16.05.2018 Author: Yuriy Zinin

Trump’s Decision to Turn his Back on the Iran Deal Left the Middle East in a State of Shock


The better part of the Middle Eastern media sources have been left in a state of shock by the announcement that Donald Trump is going to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal that was signed due to the extensive efforts invested by a total of six international mediators.

Even though Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain would officially support this latest Washington’s move, the three remaining Gulf states preferred to take a neutral stance on the issue.

As for other Arab countries, they are deeply disturbed by Trump’s determination to scrap the Iran deal. For instance, Iraq’s president Fuad Masum described this step as alarming, adding that it won’t in any way assist peaceful developments across the region, let alone the rest of the world.

Qatari TV station Al-Jazeera describes the reasoning behind this latest Trump’s decision as a fatal flaw in Washington’s political rationale, since Western policymakers tend to fix their attention on a specific enemy or a threat that could come in a form of communism, Arab nationalism or militant jihadism. Now, when all of these threats are left behind, the White House chose Iran to become its next bogeyman. At this point it’s clear that Trump isn’t going to allow any cuts to be made in the US military budget, as the media source argues, so he keeps advertising the wavering military and economic superiority of America across the globe, which means that US military contractors are going to receive all the support they could ever dream about from the Trump administration.

Since Trump thinks as an arms dealer, it’s clear he’s going to try and increases Washington’s arms sales, which may in turn trigger new armed clashes across in the Middle East and beyond. The countries of the Persian Gulf remain Washington’s biggest customers, with Riyadh pledging to spend yet another 100 billion dollars on the acquisition of US-made weapons.

Al-Jazeera quotes Trump’s statements about the alleged duty of the Persian Gulf states to compensate America’s expenditures allocated on their protection through arms purchases.

Local journalists argue that while Washington was destroying one Middle Eastern state after another, it was pretty contended with the way things were going. But ever since Damascus prevailed in the war against international terror and managed to restore its sovereignty due the support of its allies, namely the Russian Federation and Iran, Western think tanks must be behind themselves with anger.

Even though there’s a long list of potential risks that are connected with Washington’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, Donald Trump carries on behaving in the same way as his predecessors did, moving forward without presenting convincing facts or evidence to back his decisions.

This fact is is illustrated by the headings of a number of Arabic newspapers. For instance, Tunisia’s Ash-Shuruk newspaper would run an article titled: The world after Trump’s decision: Are we heading for a conflict between Tehran and Tel Aviv? Egypt’s Masrawy would go even further by demanding is Washington willing to pay a price in weapons and blood to stay in the region at whatever cost? As for the Qatari Ash-Sharq, it points out that a new nuclear race, especially in the Middle East, must be prevented through any available means.

In fact, the situation can get out of control rapidly Arab commentators do not rule out the possibility that Syria will continue to be a theater of Israeli military actions against Iranian detachments, both real and fictional. Yet, everybody is convinced that should Washington succeed in advancing its regime change agenda in Iran, that country will share the sorry fate of Iraq, Libya and Grenada.

However, the absolute majority of commentators is convinced that there’s little chance that Washington will risk a direct military intervention against Iran. All that Washington is capable of today is bombing runs against military installations deep inside the territory of this country, but that’s pretty much it.

But economic sanctions can still be a highly potent weapon that is capable of strangling Tehran’s economy, while driving a wedge between its people and the ruling elite. This time around those will be much more crippling and ruthless than any that Iran has already been subjected to, but their effectiveness will be determined by the position of the EU member states.

The Arab Center for Research and Analysis in Cairo fears that an ever increasing pressure that Washington applies against Iran will mobilize its supporters and sympathizers across the region.

As for the position of the Russian Federation, as the Iraqi Saut al-Iraq notes, the crisis in Syria showed Moscow’s strength and wisdom in the fight against armed radical groups and those who were sponsoring those. The effectiveness of Moscow’s steps triggered an escalation in its relations with the United States.

Under these circumstances, Moscow’s position if of vital importance for the security of the region. It is not about a possible military intervention against Israel aimed at supporting Iran, but about achieving an indirect political understanding between the parties. This understanding that will allow sides to establish red lines, that no party will dare to cross.

Yury Zinin, Leading Research Fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook. 

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