The clouds of war kept hovering over the Middle East in the aftermaths of the worsening situation between two contending powers. History vindicates that the US-Iran bilateral conflict provocation ensued gross uncertainty towards Middle Eastern quagmire and remained a devious drive for regional geopolitical intrigue.
Recently, both states locked horns due to the US coercive decision to reinstated sanctions on Iranian oil exports to eight countries including its strategic partner India and global competitor China. Amid of crisis, in pursuit of preemptive action, US deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf whilst its drone shot down by Iranian forces over the strait of Hurmuz.
Notably, President Trump also signposted deployment of an additional one thousand troops in the Gulf to strengthen its conventional striking capabilities. Embroiling Turmoil further intensified when explosions hit oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and Washington accused Tehran of the incident duplicity. Thus, both contending actors reached the flashpoint of overt military confrontation.
The simmering crisis escalations hold multifarious ramification, posing daunting challenges to economic stability and also muddles exigencies of collective security at the regional and global level. The deceitful regime change gambits by Washington to aggrandize economic woes of Teheran seemingly far-fetched and conspicuously configuring revolt against the ruling clergy is far more perplexing due to domestic religious and political cohesion.
However under the vitiated situation Iranian economy exorbitantly hit a soft patch and oil prices in global markets may witness a steep rise in foreseeable future. Any further hostile aggression would bring massive retaliation and spree into enduring crisis, as emanating threats from Tehran to disrupt oil supply to the GCC countries through the Strait of Hurmuz holds potency to wreak havoc because half of the world’s oil supply predominately relies on this route.
Arguably, taking recent developments in the account, can the US afford another costly war? The answer is quite clear. Averting a war with prudence and conscience is a viable choice instead of another indecisive misadventure. Without any doubt, dynamics and implications of the conflict are divergent with its previous military incursions in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively. Despite, posing strong military capabilities and sophisticated warfare technology, a war persuading desired gains with insignificant assistance from allies’ impinge grave apprehensions. Other regional powers such as China, Russia, India holds cordial economic and strategic ties with Tehran, subsequently winning consent for military coercion from NATO and European allies for the US rests austere.
The option of conventional warfare-invading through ground troops, toppling the regime and establish the US-led governance order seemingly redundant as Tehran possess stronger military prowess, political and strategic challenges. Likewise, asymmetric warfare instigates strategic vulnerabilities, pushing Washington into another protracted conflict and its cost may plug in severe domestic economic catastrophes.
Furthermore, Iran holds leverages of proxies in the Middle East, particularly, in Iraq, Yemen and Syria and their role would also come into play which possibly will pose intimidating threats to the US troops stationed in the region. Thus, a low scale escalation can prolong to longstanding proxy war through jeopardizing the fragile security architecture. Stemming vulnerabilities would provide space to the ISIS and other militant non-state actors to swivel around, retrace their feet, and consolidate their posture by outplaying counterinsurgency measures-making the worsening situation more hostile and gruesome.
Adding further, public acceptance remains a vital concern, the decision of war may revamp the domestic political landscape. Republicans may lose their favourable support of masses, providing democrats with an opportunity to dethrone them in presidential elections because American generations are war fatigued. It is pertinent to highlight that it may bring another opportunity for Iran to consolidate its economy through configuring nuclear matters on the table with democrats who earlier opted policy of rapprochement and reconciliation vis-à-vis Iran-US nuclear deal under Obama administration.
Iran- with immediate effect it must go down to brass tacks, stringent sanctions already ensuing colossal blow to the domestic economy, thus the introspection of its jingoist and confrontationist attitude is significantly important to avoid a complete state failure. Its decision of uranium enrichment beyond the limits, permitted by the 2015 nuclear deal may become a pretext for justification of war and gaining favourable support from the signatories of the agreement. Brewing conflict also provides regional adversaries like Israel and Saudi Arabia an opportunity to provoke Washington led bellicose rhetoric towards Tehran.
Henceforth, all the stakeholder should mediate to de-escalate the conflict through persistent rapprochement and reconciliation measures for the positive-sum gains. It is a dismaying fact that the region already suffered enormously with the drastic consequences of Afghanistan war and Arab spring. The conflict escalation would also prove another nightmare for the proponents of perpetual peace and enduring stability of the region. Thus, collective efforts required from international powers and regional actors to avert possibilities of war and bring the contending actors on the negotiation table to resolve the disputes.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.