Iran fills the Vacuum Created by Trump's Withdrawal

  

Category:  World News

Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  11 months ago  •  9 comments

By:   Con Coughlin

Iran fills the Vacuum Created by Trump's Withdrawal

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Iran fills the Vacuum Created by Trump's Withdrawal

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President Donald Trump has made no secret of his dislike of America's long-standing military involvement in the Middle East, which dates back decades, and which he claims has cost the American taxpayer a mind-blowing $8 trillion. Pictured: President Trump speaks about his decision to pull U.S troops out of northeastern Syria, as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Army Gen. Mark Milley, looks on, October 7, 2019. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The threat by a senior commander in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps this week "to flatten Tel Aviv" from Iranian-controlled bases in southern Lebanon provides arguably the most graphic example of the deepening dangers the region faces as a result of the Trump administration's decision to scale down its military presence.

With next year's presidential election contest now very much the primary focus of President Donald J. Trump's attention, many of America's long-standing allies in the Middle East are becoming increasingly concerned at the president's desire to improve his electoral prospects by scaling down America's military footprint.

Mr Trump has made no secret of his dislike of America's long-standing military involvement in the Middle East, which dates back decades, and which Mr Trump claims has cost the American taxpayer a mind-blowing $8 trillion. His attitude towards the region was best summed up by the remark he made in October following his unilateral decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria, when he   said : "Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand."

To this end, Mr Trump has hastened the withdrawal of American forces from Syria, and is actively seeking to reduce America's military presence elsewhere in the region, with troop withdrawals under active consideration in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet, as former US Vice President Dick Cheney warned earlier this week, the US withdrawal of troops from key areas of the Middle East is causing deep alarm among some of America's allies.

Speaking at a Gulf security forum earlier this week, Mr Cheney, 78, who served as Vice President in the Bush administration from 2001-09, warned that the US was in danger of departing from the "sound traditions" of American foreign policy, thereby playing into the hands of hostile states such as like Russia, Syria and Iran.

"Russia is always on standby to fill power voids," Mr Cheney   said   in a speech to the Arab Strategy Forum in Dubai. "That is how it happened that Russian troops swept in when the US left northern Syria. To sum up that still unfolding story: nobody will remember it as our finest hour," he said of Mr Trump's withdrawal decision.

Mr Cheney also had some tough words for Iran: "There are some deeply malign forces at work in the broader Middle East... disengagement is just another term for leaving all the power to them."

As if to vindicate the veracity of Mr Cheney's comments, Morteza Ghorbani, a senior advisor with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, issued a direct threat against Israel, warning the Jewish state that, "If Israel makes a mistake, even the smallest one, against Iran, we will flatten Tel Aviv into dirt from Lebanon."

It is a measure of the failure of the nuclear deal with Iran that former US President Barack Obama helped to negotiate in 2015 that Tehran used the brief easing of tensions with Washington to strengthen and consolidate its military presence in Arab countries such as Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.

Israeli intelligence officials estimate that Hezbollah, Iran's Shia militia in southern Lebanon, is now equipped with tens of thousands of Iranian-made medium-range missiles that can hit targets deep within Israel. Similar stockpiles are being built up in Syria, although the Israel Air Force has carried out a number of air raids aimed as disrupting Iran's attempts to build a new network of military bases along the Syrian border.

There are now serious concerns that Mr Trump's desire to reduce America's military presence in the Middle East will only encourage Iran to intensify its own activity, thereby increasing the threat to Israel and pro-Western Arab states.

The only resistance Iran is likely to encounter as it seeks to expand its hegemony in the region is from Arab governments that object to Iran using their countries in order to pursue its own goals.

Lebanon is a case in point: senior government officials have reacted angrily to Iranian threats to renew hostilities with Israel.

During the last confrontation involving Israel and Lebanon in 2006, more than 1,000 Lebanese, mostly civilians, were killed, as well as 121 Israeli soldiers and 46 civilians in Israel.

Lebanese ministers have no desire to repeat the experience, and the attitude of many in Lebanon was summed up by caretaker Lebanese defence minister Elia Bou Saab, who said Iran's latest threats against Israel were "unfortunate and unacceptable and infringed on the sovereignty of Lebanon."

