"In Donald Trump’s first term there is a serious possibility of a military conflict, whether intentional or inadvertent, between the United States or Israel and Iran. What follows is how it could unfold, and how it might be avoided"
Step 1: ProvocationsYou can read the provocations at the link above- Cutting to the chase the author claims Iran will provoke the US into attacking. Why would Iran do that?
Wouldn't it make more sense that the US will claim Iran is being provocative?
Step 2: Sanctions
One of the fundamental disagreements about the nuclear agreement is whether it is permissible to further sanction Iran for non-nuclear behavior. Washington—including both Democrats and Republicans—says yes, while Tehran believes any additional sanctions constitute a violation
While the nuclear deal allowed for non-American companies and countries to resume commercial relations with Iran, U.S. sanctions largely remained in place.
Shortly after Flynn put Iran “on notice,” the Trump administration crossed Khamenei’s ostensible red line by imposing additional sanctions against 25 individuals and entities connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (who oversee Iran’s military activities and regional policies). Additional reports suggest the Trump administration may designate the entirety of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards—the country’s most powerful political and economic institution—as a terrorist organization.
While unilateral U.S. sanctions will not be sufficient to moderate Iranian behavior, they are likely to trigger an Iranian response, and a process of escalation.While the US provokes Iran?
Step 3: Escalation
Among the few articulated foreign-policy priorities of the Trump administration thus far has been a reset of relations with America’s traditional Middle East allies, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia. Embedded within this is a more confrontational approach toward Iran, which both Tel Aviv and Riyadh believe to be the region’s greatest source of instability. Trump’s national-security brain-trust—including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Flynn, and several of Flynn’s NSC deputies—share this assessment, and hold the Iranian Revolutionary Guards directly responsible for over a thousand U.S. military casualties in Iraq. During the Obama administration they felt restrained, and now they’re eager to show they can and will respond.The opportunities for confrontation are multifold
The opportunities for confrontation are multifold. The U.S. and Iran are on opposing sides of numerous regional military and political disputes, including in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Israel-Palestine, Bahrain, and most recently Afghanistan, where Iran has been accused of becoming “increasingly close” to the Taliban. Despite the U.S.’s overwhelming conventional military superiority over Iran, however, today’s Middle East wars are increasingly unconventional fights involving nonstate actors in weak or failing states where America has no strong allies, unclear interests, and no desire to beLet's think about one "non state actor" already engaged in attacking Iran, with US backing aplenty! The seeds of a destabilization planted nearly two years ago.
August 07/2015: P5+1 is a distraction. Early Seeds of Iranian destabilization cross the Turkish border
April 2016: Iran's Forgotten Kurds Step Up the Struggle- So The Media Promotion BeginsThe seeds of an Iranian destabilization are being sown-
May 05/2016: Kurds on the Attack in Iran- As Predicted ......
Recall all those US Military bases being set up in Northern Iraq?
The Atlantic continued....."Fishar News reported that one US air base would be built in Harir some 70 km north of Erbil, the KRG provincial capital. The base would be used to host American jet fighters and helicopters as well as military advisers.
Another military base will be established in Alton Kopri south of Erbil and will be used to store light weapons, while two other bases will be built in KRG-controlled areas in Mosul, the media outlet said.
A stunning surprise is that the US will be allowed to build the fifth military base in Halabja on the border with neighbouring Iran, according to the Fishar News report. Stunning because that's PKK turf! Stunning because the US will reprise it's support to the 'beleaguered kurds' yet again"
Step 4: Unraveling
Though politicians on both sides routinely denounce the nuclear deal, it remains unclear whether they would truly welcome the deal’s collapse. Neither the U.S. nor Iran will want to be blamed for unilaterally tearing up the agreement and potentially triggering a global crisis. A more likely scenario is one in which the deal gradually unravels, with each side blaming the other for its demise.
