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War or no war, that is the question

Nov 17,2020 - Last updated at Nov 17,2020

There are two scenarios from now until January 20, 2021. These two are whether there will be war or no war against Iran. Some observers believe that there are indicators and signals that the US and Israel are heading to war against Iran, while others think there will be some strikes against terrorist factions. In Tehran, Iranian leaders declared their indifference to Biden's victory, stressing that the country's foreign policy will not change.

Joe Biden will be on January 20, 2021 the 46th American president and his victory reverberated around the world. However, the coming two months are decisive in Biden’s agendas and how he will be dealing with the unresolved issues including Iran nuclear deal, the rising tide of extremism worldwide and the prognostication of a military encounter between Iran and its allies with American forces. 

The elect president faces a heavy legacy, and on the top of the list is the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or what is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (P5+1). In his election campaign, Biden has repeatedly avowed that he is ready to revive diplomacy with Tehran, and that he is also ready to "reverse the course" taken by President Donald Trump's administration, and that Biden agrees to return to the nuclear deal on condition of full compliance by Iran.

Among those indications is the visit of the US envoy to Iran Elliott Abrams to Israel early November. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Israel would lead to something that all parties have tried to avoid in the past few years. Recent video meetings of Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and his American counterpart Mark Milley are trajectories for mysterious two months which will keep the Middle East region on hot tin roof.

The dismissal of US defence secretary Mark Esper and other Pentagon officials shortly after presidential elections results were announced and the appointment of Christopher Miller and a new team whose orientations are consistent with Trump’s administration would reveal that something is looming in the offing of the Middle East.

Israeli and American newspapers published articles in the past two weeks speculating attacks against Iran and its militias in some Arab states. The same newspapers raised questions about Iranian responses had Americans and Israelis jointly struck Iranian targets, saying that Iran will respond by targeting carriers and oil tankers, using proxy wars in the Gulf and the Red Sea. 

The news that Israeli Mossad was behind the assassination of the second man in Al Qaeda, Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah and his daughter, wife of Hamza Bin Laden, in Iran reveals that the pretext is not only Iranian bids to own nuclear and mass destruction weapons, but also to host terrorist groups that are receiving their training on Iranian territories to target American interests worldwide. 

Such assassination necessitates assistance of more than one intelligence agency to operate inside Iran; this tacitly means that there is a reason now to act against Iran for Tehran’s support of extremist and fanatic groups, including Al Qaeda. It was remarkable when Israel had massive military manoeuvre in the north, which was described as the largest in the history of Israel. This was a simulation of war with Hizbollah, Hamas and Iran at the same time. Is Israel preparing for an imminent escalation scenario?

American air carrier USS Nimitz, one of the US 5th Fleet is going to have joint military drills with Indian forces in the Indian Ocean. The American decision to pull out its forces from the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan has various interpretations; one of these is preparations to launch strikes against Iran. 

On the other hand, other observers say that Trump is a leader who reject wars. He had considered the invasion of Iraq as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the United States. Republican advocates confirm that if Trump decides to strike, it will be a blow that affects the future of the Republican Party for next decade. In addition, Trump, during the transitional period, cannot involve the country in a military war because his authority over the military decision is summed up only in protecting the country from any external aggression and not causing war. The utmost that he can do is to launch strikes on terrorist groups if necessary.

The decision to launch war cannot be taken easily by any American president without consulting more than 15 intelligence and military agencies in the US as war has repercussions on American national security. None of these agencies recommended war so far. 

War on Iran requires long-term preparations. Many American air carriers are away from the Gulf and the Middle East region at present: They are in Japan and in the Eastern and Western Coasts of the US for maintenance. Many experts believe that war with Iran will have heavy death toll and would backfire and have uncalculated scenarios and ramifications as Tehran is supported by China and Russia. Thus, if war is launched it will be in the form of cyberattacks against Iranian targets. The most that can be done in the coming two months will be war of words with tightened sanctions on Iranian firms and personalities.

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