Teheran undoubtedly plays a destabilizing role in the region. But it is also possible that the US government is raising the threat of the country.
The briefing was scheduled for a long time. By video switching from Baghdad, the vice commander of the Operation Inherent Resolve, Briton Chris Ghika, journalists accredited to the Pentagon, report on the US-led military coalition's fight against IS IS militants in Iraq and Syria. But because of tensions between the US and Iran, he was of course asked about the threat of Shiite militia. For her, the US military has at least an aircraft carrier, a bomber squadron and a battery patriotAir defense systems relocated to the region. British Major General Ghika replied, "No, there is no heightened threat from Iran-backed forces in Iraq and Syria."
Incredulous questions followed and half a dozen times the same answer. Yes, there is a threat from Shiite militias, they are being watched, and the troops' own protection has been adjusted accordingly. But there is no heightened threat, and he is completely on the same page with the Americans. What they clearly see differently.
Because the speaker of the Central Command, the Regional Command of the US Forces responsible for the region, issued a concise and concise statement. Ghika's submissions "contradict identified credible threats to US intelligence agencies and allies regarding Iranian forces in the region." Therefore, the alert level of the troops had been raised to "high". On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered that non-mandatory diplomatic personnel be removed from the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil as soon as possible.
This raises the question as to whether Iran's hawks in Washington are threatening to impose a tough line until possible military strikes, such as Trump's security adviser John Bolton or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. His stance on the Islamic Republic had made it clear to Bolton before his return to the US government in April 2018 that Iran must be bombed to stop the nuclear program, he wrote in the New York Times, And as a paid speaker of the People's Mojahedin, a questionable group of the Iranian exile opposition, he called for regime change in Tehran.
The Americans have so far made little of what they publicly support, based on their warnings. The trigger was the discovery that Iran has brought ballistic missile containers aboard at least one dhow, as are called simple wooden sailing ships common in the Gulf. There are several Shiite militias in Iraq that are de facto controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. According to a preliminary assessment, Iran is also burdening attacks on four oil tankers off the Emirate oil port of Fujairah. In addition, the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen complains about the drone attack on a pipeline in Saudi Arabia.
The US allegations have plausibility, nothing more
It is also undisputed among European diplomats that Iran plays a destabilizing role in the region. In Syria, in Lebanon, with the support of Hezbollah and militant Palestinian groups threatening Israel, in Iraq, in Yemen, with its missile program. Against this background, the accusations of the Americans are not without plausibility – but no more. The Houthis have been shooting missiles at civilian targets in Saudi Arabia for years. However, independent experts, as well as European diplomats and intelligence officials, disagree with the rhetoric commonly held in Riyadh and Washington that Houthis are controlled and controlled by Iran, as Hezbollah is.
Almost simultaneous sabotage attacks on four tankers in the well-secured waters off Fujairah require military planning and would fit into the Modus Operandi of Revolutionary Guard special forces. Custody mines intended to have a deterrent effect without directly discriminating against Iran.
However, as Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif says, they could also be an attempt to provoke a conflict. He had "predicted this kind of activity aimed at escalating tension in the region" and suspected "Team B": Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Security Advisor Bolton.
Up to 120,000 US soldiers could be transferred to the region
According to US media, the Pentagon has submitted updated plans for military strikes last week. Should Iran attack US troops in the region or restart its nuclear program to reduce the time it takes to build a bomb to well below one year, as many as 120,000 US troops could be deployed to the region. The US troop presence is still at a level not higher than in previous years. But with that, the US could make limited attacks on targets in Iran, such as sea-based cruise missiles.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has placated on state television that there will be no war with the Americans because they know this is not in their interests. Iran, however, will continue the "path of resistance" against the US. He seems to see a nervous war in the threatening backdrop of Washington, not one who is fought with weapons.
. (tagsToTranslate) Middle East (t) Politics Iraq (t) Politics Iran (t) Politics USA (t) Politics (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung (t) SZ