Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the aerospace division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is shown on June 21 viewing what is said to be debris from a downed US drone. (Meghdad Madadi/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran and the Looming Threat of War

Al-Etihad, UAE, June 22

The average observer of international affairs will almost certainly claim that we are closer than ever to war with Iran. Why is this the most prevalent prediction? In short, because Iran is determined not only to undermine regional security through its ballistic missile and unmanned aircraft programs, but also because it seeks to damage the world’s energy markets by blocking international waterways in the Arab Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Tehran’s plan is to use the Revolutionary Guard Corps to target US vessels in the Arab Gulf, while their agents in Yemen — the Houthis — threaten Egypt and Sudan with missiles. Iran, on its end, continues to believe that Trump will lose his 2020 election campaign and find himself out of the White House. They are forgetting, however, that there is a large chance that Trump will win a second term and come back to punish Iran for its provocations. Now, Iran, through both its statements and its actions, intends to increasingly extend its control over the waters of the Arab Gulf. It will again try to attack the international maritime and commercial vessels in international waters. There are many signs pointing out to a rapid escalation on the ground, suggesting that if Iran continues to pursue its hostile actions, it will be confronted by a resolute American response. The new US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, a four-star general and military expert, recently declared that the United States will not wait for Iran to carry out an attack before it retaliates. Instead, it will strike Iran rapidly and firmly in pinpointed preemptive operations. It is very likely that over the course of the next few weeks we are going to relive the notable American strike on the Iranian fleet in April 1988, which took place after an Iranian mine blew up the USS Samuel Roberts in the Arab Gulf. It is almost certain that such a thing may happen soon, especially given President Trump’s short temper. If Iran chooses to further escalate the situation, it is likely to do so throughout the entire region: in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. But the United States, while talking about avoiding war, is preparing for a military confrontation with Iran. It is deploying more and more forces to the region and drawing plans for an attack. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani might be saying that his country is not interested in war, but we are all too familiar with Iranian hypocrisy to know that this is a lie. Iran is unable to read the political map and learn from its past mistakes and it will pay for its arrogance dearly. – Amil Ameen (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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