Analysis | Iran weighs up its options

The Islamic Republic is on a war footing. For the first time in its history, has hoisted the red flag on the dome of the mosque of Yamkarán, in the holy city of

Analysis | Iran weighs up its options

The Islamic Republic is on a war footing. For the first time in its history, has hoisted the red flag on the dome of the mosque of Yamkarán, in the holy city of Qom. In the tradition of islam, shi'a, the gesture indicates that it approaches a great battle by the blood unjustly shed and continues to the promise of the supreme leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of a “hard revenge” for the murder of general Qasem Soleimani.

it could Not be otherwise before the escalation that the operation of the united States has involved in the confrontation, checked that both countries maintain from four decades ago and has been revived during the presidency of Donald Trump. The blow comes at a time when the Islamic Republic, harassed by the sanctions the united states, is facing a growing response to internal and its influence is questioned both in Iraq and in Lebanon. The question is how, where and when you will respond. For the moment, the mere uncertainty is already having consequences in the middle East.

Ruled out direct confrontation, something that would be suicidal for the iranian regime, all eyes are on the asymmetrical war that is adept and on that Soleimani got their stripes. Even their propaganda hides it. Beyond the pantomime for domestic consumption of the handful of volunteers dressed in black gathered at Mehrabad airport of Tehran willing to undertake missions against the united States in the region, the own Khamenei has said that “all the resistance groups will want to take revenge”.

The ayatollah has where to choose from. Since its founding in 1979, the Islamic Republic has cultivated a network of militia allies from the Hezbollah of lebanon to the Forces of Popular Mobilization iraqis, passing by the paramilitaries prorrégimen syrians and, to a lesser extent, the palestinian Islamic Jihad or the Huthi yemen. For all of them, the general killed was the key partner responsible for the overseas operations of the Revolutionary Guard.

What are the options? Given that several of these groups are limited by their own local challenges (popular protests in Lebanon, war is still open in Syria, or fear of the response of Israel in the palestinian territories), two stand out among all. The more blunt would be an attack in the Persian gulf, the forces of the united States or to the infrastructure of their allies, with the double aim of showing that Iran is not going to renounce to its regional agenda and to point out to Washington the high cost of continuing the escalation.

Make that decision supposed to assume that a Trump almost in an electoral campaign is not going to launch a total war. It is a risky bet. Washington has presented the murder of Soleimani as a preventive action before the plans of iranians to undermine their interests and given to understand in meetings of senior officials with journalists that his policy of “maximum pressure” will continue until Tehran agreed to accept the terms of Washington to limit its nuclear program (which has been reactivated as a response to the abandonment by the united States in the 2015 agreement) and their interference in the arab countries.

There is therefore the risk that the united States respond to such an action with the bombing of its infrastructure, as oil, very vulnerable because it is located on the coast. It would be a step that would sink its economy and which without doubt would have the support of their arab rivals, particularly Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

The other possibility, less spectacular, but equally dangerous, is to delegate revenge on the iraqi militias, which are already soliviantadas both by death along with Soleimani, one of its most responsible, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, as by the fact that the operation occurred in your country. It is a scenario that has already lived after the american occupation of 2003, under the supervision of one. In fact, some media proiraníes have begun to poison with false news of attacks against bases of the u.s. forces in Iraq.

at that moment, that mere threat is having consequences. NATO has put its forces on high alert, for which it has diverted-monitoring operations of the Islamic State, which leaves a dangerous vacuum that such a group will certainly take advantage of. Also have been suspended for now the training missions for the iraqi military. Although a war is not imminent nor inevitable, the risk of an uncontrolled cycle of retaliation increases the risk of a crash with unforeseeable consequences.

Updated Date: 04 January 2020, 22:00

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