The problem for small states such as Lebanon, though, is that they are no match for a regional superpower like Iran. And so long as the mullahs have the resources and weaponry to maintain their aggressive presence in the region, there is very little that small states like Lebanon can do to stop them.


Con Coughlin is the   Telegraph 's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor  


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Buzz of the Orient
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    11 months ago

Iran is a BIG concern.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
2  Jeremy Retired in NC    11 months ago

Whether we did it now or in 20 years.  The problem will always be there.  

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2    11 months ago

Not if America had taken the step of backing the Iranian protesters when it had the biggest opportunity to be successful doing it.  Now all America wants to do is wrongly interfere in China's domestic affairs when there is no way to be successful doing so.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
2.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    11 months ago
Not if America had taken the step

of staying the hell out of Syria.  

 
 
 
Ronin2
2.1.2  Ronin2  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1.1    11 months ago

Agreed. We had no damn business in Syria. Obama sending in troops under the guise of the war on terror was a joke. His only goal was to remove Assad from power. That ship sailed when Assad invited Russia, China, and Iran into his country.

With ISIS/ISIL no longer presenting a legitimate threat; there is no reason for the US to be there. The fact that we still have US troops "protecting" Syrian oil fields shows that Trump cannot stand up the military, intelligence agencies, and career State Department.

 
 
 
Ronin2
3  Ronin2    11 months ago

Some obvious flaws in the article.

1) The US has no troops in Southern Lebanon, nor we will be putting any there.  There is no reason to.

2) Since Trump sent troops to protect Saudi Arabian oil fields; is maintaining US troops in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan it is tacitly wrong that he is abandoning our "allies". With all the US tax dollar aid going to our "allies" in the ME to by US weapons; it is about damn time they took care of their own security.

3) If Israel is so damn worried about Iran in Southern Lebanon they have the military and the backing of the US in the UN to take them out at any time. Lebanon doesn't have a military to defend themselves. Israel doesn't want to pay the price for another engagement in Lebanon. Sorry, but the US isn't willing to pay it either.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
3.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ronin2 @3    11 months ago

Then it's necessary to make sure Iran is not able to develop a clear corridor from Iran to Lebanon, to make sure they do not keep supplying Hezbollah with more and more advanced weapons/missiles.

 
 
 
Kavika
3.2  Kavika   replied to  Ronin2 @3    11 months ago
1) The US has no troops in Southern Lebanon, nor we will be putting any there.  There is no reason to.

The Pentagon announced that US Special Forces were in Lebanon working with the Lebanese troops in 2017/18. 

3) If Israel is so damn worried about Iran in Southern Lebanon they have the military and the backing of the US in the UN to take them out at any time. Lebanon doesn't have a military to defend themselves. Israel doesn't want to pay the price for another engagement in Lebanon. Sorry, but the US isn't willing to pay it either.

Actually Lebanon does have an army as referred to in the first part of my comment above. The US is supporting the Lebanese army (LAF) with funds and has been for quite some time. This is to stop the Iranians from controlling Lebanon. $105 million was just released to the LAF. 

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
3.2.1  Larry Hampton  replied to  Kavika @3.2    11 months ago

yup. 
Worrisome though is Hezbollah. As an example...

Lebanon’s Hezbollah condemns Bahrain forum for hosting Israel

Yesterday Hezbollah denounced Bahrain over an interfaith event which it hosted earlier in the week, allowing Israeli participation. Claiming that such a move is part of Manama’s “conspiratorial” bid to normalise relations with Tel Aviv.

In a statement , Hezbollah announced that by hosting such events, the Al Khalifa ruling family disregarded Lebanese and Palestinian martyrs, who lost their lives in Israeli attacks over the years.

“Bahrain is being turned into an American and Israeli platform with the aim to gain access to the heart of the Arab and Islamic nation,” whilst using the event to cover up its “repression” against its own Bahraini people, Hezbollah stressed.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191212-lebanons-hezbollah-condemns-bahrain-forum-for-hosting-israel/

 
 
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