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Trump may be in too deep to avoid war with Iran

4 37 0
21.06.2019

President Trump’s last-minute change of mind over launching US air strikes against Iran shows that a military conflict of some description in the Gulf is becoming highly probable. His hesitation was most likely connected less with the circumstances in which an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a US surveillance drone and was more to do with his instinct that militarising the crisis is not in America’s best interests.

If Trump had not pulled back and the strikes against Iranian radar and missile batteries had gone ahead, where exactly would that have got him? This sort of limited military operation is usually more effective as a threat than in actuality. The US is not going to launch an all-out war against Iran in pursuit of a decisive victory and anything less creates more problems than it resolves.

Iran would certainly retain post-strike the ability to launch pin prick attacks up and down the Gulf and, especially, in and around the 35-mile wide Strait of Hormuz through which passes 30 per cent of the world’s oil trade. Anything affecting this choke point reverberates around the word: news of the shooting down of the drone immediately sent the price of bench-mark Brent Crude oil rocketing upwards by 4.75 per cent.

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Note that the Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a $130m drone, in practice an unmanned aircraft stuffed with electronic equipment that was designed to be invulnerable to such an attack. The inference is that if US aircraft – as opposed to missiles – start operating over or close to Iranian airspace then they are likely to suffer losses.

But the dilemma for Trump is at a deeper........

© Independent