DesPardes + PKonweb

Mercury Rising in the Middle East. Back to the Future?

DESPARDES News Monitor – “Fireworks have begun. Crude prices (are) in for jump. Trump is faced with a precarious situation. This may destroy the Iranian economy, yet, the price at the next door gas station (in USA) may continue to haunt him for sometime to come”, said Rashid Husain Syed, BBC energy analyst. “Let’s wait for his next move. The thing to watch: Is Trump going to get the temperature down against the advice of Boltons and Pompoes or let the fire rage?,” Syed added.

‘If Iran does anything, it will suffer greatly’: Trump warns Tehran amid growing tensions. According to The Economist, Russian president Vladimir Putin has succeeded in turning Russia into a power broker in the Middle East. “But its position is tenuous.” According to reports, top US defense official has presented an updated military plan to President Trump’s administration that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, the New York Times and Reuters reported on Monday. So far, the U.S. Treasury has blacklisted nearly 1,000 Iranian entities and individuals, targeting nearly all sectors of Iran’s economy- one of the most draconian sanctions regimes ever imposed by Washington on any adversary.

A senior Middle East media icon and analyst says (on condition of anonymity) that foreign meddling is alarming the people. “The way Trump speaks has antagonized many. Besides, we don’t want the Trump Cold War to turn into a deadly war which will cause further destruction in the area.” According to him, “the attack on Iraq in 2003 has unleashed forces and created ISIS  and other murderous organizations.”

According to The Atlantic, Washington is presenting the sanctions’ impact by no metric other than their quantity and severity. “With U.S. elections at the end of next year, the administration is therefore responding to Iran’s refusal to concede defeat by doubling down, and it’s going about it in a hurry. It has resorted to the unprecedented steps of designating a state entity, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a “foreign terrorist organization,” and of trying to push Iran’s oil exports to zero almost overnight.” This policy is unlikely to succeed, the report/analysis said.

Citing unnamed administration officials, the Times said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Trump’s top security aides on Thursday. The Times said among those attending the Thursday meeting were Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford. Several plans were detailed, the Times said, and “the uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete.”

One Islamabad-based Pakistani security analyst commented: “It’s the most interesting place on the planet. This permanent reality is unlikely to change.”

Mr. Nusrat Jamshed, a former bureaucrat specializing in trade & commerce suggested the Middle Eastern countries should combine their resources and develop a fund for aiding new scientific developments within Muslim countries, “Something on the pattern of Nobel price,” he said. “It will be of great service for Muslim Progress,” he added.

Iran has said the US is engaging in “psychological warfare,” called the US military presence “a target” rather than a threat and said it would not allow its oil exports to be halted.

Trump wants to force Tehran to agree to a broader arms control accord and has sent an aircraft carrier, and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in a show of force against what US officials have said are threats to US troops in the region.

Tensions between Iran and the United States intensified after Trump pulled out of a 2015 international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities and imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran.

Meanwhile…

Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi addressed a crowd of protesters in London on Saturday. Tamimi became the face of Palestinian resistance after slapping an Israeli soldier and spending eight months in prison.

Palestine PM has called for international powers to recognize Palestine.
Global powers must recognize the State of Palestine in an effort to help it fight Israel’s plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh was reported as saying yesterday…

To be updated regularly…