There is an unsettling and worrying escalation in the Persian Gulf occurring, specifically in Iran and Iraq. The U.S. has ordered all non-essential personnel to leave the U.S. embassy in Iraq amidst fears of a potential Iranian attack. Not being privy to military intelligence we on the sidelines can only base our opinions on what is being reported in the news and by the actions of our leaders.
On May 18, 2019, the country of Bahrain ordered all of its citizens to leave Iran and Iraq immediately due to rising tensions. Bahrain’s foreign ministry cited the “unstable situation in the region and the grave developments and threats that threaten security and stability.” Bahrain is a small, Sunni-ruled island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It regularly accuses Iran of stirring dissent in its Shiite-majority population.
On the same day of that announcement, CNN and other media outlets have reported that ExxonMobil has ordered the evacuation of about 30 foreign engineers from the Southern Iraq city of Basra. The Basra Oil Company, which is jointly run by ExxonMobil, said the move is a “temporary precautionary measure.”
AlJazeera.com has reported that after the U.S. made its announcement to remove all non-essential personnel from the embassy in Iraq that Germany and the Netherlands have suspended their training of Iraqi soldiers. Berlin has about 160 troops in Iraq and Amsterdam has about 50, with both missions based mainly in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.
Shannon Bream on Fox News was recently interviewing 2020 Democratic primary Presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI) where she was asked about the rising tensions with Iran. Having served in the Army National Guard for 16 years and deployed twice to the Middle East Gabbard has a unique perspective of being a soldier and a member of Congress. While in Congress she has served on both the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. Here is a portion of her response:
“…I know two things very well. First is the high human cost of war. You know, these wars across the Middle East and Iraq. Thousands of my brothers and sisters in uniform lost their lives, many more injured.
And I also know the cost on the American people. You know, the trillions of dollars that we’ve spent since 9/11 alone on waging these wasteful regime-change wars, how those wars have undermined our national security and how they have strengthened terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda.
So, when we talk about a potential war with Iran, which is looking like we are walking very dangerously down that path, what I think is important for the American people to know is that a war with Iran would make the war in Iraq look like a cakewalk. The devastation and the cost would be far greater that anything we have ever experienced before. “
If you have been following me and reading my posts you will know that I recently picked Gabbard to be the Democrats best shot to defeat Donald Trump and win in 2020. Because she has the first-hand experience of knowing the true cost of war and seeing in person the devastation it causes she does not take the thought of entering into another war lightly.
Last week four tankers, two Saudi Arabian, one UAE and one Norwegian were attacked in the region. Reporters for Reuters.com have reported that Iran’s Elite Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) was “highly likely” to have facilitated the attacks. They claim the attacks took place against a backdrop of U.S.-Iranian tension following Washington’s decision this month to try to cut Tehran’s oil exports to zero and beef up its military presence in the Gulf in response to what it called Iranian threats.
National Security Advisor John Bolton recently requested a plan for sending a substantial number of additional U.S. ground and air forces to the Persian Gulf, according to three officials. On May 9, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented him and other top national security officials with a preliminary outline of plans to deploy as many as 120,000 more Americans to the region, according to the officials, who were briefed on the meeting.
The White House announced on Sunday that the United States was sending an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East because of “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” related to Iran.
The deployment was intended “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” said John R. Bolton, in a statement released Sunday night.
This situation in Iran is fluid and can change at a moments notice. No one wants to go to war; President Trump said so himself. Just like many other wars cooler heads prevailed until “Intel” or “national interest” took precedence and we went to war in the often-undeclared name of regime change. Most wars are preventable. Unfortunately, war hawks do what they always do and persuade the politicians in charge that we need to strike first because their chosen adversary is a threat to us at home or our allies abroad.
Since our founding, the United States has been in a perpetual state of never-ending conflicts. When one war ends we enter into another. Rather than listing each war, I’ve attached a link to a Wikipedia page that goes into each battle in detail. While some wars were necessary and done to protect our country from invasion others were fought thousands of miles away with our allies and against our combined enemies.
I don’t know if there will ever be a time when there will be peace in the world. It’s human nature to want to obtain power and expand your territorial control. What I do know is that history is the best teacher and an expert on predicting the future. Every great empire has fallen over time. Whether it was the Romans or Ottomans, Napoleon Bonaparte or Alexander the Great. In the quest for power and desire of wealth, both were lost due to a weakened military and insurmountable debt. For every military leader who is a student of history and the art of war, I pray that they do not enter into a combat mission in Iran. The world is watching. Right now each country is playing chess though it seems they are playing chicken. If diplomacy does not work and our nations collide we will no doubt see the beginning of a potential World War III. With each country having nuclear capability, this will be a game that nobody will win.