Teetering on the Brink of War?

A series of recent events has brought the USA and Iran to the brink of war this week. Those events started more than a month ago:

One of the oil tankers attackedStricken oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz (photo EPA)

Following the shooting down of the American drone, Donald Trump is reported to have stepped back from military retaliation against Iran shortly before strikes were launched. Instead he sent a message to Iran via Oman that he is against war and wants talks on a range of issues.

Later yesterday the American President tweeted that the US military were “cocked and loaded,” but he called off the retaliation just 10 minutes before due, because it would have been disproportionate, causing around 150 deaths.

The Iranians responded to this by claiming that, when they shot down the drone, they could have shot down an American plane carrying 35 personnel, but chose not do so. Thus, currently there are some attempts to claim the moral high ground in this dispute.

Behind the posturing

Earlier today John Bolton landed in Israel ready for an unprecedented trilateral meeting in Jerusalem of top security officials from the USA, Russia and Israel; amid reports of Israeli concern about getting caught in middle of a war and being asked to ‘stay out of it’ so as not to complicate matters!

Some analysts think that the Iranians are lashing out because they’re desperate and angry as a result of the sanctions placed upon them by the Americans. But doing something bigger, such as closing the Strait of Hormuz, is unlikely as it would probably backfire on Iran, uniting the world against them.

On the other side of the dispute, it is important to understand the determination of the American government, because this issue is not restricted to the Middle East. Iranian-backed terrorist organisation Hezbollah has extended its influence into the United States itself.

Last month a New York man was convicted of helping to prepare attacks in the city. And a captured ISIS fighter has recently revealed details of a plot for jihadists to enter the USA through the southern border with Mexico to carry out an attack.

Thus part of the context of the increasing tension is one of numerous cases of terrorism-financing, money-laundering and drug-trafficking involving terrorist organisations working on an international scale.