US View of Middle East Threats

2021/05/15 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - An American affairs expert said: From the Americans’ point of view, Russia is expanding its military base in Syria and making efforts to establish military bases in Libya and Sudan. It is also expanding its influence from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, he said, adding that China is also moving westward, i.e. the Middle East region, by relying on economic initiatives such as the Silk Road and One Belt One Road initiative.

Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Tahmoures Gholami commented on recent remarks by General Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) that the use of drones and radicalization of the region’s youth are among the most important issues in the Middle East and China-Russia partnership in the region seeks to establish bases and expand ties in the Middle East. He said: First, General Mckenzie, like other US military officials, has a duty to identify and expose opportunities and threats in the military area under his command. Usually reflection of threats in each area by the relevant commander will later manifest in upstream documents such as the National Security Strategy document. Because there is relative transparency in that country, he has explicitly stated in his documents and statements that there are potential and actual threats to the United States at different levels.

He added: Second, the announcement of the threats would help CENTCOM command to seek funding from the US administration or pass it to the Congress for approval. The announcement of the threats is, in fact, the beginning of a process to gain the support needed to counter the threats.

Gholami continued: Of course, in many cases, US military-political officials exaggerate in listing threats. Because highlighting and magnifying threats can justify their missions and policies in the region. Therefore, it should always be borne in mind that misrepresenting countries such as Iran as a threat at the regional level or Russia and China at global level is a step towards securing those countries.

The expert on the US affairs added: This means that efforts are being made to present the image to the US statesmen, legislators and even the American public opinion that those countries are an immediate threat to the United States and thus demand an immediate and urgent response. Therefore, it seems that if it succeeds in misrepresenting Iran’s military capabilities as a threat, the Department of Defense in general and CENTCOM Command in particular will be able to obtain more legal assistance from the US administration.

Gholami described the fourth point as the radicalization of the youth in the Middle East region, saying: Although it has been more or less exaggerated in its expression, it is a fact that governments of the region also acknowledge. Problems related with economic development, lack of socio-political freedoms, promotion of radical interpretations of religious issues, accumulated national humiliation and various historical failures have led to feelings of inferiority and, consequently, a tendency towards making radical movements in the region.

He continued: In the meantime, the tip of the attack of this radicalization is, in many cases, the policies of the United States. In the aftermath of 9/11, the neo-conservative Bush administration believed that the main reason for the Islamists’ anger in the Middle East over the United States was their dissatisfaction with Washington’s policies in the region, especially with regard to Palestine. In such a way that the roots of the presentation of the Greater Middle East plan go back to this issue. The high power of the ISIS in recruiting young people in the region showed that the ground for radicalism in the region is still ready; but it is a cultural issue for which a military response within CENTCOM command is not necessarily appropriate.

According to the expert, the fifth point in connection with Kenneth Mckenzie’s remarks is the emphasis on multilateralism to solve the problems of the region, which started from the beginning of the Obama administration and continues to the present day. Therefore, this axis of his remarks is not new.

Gholami stressed: Indeed, when there was a belief in the George W. Bush administration that the United States could solve its problems unilaterally and by force, it led to a cost of more than 7 trillion dollars and thousands of American soldiers killed and wounded in the Middle East region. Since then, under Barack Obama administration, the United States has come to believe that it can reduce the cost of solving the region’s problems by relying on a multilateral approach. This belief remained strong even in the Trump administration. Kenneth Mckenzie was appointed commander of CENTCOM during Trump’s presidency, and he looks set to remain in the Biden administration.

In conclusion, the expert on the US affairs linked the sixth point to Mckenzie’s remarks to Russia and China policies in the region, saying: According to the US intellectual and political circles, Beijing and Moscow are seeking to fill the power vacuum of a possible US withdrawal from the region. In the eyes of the Americans, Russia is expanding its military base in Syria and making efforts to establish military bases in Libya and Sudan and expanding its influence from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. China is also moving westward, that is to say, the Middle East region, by relying on economic initiatives such as the Silk Road and One Belt One Road initiative. In this sense, China’s 25-year agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran is a gateway to enter into the Middle East that could take China to the Mediterranean through Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. That is why Mckenzie’s remarks will pay much more attention to this issue. As stated in the Interim National Security Strategy Document, released by Biden recently, the threat posed by China and Russia and their efforts to further expand their sphere of influence has become much more highlighted.

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