SEPTEMBER 15, 2018


There is diplomatic apprehension that increasing internal pressure on U.S. President Donald Trump may prompt a diversion to an external war. Question is where?

Former targets like North Korea do not seem likely at the moment, nor would a clash with Russia on Crimea, despite sanctions and rhetoric.

Regrettably, the Middle East seems to be a potential target, though its unintended consequences may be disastrous to all. The oil-rich Gulf may seem supportive of such military intervention, could be a major loser, particularly the oil passages like 'Bab Al Mandeb', which could be blocked by the Houthis or by the Iranian Naval vessels.

Irani leadership, despite military claims, are too cautious and vulnerable to initiate military action. A deal is always a preferred option. Unless cornered. Then they would have their own proxies to launch military moves before directly getting involved.

Despite a potential U.S. presidential interest in a war of diversion, military chiefs like Defense General Mattis, National Secretary Advisor John Bolton, and Chief of Staff General John Kelly are adequately experienced in war operations to realize its risk and to opt for a peaceful arrangement. They have a historic, even personal, adversity with Iran's actions since the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut. However, they would approach the challenge more effectively and carefully.

There are vulnerable U.S. soldiers near the oil fields of Rakka and also in Iraq, where Iran also has an obvious presence while the designated Prime Minister is officially supportive of American policy, but not risky ventures.

Decisions by airlines like Air France, British Airways and others to stop flying to Tehran airport to avoid U.S. sanctions was interpreted by conspiracy theorists to indicate an advanced knowledge of a potential attack. So was the exit to safety of the "White Helmets" out of Syria, which have been linked to influential outside powers.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would certainly welcome a U.S. attack, and possibly aid it, but senior Israeli intelligence officials are advising more caution. Hope remains on the side of peace. It is always tragic when politicians tend to adjust their calculations to save their career while tragically it is ordinary people who pay the price.