The furious escalation between the U.S. and Iran appears to be fizzling out as U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he won’t make military response to Iran’s missile attacks on the U.S. military bases in Iraq. As it turned out, Iran had given Iraq a heads-up about its intended missiles attacks to avoid an all-out war with the U.S. However, experts say that another crisis could be triggered anytime soon, given the public calls for retaliation within Iran on the death of Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, as well as the possibility of additional attacks from Shiite militias.
Pundits say that Trump’s reaction to Iran’s missiles was milder than expected as there were no American casualties and he is preparing for his second presidential election in November. Another American war in the Middle East would be the worst scenario for Trump, who is seeking a reelection this year. Armed with ballistic missiles with a range of over 2,000 kilometers and 520,000 soldiers, Tehran is a hefty enemy to deal with for Washington. A military engagement in the region is not in line with Trump’s pledge to steer clear of military conflicts in foreign lands, by saying that the U.S. is no longer the police of the world.
“We are independent, and we do not need Middle East oil," Trump said on the day, adding that the U.S. is energy-independent, and such a historic achievement changed its strategic priorities. His remarks have reaffirmed America’s plan to pull out its troops from the Middle East, following a shift in America’s strategy in the region. The American president also asked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to become more involved in the Middle East. His call reflects America’s intention to step back from the region while urging Europe to step up.
However, the conflict between Washington and Tehran is not over yet. The tinderbox could be reignited by any number of unexpected factors. Tensions briefly intensified again at Wednesday midnight as two rocket missiles fired into the green zone in Baghdad where the American embassy in Iraq is located.
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