When Negotiation Is Impossible and War Is Unnecessary

Amir Taheri’s article at Gatestone, “When Negotiation Is Impossible and War Is Unnecessary,” fits the excellent and intriguing title:

Will the attacks on Saudi oil installations last week upset the status quo that has taken shape in the past 17 months, that is to say, since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the “Iran nuke deal” concocted by Barack Obama?

The headline-grabbing sensationalism of the attacks, largely attributed to the Islamic Republic of Iran but denied by the mullahs, may suggest “yes” as an answer. A closer look, however, might suggest a more nuanced reply. It is likely that whoever planned the attacks was more interested in testing the waters, seeing how far it was possible to go in provocation without making a crushing response inevitable, rather than a serious attempt at upsetting the status quo.

However, first, let us see what we mean by the new status quo, which has replaced the one created by Obama in his final years in office.

Under the Obama status quo, Iran put large chunks of its economic, trade and even military policies under direct or indirect control of the so-called P5+1 group in exchange for a free hand to pursue its “exporting revolution” agenda in the Middle East and developing longer-range missiles for future extension of its influence in the region and beyond. The mullahs could swallow the humiliation of partial foreign tutelage because the Obama deal contained a sunset clause under which the restrictions imposed on the Islamic Republic would lapse after five, 10, 15 or 25 years’ time.

What Trump wants is a new “deal” in which restrictions imposed on the Islamic Republic continue forever while halting Iran’s missiles development project, not affected by the Obama “deal”, is woven into the ensemble. Such a situation would allow the mullahs to prolong their rule but would make it harder to “export” revolution while making a mockery of their claim of creating “the new Islamic civilization” for humanity.

Read more: Gatestone

Image credit: www.gatestoneinstitute.org.