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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:19

For Trump, success in the Middle East requires defanging Iran

Written by  Ray Takeyh

The Trump administration has been engaged in recent months in an exhaustive review of its Iran policy. Such an assessment is most needed, as the Islamic Republic gained much during the Obama years, projecting its power in all corners of the Middle East.

The challenge that confronts the White House is that in the past few years, Iran has crafted an ingenious grand strategy that cheaply promotes its interests.

The Trump administration now confronts not just a truculent theocracy but one that has honed its own strategy for pushing back on the United States. A combination of terrorism and arms control underpin Iran's clever policy of deterring the U.S.

Terrorism works. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran has steadily inflamed that nation's sectarian cleavages as a means of enhancing its power. It has trained and armed Shia militias responsive to its Revolutionary Guard commanders.

It was those militias and Iranian munitions that lacerated U.S. troops. In the dark days of Iraqi civil war, Iran was responsible for its share of U.S. casualties and deaths. This has scared the U.S. military, which now has approximately 6,000 troops redeployed back in Iraq. This is just enough to be vulnerable to Iranian terror but not enough to disarm its proxies and pacify Iraq of its nefarious influence.

Read more at The Washington Examiner

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