US Defence Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has jumped into the Iran fray.
Here is what he said:
“As far as Iran goes, this is the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world… I think it is wise to make certain that Iran recognizes that what it is doing is getting the attention of a lot of people.
It does no good to ignore it. It does no good to dismiss it and at the same time, I don’t see any need to increase the number of forces we have in the Middle East at this time… We always have the capability to do so but right now I don’t think it’s necessary”.
This statement from Mattis is the clearest indication yet of the Trump administration’s plans for Iran. They are clearly painting Iran as something it isn’t, an exporter of terrorism.
It is true that during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, Iran sent Islamist agents to both Bosnia and Kosovo, but it is also true that the Saudi presence in both places was far bigger and more impactful.
Iranian-controlled and funded militias have been operating with impunity in southern Iraq since 2003, but this is very different than the kind of radical jihadism that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have exported throughout the world from Iraq and Syria, to Libya and Nigeria.
That being said, the key part of Mad Dog’s statement was when he said that there is no need to increase the number of US troops in the Middle East.
The implication here is that America’s war with Iran will be what it has been for years, a proxy war in Iraq between pro-Iranian Shi’a militias, Wahhabis terrorists funded by a combination of Gulf and US money, Turkish forces and to some extent Kurdish forces, although the Kurdish goal is generally limited to fighting both ISIS and Turkey simultaneously.
Iraq has all but ceased to be a nation because of the divisive techniques employed in Iraq after 2003 which saw Iran play its part to divide the nation whose unity during the yeas of Ba’athist rule (1963, 1968-2003) was accomplished with a great deal of effort on the part of both Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein.
One could summarize 2014’s US policy as: Let’s have a meaningless rapprochement with Iran and make war on Russia. The phrase of the day in 2017 is: Let’s have a meaningless rapprochement with Russia and make war on Iran.
Trump seems genuinely disinterested in a confrontation with Russia of any kind. By accusing anti-Russian war hawks Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain of wanting to start the third world war, plus the minor relations of sanctions on the FSB, Trump clearly wants the ‘Russia issue’ that Obama started, to go away.
This is all the more reason that arguments about Russia’s hesitation to go into Donbass to aid the freedom fighters, due to fear of a world war with NATO are increasingly meaningless arguments. I do not believe for a moment that NATO has any collective will to aid the fascist regime in Kiev in any significant way.
The fact that his UN envoy Nikki Haley read a speech about Crimea straight from the lips of Samantha Power, is, if anything, a sign of disorganisation and incompetence in the ranks, rather than a reflection of Trump’s feelings.
Trump’s Twitter is increasingly a window to his mind. Here there has only been positive rhetoric on Russia and criticism of anti-Russian forces in Washington. However, there have been myriad criticisms of Iran.
Trump has swapped Obama’s Russian boogie man for Iran. However, as Secretary Mattis indicated, the theatre of war against Iran will likely be limited to Iraq, as it has been for over a decade.