Tehran and the US avoid direct confrontation amid proxy wars

Iran and the US have a hostile relationship (Photo:by Adobe)

The behaviour of Iran and its loyal militias has turned Iraq and Syria into places for retaliatory attacks, writes Ahmad Abdel-Rahman.

Both Washington DC and Tehran have tried to maintain non-confrontational and escalating attacks, thereby keeping tension at a minimum. However, the display of Iranian power in the Middle East by pushing pro-Tehran militias to target American bases in Syria and Iraq has led to a higher degree of escalation than would be consistent with Iran's brinkmanship policy.

America retaliated for the killing of its soldiers at the Tower 22 base, located near the Jordan-Syrian border. The response ranged from striking Iranian targets and assets outside Iran, for example in Syria, to targeting leaders of the Revolutionary Guard. This is in addition to targeting militias affiliated with Tehran in Iraq or Iranian ships in the Arabian Gulf.

The Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, which previously claimed responsibility for attacking the American base, announced that it had suspended its operations against American forces and said that this was aimed at preventing embarrassment to Baghdad. Iran also warned that it would respond to any attack on its interests and denied American and British accusations of involvement in the Jordan attack.

This comes in the wake of the US hinting at an armed response that may come in several waves in an attempt to avoid Iraq turning into an arena for confrontation between Tehran and Washington DC, especially as it is now awaiting a stronger retaliatory response from the latter to the killing of US soldiers. This comes within the framework of the Iraqi Prime Minister's efforts to prevent the spread of the Israel-Hamas conflict in his country.

Since the beginning of the Israeli- Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, at least 165 attacks have been carried out using drones, missiles and shells on American bases in Iraq and Syria. Pro-Iranian militias have carried out attacks on American forces in the two countries.

The Iranian delegate to the United Nations, Amir Saeed Irani, warned that Iran would respond firmly to any attack on it, its interests, and its citizens under any pretext. At the same time, Tehran reduced the number of senior Revolutionary Guard commanders deployed in Syria in anticipation of any American or Israeli targeting. This is especially the case, with the rise in attacks launched by Tel Aviv targeting Iran's military leaders in Syria. The latest military operation killed six Iranians.

This step by Iran does not mean withdrawing from Syria, however, but it represents a strategic goal in Tehran's regional agenda. Currently, Iran will rely on Hezbollah members, as well as the Afghan and Pakistani militias loyal to it.

Iran's behaviour, and behind it the militias faithful to it, have turned Iraq and Syria into places of confrontation between Iran and both Israel and the US. Thus, the two Arab countries are now receiving retaliatory attacks from the US that target Iran, while the latter works to keep the depth of its territory away from any attacks.

Unfortunately, citizens of these countries pay the price for Tehran's regional policies, while the latter blackmails the US for new settlements or understandings from which it can reap returns. This is in addition to Iran's place in the ongoing political settlements related to Gaza, and its ability to influence the "Hamas" movement and the so-called "axis of resistance" and to rehabilitate the strategy of achieving "unity among different groups of resistance".

However, what is certain is that when confrontations flare up, Iran works to avoid US strikes by using calming policies. An example of this is during the George W. Bush period, when the Republican administration overthrew both the Taliban government in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. At the time of the attacks, Iran sought calm and offered cooperation with the US in Afghanistan, especially since it was on the terrorism list designated by the American administration.

In addition, during the administration of Donald Trump, Iran tried to send positive messages to avoid Trump's aggressive policies towards it. This shows, therefore, that Tehran only responds to the policy of sticks and pressure, or the policy of carrots and incentives, These give the country confidence without making concessions.

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Friday, 19 April 2024