GP Insights # 44, 26 May 2019
As tensions continue to rise, President Donald Trump has announced that the Pentagon would send around 1,500 troops to the Middle East in the coming weeks. The deployments would include a squadron of 12 fighter jets, manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, and several military engineers. According to statements, these troops would reportedly have a primarily protective role as a part of the build-up to counter what the US calls is an “escalating campaign by Iran to plan attacks against the US and its interests in the region.” Besides, the Pentagon had also taken the opportunity to blame Iran and its strategy of using proxies for attacks over oil vessels near UAE.
What is the background?
Tensions between Iran and the US has reached a high ever since the Trump administration abruptly deployed US bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf earlier this month over threats that have not been specified. Strife between the two increased a year ago following Washington’s decision to pull out of the internationally-accepted Iran nuclear deal. Subsequently, the withdrawal had further led to the re-imposition of sanctions over oil trade and more.
What does it mean?
While alternating between diplomatic talks and sending a strong message has led to uncertainty, the move has further put the Congress in deep concern over the possibility of the US moving towards open conflict. Though Trump has been popular for his ambiguous decision making, the present scenario has come to stand as a polar opposite to USA’s focus on de-escalation and diplomacy first as a broad strategy for the region. Adding more personnel and systems seems unwise without a well- set out strategy and would only further escalate tensions with Iran