In an atmosphere of increased escalation, sanctions, and regional skirmishes, Iran’s hardliners will find ample pretexts to make good on their threat of reexamining their nuclear commitments. But rather than race toward a nuclear weapon, which would provoke a strong international reaction, Tehran is more likely to reduce cooperation with international inspectors and resume its nuclear activities—under the pretext of a civilian energy program—in a way that will accentuate fissures in the international coalition (known as the P5+1) that negotiated and enforces the nuclear deal.
I asked my Carnegie colleague Mark Hibbs—a renowned nuclear researcher—how, specifically, Tehran might go about this. “If Tehran aimed to divide the P5+1 and aggravate Israel and Western countries,” Hibbs told me, “it might do things not expressly forbidden by the JCPOA but that would not be in the spirit of the accord.What benefit would Iran gain from dividing the P5+1?
Accords have "spirits"? I don't think so. This agreement must have terms, like a contract, so it should come down to breaching the actual terms of the contract or not breaching the actual terms of the contract/accord? The spirit of the accord/contract is really a spin type of terminology
The US: Iran you broke the spirit of the accord!
Iran: We did not engage in any action expressly forbidden by the accord,
The US: No matter you broke the spirit of the deal- It's the spirit we're talkin' about
Iran: What the heck is the spirit of the accord! How is that even defined?
See the problem with the spirit of the accord? It means many things to many people. It's not clear or concise.
Step 5: Disunity
The JCPOA builds in dispute-resolution mechanisms in case either Iran or the P5+1 countries feel the other side is in non-compliance. But any such mechanism is ineffectual when two parties are seemingly coveting an escalation. (The US and Israel) And any U.S.-Iran escalation may break the unity of the U.S. and its partners.
Given the chaos and carnage in today’s Middle East, most major countries in the world (with the notable exception of the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia) see Iran as a stable regional power and a tactical ally against the more nefarious threat of radical Sunni jihadists like ISIS. Russia is working in unison with Iran in Syria, Chinese-Iranian trade is booming, and Europe cannot afford another unpredictable conflict that exacerbates regional unrest and creates more refugees.Clearly the US and Israel are unconcerned with ISIS, for what should be obvious reasons.
Saudi Arabia is a bit different, it's divided... and malleable because of that division
History has shown that Iran only responds to pressure when it is encircled with a united international front. Unilateral U.S. pressure, however significant, is insufficient if Tehran feels it has escape doors in Europe, Russia, and Asia.
Step 6: Conflict
A context in which Iran has resumed (or you are told they have) its nuclear activities and a divided P5+1 fails to meaningfully react creates a dilemma for both the United States and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu—who views Iran an “existential threat”—has a lower threshold than the United States for taking military action against Iran. While the Obama administration restrained Netanyahu, Trump has thus far indulged him. Though Netanyahu may not succeed in compelling Washington to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities—his first preference—he may succeed in getting Trump’s greenlight, and the requisite military hardware, for Israel to take military action.
What is the likelihood that Trump himself would authorize military action against Iran’s nuclear sites or military assets? One of Trump’s core beliefs, taught to him by his former lawyer Roy Cohn, is “When attacked, hit back harder.” While it remains to be seen how a philosophy born out of New York City real estate quarrels can be applied to complicated geopolitical disputes, throughout his campaign and his first weeks in office Trump’s decision making has been marked by impulsiveness more than restraint. How will he react if Iran continues to defy him despite his repeated taunts and tweets?
It's been reported that Elliot Abrams did not get the State Department job
Mr. Trump overruled his newly minted secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, and rejected the secretary’s choice for his deputy at the department, two people briefed on the decision said Friday.
Relevant relink: Trump's Presidency: A Dangerous DeceptionThe deputy’s job was denied for Elliott Abrams, a conservative who had served under President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush, deals a blow to Mr. Tillerson in his first week on the job. The rejection of Mr. Abrams leaves Mr. Tillerson without a sherpa to help guide the first-time government official around the State Department headquarters.