A new Persian Gulf conflict has been unfolding since the year 2019, and it has reached new points of intensity as the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran continue to engage in hostilities. Since May 2019, American forces deployed in the Persian Gulf and across the Middle East have been operating in a heightened state of alert, and the same can be said about the Iranian military, particularly the elite Revolutionary Guards. Drones have been shut down, oil transport ships have been sabotaged, boarded, and seized, naval vessels have pointed their guns at each other, airstrikes have been launched on Iraqi soil, militia fighters have been killed, top military officials have been assassinated, and missiles have destroyed equipment and vehicles while trying to minimize American casualties.
If all the above sounds like reports from a war zone, it is because the conflict between the American and Iranian regimes has done more than turning the Persian Gulf into a flash point. In 2020, we can say that it is a powder keg that is just one offensive action away from becoming a declared war or a full-blown armed conflict. There are many concerning issues related to this breach of the peace that has proven so elusive in the Middle East, and one of this issues is that this conflict has a potential of ensnaring other political players in the region.
Since we are living in the 21st century, a time that we will one day sadly remember as the Age of Misinformation, there is a troubling amount of entropy surrounding the U.S. and Iran mess. A good starting point is President Donald Trump and his confounding statements, which seem to shift on a daily basis. Trump’s reasons for giving the green light to assassinate Major General Qasem Soleimani, a high-ranking commander of within the Revolutionary Guards, have changed since the drone strike took place in early 2020. The response by the Iranian military, which consisted of launching dozens of ballistic missiles at American military targets in Iraq, has also been shrouded in misinformation and vague reports from official sources. It took the Iranian regime a while to admit that its forces shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 during the missile strikes; the initial reports were mostly lies. Over in the U.S., President Trump continued to downplay the extent of the damage caused by the Iranian missile strikes, but international news organizations not only showed the damage but also reported injuries suffered by American military personnel.
The sentiment of the people in Iraq and Iran has also been misrepresented by their respective governments. The truth is that very large segments of the Iraqi and Iranian populations, not to mention the Americans on the other side of the world, are not happy with the way their leaders are handling the conflict. Amidst all this misinformation, we are fortunate to have geopolitical analysts such as Amir Handjani, member of the Truman National Security Project, who can provide views and explanations that cut down on the obfuscation being presented by both American and Iranian governments. Handjani’s pieces on the Iran – U.S. conflict often shine a light on financial motives, and following the money often is always a good bet in terms of finding out true motives.
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