COM­MENT

Daily Express - - World On The Drink - MARK AL­MOND Cri­sis Re­search In­sti­tute

WAR with Iran has been creep­ing closer ever since Don­ald Trump took of­fice.

The US Pres­i­dent was elected to get Amer­ica out of wars in the Mid­dle East. But even be­fore the as­sas­si­na­tion of the Ay­a­tol­lah’s favourite gen­eral, Wash­ing­ton and Tehran were goad­ing each other.

Now war seems un­avoid­able. Cyn­ics say Trump is try­ing to dis­tract at­ten­tion from his loom­ing im­peach­ment trial and re­mind us 2020 is also an elec­tion year.

Trump vot­ers are not paci­fists but they turned against in­volve­ment in Afghanista­n and Iraq as it was get­ting nowhere.

The pres­i­dent will need to show he has a strat­egy for the US to deal with Iran quickly and at low cost

– at least to Amer­i­cans.

Iran has many chances to em­bar­rass Trump be­fore Novem­ber’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

That’s why we must hope that when the Pen­tagon called Gen­eral, Qassem Soleimani, a “target of op­por­tu­nity” it did not mean Trump gave the go-ahead im­pul­sively.

The US pres­i­dent can seem un­pre­dictable. That is a strength if

he keeps Amer­ica’s en­e­mies guess­ing. But if he hasn’t con­sid­ered what could hap­pen after strik­ing such a heavy blow, Iran could take the US by sur­prise.

Trump has al­ways had Iran in his sights. He scrapped the nu­clear deal made by Pres­i­dent Obama to stop Iran get­ting atomic weapons. Trump ar­gued that Iran had used re­lief from eco­nomic

sanc­tions to fund the wars across the Mid­dle East which Soleimani led. Crip­pling Iran’s econ­omy was sup­posed to bring it to heel.

That did not seem to af­fect Soleimani’s Al Quds force.

Amer­ica is al­ready de­ploy­ing ex­tra troops in the Mid­dle East to pro­tect em­bassies and as­sets there, but it will need that and more to fend off Ira­nian re­venge.

As if keep­ing Tehran hemmed in wasn’t enough for Wash­ing­ton, other awk­ward cus­tomers could take the op­por­tu­nity for mis­chief while Trump con­cen­trates on Iran.

But the big­gest worry for Trump after the risk of ter­ror­ist at­tack is whether Iran will now go all out

to get the Bomb.

Trump scrapped Obama’s Iran nu­clear deal

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