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America on the Back-Foot in a War in the Middle East

Updated on January 10, 2020
emge profile image

An air warrior, MG has a checkered and also wields the pen forcefully with two novels and over 100 short stories

Background

It only appears like yesterday, when the American President George Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq. This led to the hanging of Saddam Hussein. This has been the turning point in Middle East history. George Bush opened Pandora's box. As per legend a fairy remained behind in the box and was allowed to come out later. In the present scenario, even that small spark of the fairy representing hope is not there.

War clouds have gathered over the Middle East and the next conflagration if at all takes place might well be very bad for the American state and more so for the allies in the region.

The chain of events started when Saddam Hussein was removed. It must be acknowledged and Donald Trump himself during his election campaign has said that Saddam knew how to deal with ISIS and Al Qaeda. He was against extremism and hanged scores of terrorists in Baghdad. We must also understand that there is an inherent conflict between two major sects of Islam which are the Shia and the Sunni.

Saddam Hussein was a Sunni while the majority of the Iraqi population is Shia. Iran is also a Shia state. When Saddam was overthrown power passed into ends of the Shia majority in Iraq. This was the opening that Iran was looking forward to. It got an entry into Iraq and that is the reason that almost 5000 Iranian troops are present in Iraq under the command of general Suleymani- the man assassinated in a US drone attack close to Baghdad airport.

The United States continued its presence in Iraq and it can only be said that it remains an uninvited guest of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi parliament has now passed a resolution asking for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. One wonders if this was the aim of President Bush. The result is, that sooner than later that America will have to withdraw from Iraq.

Iran has now launched a missile attack against US bases in Iraq. It is claimed there are no casualties but that is circumventing the point that Iran has shown its belligerence and lack of respect for America. The world expected America to react but President Donald Trump in his recent press conference surrounded by four-star generals just said that Iran has toned down its reaction. What this means is only known to the President. To the world, it means that Iran has been let off the hook because the Americans have no option at all.

The fact is America degraded it's options when it removed Saddam Hussein. Saddam was an enemy of Iran and he had led Iraq in a war with Iran which lasted many years. With his removal, a strong opponent of Iran has ceased to exist.




Lighting the Tinder Box

The assassination of general Sulaimani has made America extremely vulnerable. Iran is a very belligerent nation and it has a clearly formulated policy. It wants to be the regional leader in the area. It would like to take the leadership away from Saudi Arabia which is a Sunni nation and the custodian of the holiest shrines of Islam. It has got an opening, a big one in Iraq. Iran also is close to Turkey as well as Russia and China. who follow the dictum; enemies-enemy, is my friend.

Iran militarily is not a match to the United States but it has a potent missile arsenal of medium and short-range missiles that can strike targets in the vicinity. The Iranian have threatened that in case the Americans launch an attack on them they will hit the American allies with missiles and guided rockets and bring about great destruction. They have pinpointed the American allies as Saudi Arabia and the UAE with Dubai and Israel.

In such a scenario the Americans despite all their military power have one hand tied behind their back. They may very well launch an attack on Iran and degrade the military capability of the country but the repercussions of the Irani missile attack on places like Dubai which is the El Dorado of the east and the oil centers of Saudi Arabia as well as the Israeli port of Haifa will be nothing but a disaster. If such an attack does take place these countries will be put behind by almost 2 decades. Obviously none of the rulers of this country can bargain for such a line of action.

Iran knows the weakness of the United States and therefore is continuing on its path. It is active in Syria and Yemen as well and there does not seem to be any fear of America at all. America has already become a persona non-grata in Iraq.

if America were to withdraw from Iraq the field would be open to Iran to dominate the entire region. In a way, it is already holding states like the UAE to ransom because there does not seem to be any defence against Irani missiles which can reach their targets in a few minutes.

Donald Trump has not created this situation. This was created by the earlier presidents from the time of Ronald Regan. For some reason, the Americans attacked Saddam Hussein and Libya and removed Muammar Gaddafimore but against Iran, they have dithered. One can recollect that in 1979 the Irani revolutionary guards had taken over 100 American diplomatic personnel as prisoners after storming the embassy in Tehran. All America did at that time was to pay a large sum of money as ransom and get the men held in custody of Iran released.

Finale

The president of the United States is sitting on the horns of a dilemma. He is perhaps dogged by Hamlet's famous soliloquy in Shakespeare's play, " to be or not to be." Its a real catch- 22 states situation and for this, we cannot hold President Trump responsible. It is the culmination of wrong decisions by at least four presidents before him. The President now holds the baby with no water. At some stage, the Americans will have to bite the bullet. If they do not do it they will have to cede the leadership of the Middle East to Iran.

This may well commence if America is forced to withdraw from Iraq. It will open the floodgates to Iran and domination in the region and it could well mean that Iran will hold the Middle East to ransom. The lopsided policies followed by the previous presidents of being selective in who can have nuclear weapons and who cannot have nuclear weapons and indecision in major matters right from the time of President Johnson who allowed China and later Pakistan to become nuclear has led to the present situation.

History records that there is a gradual erosion of empires. I do not know whether the American empire has started to crumble. All said and done Donald Trump is just not the great man to stop the downslide. One will have to see how the events pan out in the days to come

Comments

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Robert

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      15 months ago

      You're welcome. Keep up these analysis articles. Good perspective.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      15 months ago

      Maybe the question isn't why things are bad but why aren't they much worse,

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Robert, I agree with you. Americans are not really interested in what is happening in the far corner of the world. The local issue will always override everything. I guess there is no choice. This is one of the reasons Pakistan became nuclear and one can't forget Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said it was the" Islamic bomb."

