whom Iran’s relations are much better, and then, perhaps, the priorities of the American policy regarding the Islamic Republic will be revised. And maybe Iran just wants to stretch time before that.
I must say, Iran has already evaluated the plans of the United States regarding the “120,000 troops”. In an interview with CNN, the permanent representative of the Islamic Republic at the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, called the message the “psychological warfare.”
According to him, Tehran is not trying to create a conflict in the region, because it believes that no one will benefit from such a conflict. The permanent representative also noted that only “some people in Washington and several countries in the region” can benefit.