Will the region explode because of Trump?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which former American President Barack Obama and the P5+1 signed with Iran will remain debatable for years. Was the Iran deal an acknowledgment of the nuclear reality which Iran achieved or was it a result of incompetent and bad negotiations?

Dennis Ross, a veteran diplomat who knows the region and who worked in the Obama administration, thinks the world is better with the agreement in place and thinks that chaos happened when Donald Trump became president and launched his war against the agreement. There are different opinions regarding the agreement; some commend it and think its restrains Iran’s nuclear military program while some criticize it because it let the region be an arena for Tehran’s regime which has destroyed the region.

I think the agreement has its positive aspects on the nuclear level; however it cannot be acquitted of Iran’s crimes. Negotiators selfishly unlocked sanctions in exchange of Iran stopping uranium enrichment. Tehran suddenly found the door open and snuck out of the cage. Thousands of its forces and its militia fighters headed to wars outside Iran. The international dyke which established for military and economic sanctions collapsed and the borders drawn in the sand and which specified the stances of the region’s and the world’s countries towards Iran’s behavior disappeared.

The regional system collapsed the day we saw Iran’s foreign minister jump for joy as he held the documents of the agreement on the balcony of his room in the Palais Coburg hotel in the Austrian capital. During and after the negotiations, Iran deployed its forces in such an unprecedented manner in the region after it had settled with operating in the surroundings of Lebanon and Gaza. Iran thus came to have the largest power on the ground in Syria, and its leaders were seen leading battles in Iraq. Iran also launched its missiles on Jeddah, Mecca and Riyadh and strengthened its political control over Lebanon.

Ross thinks Iran’s audacious bullying behavior during Trump’s era, such as launching missiles, sending drones in Israel’s airspace and targeting Saudi cities with its missiles, is an ordinary Iranian reaction to Trump’s violent stances against it. However, the truth we see here, from inside the region, states otherwise. One of the major reasons Iran escalated the confrontation was to pressure the Trump administration like it did with the Obama administration which backed down before any crisis with the Iranian regime. The latter realized it could blackmail the Obama administration by escalating the situation in Iraq and Syria and things went as far as detaining American sailors then releasing them in such a humiliating and insulting manner.

Gates of hell

It’s true that Trump decided not to militarily fight the Iranians in Syria but he succeeded in establishing a political and military alliance to pressure Iran after the Iranians were celebrating because they’re confident they completely won the war in Syria. Trump paved way for Israel, supported armed Syrian opposition groups, pressured Russia and warned the Assad regime that it will not stay if the Iranians and their militias stay in Syria.

Was the Iran deal an acknowledgment of the nuclear reality which Iran achieved or was it a result of incompetent and bad negotiations?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The gates of hell thus opened against Iran and its agents in Iraq, Syria, Gaza and Yemen where Iran was winning battles before. The Trump administration decided to confront Iran without getting in a direct military confrontation in conflict zones in the Middle East. This was culminated with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal. This withdrawal, which included decisions to reinstate economic sanctions and set 12 difficult conditions to have a deal, was the biggest relapse Iran has suffered from since the revolution erupted in the end of the 1970s.

Ross thinks that Trump is leading the region towards a huge explosion and huge wars, and it’s actually possible that Iran will resort to escalation and increase the extent of confrontations; however it knows that the price is now higher than before. Trump has inflicted pain on the Iranian regime without firing a single bullet. The restraints he imposed led to the collapse of the Iranian currency which has become the source of internal unrest that threatens the existence of the entire regime.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.