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      15 months ago

      The problem America has always had is its lack of interest in the outside world. That may seem counterintuitive since the U.S. seems to be involved all over the world. Americans are far more interested in domestic matters so a candidate who is a visionary in foreign affairs can easily be beaten by a candidate who shows more interest in domestic matters.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Yes, Robert, I hope ONE American president comes who is a visionary and saves the world. I say this because Chamberlain sold out to Hitler and we know what happened.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      15 months ago

      You're welcome. The situation bears watching.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Robert for commenting

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      15 months ago

      A good analysis of the situation. America has similar difficult situiatons in other parts of the world. The Middle East is the most noticable because it has more shooting and bombings. A missile attack against Israel would seem more of a risk than Iran would want to take. Israelies seem annoyed that their government let them suffer missile strikes from Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. It seems they wouldn't passively let Iran fire missiles at Haifa.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Mona, for sparing time and commenting

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      15 months ago from Philippines

      What a very interesting article this is. I like how you looked into the historical event that led to the current state of affairs in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Plus their allies Turkey, Russia and China. Your analysis has whetted my interest in reading about all of these countries. There is so much to learn about what needs to be known.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      I agree, Leslie, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Let's see what happens to Trump in 2020

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Ruby. It's a pleasure that you commented

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      15 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Yes Ruby, and you are right that these are scary times. Very scary, because unchecked power never leads to any good.

      And people who know trump, say he will take revenge in a brutal way.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      15 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Leslie, I see you and I are on the same page. People are blind if they can't see the greedy Trump's actions.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Ruby for sparing time and commenting

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      15 months ago from Southern Illinois

      These are scary times for the world. Your knowledge concerning the region is alarming, and we have a president who would sell his soul to the devil for money. I do believe mistakes were made in the past. War has never been proven to solve anything. Great article....

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Nick, that's what makes history so interesting.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Dear Pamela, you are 100% correct, but Iran cannot be caged. Somebody has to bell the cat and I wonder who is going to do it. Obama was perhaps one of the worst presidents of the USA. Sometimes I wonder whether he had an axe to grind. Trump has inherited the problem and its not his creation but all said and done America could do with a more decisive leader.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you for commenting. Hillary's case was tragic as she lost despite winning the popular vote.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      15 months ago from Sunny Florida

      After the Iranian induced attack on the US embassy Soleimani was back in Iraq to further attacks and he was a bad man. I think Trump was trying to stop Iran and he sure got their attention. Trump is in a bad position for sure. I wish the US had never got into the middle east.

      Many presidents have done things they probably shouldn't have. Obama gave Iran billions that did not go to help their people but just to build up their arsenal. He led airstrikes against Libya and terrorists in Yemen. He also killed Ahmed Godone in Somalia. I can't think of a president that hasn't done something he probably shouldn't have done. What happened in Bengazi was one of his and Hillary's worst failures. I can't imagine our country with her as president as she was so dishonest with her emails and smashing her computer with a hammer.

      You have written about some of the poor leadership in India, and I suppose every country has something they wish they had done differently.

      Today is a complicated issue. I hope Iran just stops and leaves ships alone in the Strait of Hormuz too. They have been bad actors for a long time.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      15 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Yes, and we will be on the wrong side of it, thanks to Trump.

    • Nick Bishop profile image

      Nick Bishop 

      15 months ago

      Whatever happens, whatever we think, history one way or the other will have its way.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you for your detailed comment. Americans must introspect about Trump and Bush. Will they vote Trump back to power? If so, America may slip from its pedestal.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Nick for sparing time and commenting. I agree that Iran is like a bull in a china shop. I also agree about Saudi Arabia and Israel but I wonder who will stop all this. War is on the horizon and I am sure it will take place otherwise who will history decide who rules the Middle East?

    • Nick Bishop profile image

      Nick Bishop 

      15 months ago

      Iran and America are playing the same game. Trying to dominate the Middle East as are other powers.

      If a war breaks out then ordinary people will be the losers not the governments.

      Iran is not the nicest of regimes in the Middle East, but neither is Saudi Arabia or any Arab country. Israel may be a democracy, but its treatment of the Palestinians is a running sore.

      The last thing this region needs is another war.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      15 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Well, I must disagree. It appears Trump acted on his own to kill a revered general, and we are once again, the murdering Americans.

      Furthermore, I do not believe Trump is acting in America’s interest, but that of Trump Inc., and cannot for the life of me see why no one stops him!

      Ivanka has business dealings with the Iran Revolutionary Guard. Why kill a biz pal?

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/...

      Also, there is this:

      https://themindshield.com/trump-may-have-ordered-t...

      It’s self interest, not American interest. As Pelosi said:

      “Solemanie was a bad man....but this is not about how bad he is, but how good we are”

      No, democrats aren’t in love with terrorists, as the trump cult likes to portray. We are in love with American principles. You don’t kill someone in our name, for your own gain!

      And, yes, I think Bushco should have been investigated. I don’t know why we “moved forward” without doing it.......the same people are back now!

      We are in the grip of organized crime. Period.

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