Quantcast
Connect with us

Trump may have already sparked a wildfire in the Middle East

Published

on

Thanks for your support!
This article was paid for by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

Terry H. Schwadron
Terry H. Schwadron

It’s much more than a massive escalation of war tensions in the Middle East that Donald Trump achieved in ordering the single rocket attack that killed Qassim Suleimani.

By killing the top Iranian military commander and hated foe, intentionally or not, Trump managed in his single swath of a sword to set an already uneasy world on edge.

Just as we were suddenly supposedly withdrawing all U.S. troops from the region, we’re sending thousands more.

ADVERTISEMENT

Everywhere we look, the fundamental questions seemed widespread and the same: While taking out Suleimani has been a longtime goal, are Americans, in fact, safer today?

Is there a strategy here? Or did Trump just act without thinking through the effects? Does this move us any closer to a renegotiation to end Iran’s nuclear weapons development?

Consider these other effects from the same strike:

  • Retaliation. Iran is promising to strike back, of course, and targets range from American servicemen; isolated bases in Iraq; ships in the Persian Gulf; embassies or even U.S.-based targets; U.S.-owned hotels or targets in Europe, Israel, Saudi Arabia or others, including targets of cyberattacks. Of course, Trump took the action without informing or preparing these allies, each of whom is undergoing internal political unrest, just as Trump himself is dealing with impeachment.
  • Reasoning. The U.S. justifications for the attack switched during the day from stopping prospective attacks on American troops in Iraq to payback for past aggressions against U.S. troops. The president just issued tweets that eluded understanding, though was said to be waiting for a campaign rally last night to talk about it. Heading off prospective attacks is a legally recognized international justification for such an attack, whereas punishment is not. Public opinion is something else.
  • Iraq. By killing an Iranian leader on Iraqi soil without the knowledge of the Iraqi government, it is practically an invitation to the Iraq legislature to order the United States to withdraw remaining U.S. troops from the country. Indeed, that was already a possibility from the earlier attacks on an Iranian-leaning militia earlier in the week.
  • Nuclear agreement? With European allies cut off from U.S. thinking and Iran now busily planning retaliation, it is impossible to see the Trump plan of extreme sanctions bringing about a new agreement to swear off nuclear weapons development – and to back off its longtime deployment of proxy militias throughout the Middle East.
  • Congress. Trump further ruptured relations with Congress by not briefing anyone about the pending attack. Naturally, the public reaction was almost totally partisan, with Democrats pointing out that the move may lead to spiraling conflict, even terming the attack “reckless,” and Republicans lining up behind perceived toughness from the White House and saying killing the Iranian military leader was long overdue. Previous administrations had decided against moving against Suleimani because reactions directed by Iran would be widespread.
  • Oil prices. They zoomed up overnight. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who said he was briefed while with Trump in Florida this week, was promoting bombing Iranian refineries, as if that will help.
  • Are we targets? Sitting in New York City, it seems totally reasonable to think we will be a target. Major cities immediately started deploying more police to possible soft targets though most commentators readily acknowledged that they have no idea where and how Iran will respond.
  •  No strategy. All sources seemed to raise questions about whether we have tactics but no strategy in play here, though Fox News was considerably more supportive of the decision to assassinate a foreign leader. The comments from former NATO commander James Stavridis was typical: “Tactically, I’m glad he’s gone. Strategically, however, we are pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire with no structure or strategy for where we’re going to take this thing next…”
  • Donald Trump. At the center of all the questions was worry, spoken or not, about an impulsive Trump himself – about his ability to hear and process advice from intelligence sources, about the ability of his administration to provide substantial enough diplomacy to set and follow a strategy, about his ability to communicate a unifying message when he acts as a singular representative for foreign policy decision-making. Twitter was filled with opinions that a president under pressure of impeachment was making a “Wag the Dog” kind of move to cover his own problems. Indeed, the idea that we can’t impeach a president as we face international conflict found some social media support.

It’s a lot to happen simultaneously.

This attack does not come without context. The Saudis are making war against Yemenis, in a proxy war against Iran for dominance in the region. Turkey is playing hardball with its military, sending troops across the border into Syria, and now into Libya, where there is another proxy war going on. Syria is a total mess, with millions of civilians left adrift in a refugee crisis. Israel, America’s partner, is undergoing a political and constitutional crisis of its own. And North Korea is threatening the resumption of nuclear weapons development of its own.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is a dangerous time, requiring good thinking for complicated matters.

It is not a time for slogans or tweets of American flags.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Woman allegedly involved in Central Park scandal placed on leave from job: ‘We do not condone racism’

Published

on

Video circulated on social media on Memorial Day of a woman in Central Park claiming she was calling 911 to falsely claim an "African-American man" was threatening her life.

It reportedly started after he filmed her walking her dog without a leash.

https://twitter.com/melodyMcooper/status/1264965252866641920

Internet sleuths worked to identify the woman. During the day on Monday, rumors of her identity spread online.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Scientists fight online coronavirus misinformation war

Published

on

With cat photos and sometimes scathing irony, Mathieu Rebeaud, a Swiss-based researcher in biochemistry, has nearly tripled his Twitter following since the coronavirus pandemic began.

With 14,000 followers, he posts almost daily, giving explanations on the latest scientific research and, in particular, aims to fight misinformation that spreads as fast as the virus itself.

He is among a growing number of doctors, academics and institutions who in recent weeks have adapted and amplified their scientific messaging in hopes of countering what has been termed an infodemic -- a deluge of information, including widespread false claims, which experts say can pose a serious threat to public health.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Ted Cruz doesn’t want people shamed with body bags for going to beach: ‘Please stop the hate’

Published

on

In early May, Florida attorney Daniel Uhlfelder made news by dressing up as the Grim Reaper in an attempt to scare people from crowding beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Days later, he escalated by laying out body bags on the steps of the Florida capitol building in Tallahassee.

He escalated further on Saturday by announcing he would be handing out body bags to Florida beachgoers and started a fundraiser with the funds going to two progressive Political Action Committees.

https://twitter.com/DWUhlfelderLaw/status/1264412394794647552

The effort caught the eye of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image