November 17, 2018

IN FAIRNESS, HE'S NO MORE CONFUSED THAN HIS PREDECESSORS...:

A Saudi Murder Becomes a Gift to Iran: The assassination of a journalist has further hurt the Trump administration's frail strategy of buddying with Saudi Arabia to restrain Iran's expanding influence. (Vali R. Nasr, Nov. 12, 2018, NY Times)

The Trump administration is not ready to admit it, but its Middle East strategy is in deep trouble, now compounded by the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey last month. The administration's recent pressure on the Saudis to seek a truce in their war in Yemen is a clear signal of just how much the credibility of Saudi Arabia, which is at the heart of that strategy, has shrunk, perhaps even in President Trump's eyes.

The strategy's goal was to work with the Saudis to contain Iran's influence in the Middle East. Instead, we can now expect a growing sense of ease in Tehran about exerting its influence, even as it adjusts to the tough economic sanctions that were reimposed last week. That freedom is more likely to be used through maneuvering and deal-making, rather than through aggressions.

It's not as if Iran expects a change in American policy toward it in the aftermath of the Khashoggi affair. Instead, the weakening of confidence in Saudi Arabia throughout the region is more likely to confirm to Iran's leaders the wisdom of their own current strategy -- manage pressure from America by mobilizing domestic resources; rely on Europe, China and Russia to keep economic channels with Iran open; and consolidate Iran's alliances and positions of influence politically.


...but the entirety of the WoT consists of working with our democratic allies--the Shi'a and the Brotherhood--against the Salafi and the secular dictators.

Posted by at November 17, 2018 8:40 AM

  

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