Gulf War again?: The Statesman

In less than a fortnight, the US has effected a troop build-up in the Gulf in the aftermath of recent drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oilfields.
In less than a fortnight, the US has effected a troop build-up in the Gulf in the aftermath of recent drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oilfields.PHOTO: AP

In its editorial, the paper urges the US not to enable more brutality and bloodshed, after President Donald Trump approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defences.

NEW DELHI (THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) -The war clouds are gathering over the Gulf yet again.

Prior to this week's General Assembly session, there has as yet been no attempt "at the international level to defuse the crisis that has been building up between the Iran and the United States" in the aftermath of recent drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oilfields.

In less than a fortnight, the US has effected a troop build-up in the Gulf, recalling the boots-on-the-ground strategy against Saddam Hussein's Iraq in March 2003, not to forget the Iran-Iraq war in January 1991.

It is quite palpable that pressure has been ramped up on the regime of the moderate President Hassan Rouhani and the correspondingly orthodox supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

The raging discord over Tehran's nuclear proliferation has acquired a wholly different dimension. Donald Trump is quite obviously unnerved by the dramatic fall in oil supplies from Saudi Arabia; in the wider geostrategic canvas, his generally impetuous foreign and defence policies are on test a year ahead of the next Presidential election.

The US and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly accused Iran of being behind the Sept 14 attacks on Saudi oilfields, which were claimed by Yemen's Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen's civil war.

The Iranian reaction to the US build-up has reinforced the war-like posturing. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards has let it be known that "limited agression will not be limited".

Over the weekend, President Trump approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defences.

 
 

His action has almost immediately caused a flutter in the roost in Washington.

The characteristically reckless diplomacy has been underlined with the Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, calling it Mr Trump's "latest outrageous attempt" to circumvent Congress.

In the wider perspective, she said "these unacceptable actions are cause for alarm." She has accused the President of turning "a blind eye to Saudi violence against innocent Yemenis, human rights abuses and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

She has hit the bull's eye with the assertion that the United States cannot enable more brutality and bloodshed.

The rift between the US Legislature and the Executive is critical enough. The Speaker is stoutly opposed to a war with Iran, just as the President betrays an impatient desire.

Rouhani and Ayatollah Khamenei may be enjoying a quiet chuckle, yet there is no indication that the war clouds will abate anytime soon.

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