Sunday, 25 March 2018

The Summer of 2018: The Approach of War with Iran

Trump's decision to appoint John Bolton as NSA was the decisive action tilting both the US and the Middle East towards an all out major war that could even escalate into World War Three and the destruction of civilisation itself. All would depend on whether Russia and the US would be able to maintain 'deconfliction' over Syria.

What's almost certain is that Bolton's ascendancy gives the green light for Israel to launch what it would regard as a 'defensive' or 'preemptive' war against both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian backed forces in Syria. Since February's clash, the rhetoric has increased with Israel promising what's been termed 'May Madness'.
David Gardner of the FT wrote a few days ago of the terrifying slide towards war, even before Bolton was confirmed in his post,
'War clouds are gathering again over the Middle East. Since last month’s flare up between Israel and Iran in the crowded airspace over Syria, the stars are moving into ominous alignment. After seven years of civil war, Syria’s battleground still sucks in foreign powers, pitting Nato allies US and Turkey against each other or the US against Russia. But these are mere sparks, struck mostly off proxies, compared to what might, if mismanaged or miscalculated, turn into a new region-wide war. The backdrop is threatening. President Donald Trump’s erratic administration in the US, Saudi Arabia under its impulsive young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (known as MbS), and Israel — where veteran prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clinging on at the head of an ultra-nationalist coalition in the face of serial corruption probes.'
The stars are now firmly in alignment with Bolton's rise because of two interrelated developments. The first is that the end of IS has meant a vacuum of power was filled by Iranian backed forces which have served their purpose as far as the US is concerned. The second is the intensification of the Saudi-Iran proxy war.
Bolton's hardline towards Tehran has not changed since 1979. For him its way past time for a war of regime change to roll back and destroy what he regards as the one root cause of terror and tyranny in the region-the mullah's theocratic regime in Tehran. The fact Iran was necessary to keep IS in check is not a reality for Bolton.

As Bolton claimed in January  2018,
“America’s declared policy should be ending Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution before its 40th anniversary. Arab states would remain silent, but they would welcome this approach and might even help finance it…. Recognizing a new Iranian regime in 2019 would reverse the shame of once seeing our diplomats held hostage for 444 days. The former hostages can cut the ribbon to open the new U.S. Embassy in Tehran.”
Despite windbag commentary downplaying Bolton's importance, Trump hired him as part of a war cabinet geared towards ditching Obama's 2015 nuclear deal .Trump hates it as he wants to pose as the strong leader as against Obama: Bolton wants rid of it as part of continuing his determination to destroy the Axis of Evil.
Whereas Trump wants to end the nuclear deal as part of a posture, his new team want rid as they seek a war of regime change and blame Iran exclusively for the reason the Iraq war did not succeed as it ought to have: war is part of the unfinished business of remodeling the region through America's hegemonic strength.
This means a forthright alignment with Saudi Arabia and possibly supply of lethal arms to Sunni jihadists if and where necessary, with all the blowback potential for Europe that would entail, as well as an all our regional war in which Israel starts a war with Iran that brings in the US once the nuclear deal is ended.

Enter Britain ? 
Should Israel claim it is under attack and engaged in a war with Iran along with the Saudis, this would necessarily raise the 1914 question as regards Britain, then Europe, in 2018, the Middle East: to stay out or align 'shoulder to shoulder' with the US. Despite Johnson supporting the nuclear deal, he could flip flop.
The reason would be that once the nuclear deal was terminated anyway, the Tory government could feel obliged to defend both Israel and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States from 'Iranian aggression'. The post-Brexit importance of both lucrative arms deals, its role as 'Global Player' and Special Relationship would be at stake.
Apart from the primacy of these foreign policy interests, Britain is beset by internal conflict, as before 1914. Corbyn is openly challenging the establishment over the unpopular Saudi alliance and its funding of jihadi terrorism and the domestic blowback caused by the foreign policy. It's increasingly lacking public support.
Set against this background, should a war break out with Iran or threaten to throughout the summer of 2018, May's government will start ratcheting up the 'Corbyn as traitor' and 'ally of Hezbollah and Iran' propaganda. Domestic security will be portrayed as endangered by Corbyn so as to bolster May as 'New Iron Lady'.
And then Britain will join.

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