You Can’t Tell the Players Without a Scorecard: Iran Takes Center Stage in the Middle East

In the war against the Islamic State, Iran is our ally – of sorts – and has sent troops into Iraq to fight against terrorists. In Yemen, however, Iran is backing the Houthi uprising that toppled the pro-Western government. While this has been going on the Iranian government has been negotiating an agreement with the West to continue their nascent nuclear program, but are also calling for “death to America” in very public statements.

IranAlthough these positions are incompatible with each other and with any lasting agreement with the United States, Iran continues to push forward with all of these positions at the same time. It would be simplistic to think that there is a reason for these positions that bode well for any Western or American efforts in the Middle East. In short, Iran is looking to move to the top of the heap in the Middle East. Removing the Western sanctions on manufactured goods is the first step and by negotiating with the West to slow down the country’s nuclear program Iran is accomplishing that.

Additionally, involvement in the conflict with the Islamic State also serves the country’s purposes. The Islamic State is a radical Sunni movement that the Shiite government of Iran opposes on both religious and secular grounds. The Houthi extremists in Yemen are also a radical Shiite group and supporting that movement throws Yemen into chaos, a chaos that Iran can exploit in its ongoing conflict with Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia, with American support, is currently the most powerful country in the Middle East but has found its authority eroded by Iran’s involvement and the tacit support that Iran is receiving by playing on American desires to not get “too involved” in another Middle Eastern conflict.

The Middle East is an absolute mess. Much of it caused by Western and American actions. As in so many recent conflicts, the United States can win the war but lose the peace. Nationally, we do not have the desire or perceive a need in nation-building in the area, but until some country or group of countries has the will to impose stability on the area, it will continue being a hotbed of extremism.

Iran is not our friend; neither is Saudi Arabia, and continuing to act like either country has our interests at heart is a recipe for disaster.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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