Trump and Teheran shake up the Middle East

From Iran to Saudi Arabia to Israel, everyone is recalculating, following the daring drone attack on Saudi Arabia

Iran is believed to have been responsible for last month's missile-and-drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil processing facility. The attack disrupted global energy supplies and was expected to further raise tensions between the US and Iran. Howe
Iran is believed to have been responsible for last month's missile-and-drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil processing facility. The attack disrupted global energy supplies and was expected to further raise tensions between the US and Iran. However, it seems instead to have isolated Israel and left countries in the Middle East reassessing their relationships with their neighbours. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it bizarre that the Republican leadership is (rightly) going nuts over President Donald Trump's betrayal of the Kurds in Syria while it's ignoring his betrayal of the US Constitution at home. If only Lindsey Graham & Co were as eager to defend our democracy as they are the Kurds. But I digress.

If you think Mr Trump's withdrawal of US troops from Syria will make the Middle East more explosive, you're correct. But there's far more going on. Those troops were also interrupting Iran's efforts to build a land bridge from Teheran to Beirut to tighten a noose around Israel - and their removal could help bring the Iran-Israel shadow war out into the open. This is the really big story in the Middle East today.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2019, with the headline 'Trump and Teheran shake up the Middle East'. Print Edition | Subscribe