Perspectives

Iran’s Strength is the Primary Target of the Trump Team in the Middle East


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When the dust settles from U.S. troop withdrawals in Syria and Afghanistan and troop build-ups in Iraq, the primary target of American hostility in the Middle East is Iran, according to Dr. Ziad Abu-Rish, an expert in Middle East history, social movements, popular protests and U.S. Middle Eastern policy.
He says, that while other troops are coming home, some of President Donald Trump’s advisors are “openly calling for military action and more sanctions against Iran.”
Dr. Abu-Rish, the director of the Middle East and North Africa Studies certificate program at Ohio University, says that there definitely has been an “escalation of anti-Iranian rhetoric” by the Trump Administration and especially from National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Trump is even proposing more troops in Iraq to “keep an eye on” the activities of Iran, celebrating the 40th anniversary of its revolutionary government. There even has been talk by the Trump group of giving nuclear capabilities to Saudi Arabia as a protection against Iran.
Meanwhile, concerns are still present as Pres. Trump announces that the U.S. troops are coming home from Syria and Afghanistan.
Dr. Abu-Rish and other observers are concerned that the U.S. might just withdraw troops without negotiating any terms of withdrawal and leave allies like the Kurds abandoned to eventual conflicts with Turkey.
While withdrawing troops from the region is considered a positive by most foreign policy experts, it is not considered advisable to do so without negotiated settlements and negotiated terms. Dr. Abu-Rish says that even if the U.S. withdraws ground troops, U.S. bases will still remain in the region and U.S. will have open access to “ports of call.”
He also states that Trump’s statements about totally defeating ISIS are overblown and not realistic. Dr. Abu-Rish states that American bombing of alleged ISIS strongholds in Syria has cause grave “collateral damage” to civilians. It is out of this devastation that ISIS or its progeny might rise again.
Although American foreign policy in the Middle East sometimes seems ad hoc and haphazard, Dr. Abu-Rish says that one thing is certain. The Trump team has now targeted Iran to be the primary adversary in that region and American actions against Iran will continue to escalate.