Mysteriously sabotaged Norwegian and Saudi tankers in the Persian Gulf; U.S. State Department order for all non-essential embassy personnel to leave Iraq post-haste; an American carrier group becomes a message — or makes a statement; sanctions — and induced hardships felt in Iran — make statements too; and Iran engages in nuclear blackmail to shore up its damaged economy: while the prospects for conventional war between the Iran and the United States appear “iffy” — not likely — to some experts, the broad spectrum of war x deceit x disinformation x proxy would seem undeniably dangerous and ongoing.
While states of affairs involving Ukraine, Russia, Syria, and Turkey appear same-old same old — at least as settled as yesterday and the day before as well as week, month, and year past — events involving the U.S. relationship with Iran appear “forward” or moving toward some change in what has festered for years with Tehran’s bankrolling and arming of Hezbollah, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and its bellicose and continuous threatening of Israel and the west. While “east-west” parties deny the wanting of war, conditions appear moved toward error (by way of accident, itch, or misperception) in that regard.
BackChannels compiled and read through the following this morning (retention: minimal; impression, however: pretty good) and most highly recommends for those seeking insight in background the two articles bolded), one by former FBI agent and terrorism expert Ali Soufan, the other by veteran journalist Ariana Tabatabai.
Also, at the bottom of his post is a video posted yesterday by Sky News featuring an interview with Iranian ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad. In it, the diplomat notes that while Washington has abandoned the “nuclear deal”, Iran has kept up its part in light of European adhesion and may expect from the same the benefits promised for its good behavior on that issue.
Despite its ongoing economic woes, today’s Iran has fashioned itself into one of the premier military and diplomatic powers in the Middle East—and Saudi Arabia’s principal rival for hegemony over the entire region. It has achieved this with a mix of policies—among them, deft diplomatic maneuvering; a tactical alliance with Vladimir Putin’s Russia; and the provision of arms, advice, and cash to Shi`a militias across a variety of countries. In the latter case, Iran has pioneered a seemingly unique strategy that combines insurgent and state power in a potent admixture—a strategy that is evident today in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.