There is a clear contradiction between America’s interest in reviving the nuclear agreement with Iran in the Vienna talks — which came to the end of their sixth round two days ago — and America’s indifference to Iranian provocations and missile attacks in the Middle East, on countries which Washington classifies as friends or allies! The European Union confirmed that the negotiators in Vienna are closer to saving the Iran nuclear agreement, and the talks are focused on lifting the sanctions imposed on Tehran in exchange for limiting its nuclear program.
Despite the Biden administration’s interest in reaching a nuclear agreement with Tehran, Iran is not cooperating in easing tensions in the region, and has instead escalated its armed assaults. In its recent missile attacks against military bases where U.S. forces are located in Iraq, 43 attacks targeted American interests in Iraq since the beginning of the year. In particular, this included the American Embassy in Baghdad and military bases that house Americans, as well as the Baghdad and Erbil airports and the logistics convoys of the international coalition. All in planned Iranian attacks! The attacks since the beginning of the year have killed two foreign contractors, nine Iraqis and eight civilians.
Furthermore, in Yemen, Iran (via the Houthis) continues to target cities, airports and oil sites as it fights Saudi Arabia. The latest attack, on Thursday, June 17, was against the Saudi-led military coalition fighting the rebels in Yemen. The Houthis launched an explosive-laden drone over areas of Saudi Arabia, including seven drones aimed at the southern region with the interception of three aircraft near the city of Khamis Mushait. These were intercepted in Yemeni airspace, but there have been many previous Houthi attacks that struck Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Haʼil and even Mecca and other Saudi cities. There has been a total of 1,032 Houthi missiles launched against Saudi Arabia.
The question remains: Why doesn’t the U.S. pay attention or respond (militarily) to Iranian aggression, in Iraq or Saudi Arabia?!
The answer to this question is tied to the Middle East policy of the new U.S. administration led by Joe Biden. The administration wants to extract itself from the problems and crises of the Middle East; it is not interested in security and stability. As for its allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Washington only cares if there is a military clash — that is, in addition to issues related to Israeli security. Other than that, it does not care about any damage or Iranian missile attacks launched against Arab countries, even Iranian missile attacks targeting American soldiers at Iraqi military bases!
Last Friday, the U.S. Defense Department announced that it had begun reducing its air defense systems in the Middle East. According to The Wall Street Journal, Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica McNulty said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered that certain forces and capabilities be removed from the region this summer. The Wall Street Journal stated that the Pentagon had begun on June 1 by withdrawing eight anti-missile batteries from Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. This is in addition to removing the THAAD anti-missile shield that has been deployed in Saudi Arabia.* Each anti-missile battery has hundreds of soldiers; the withdrawal of those batteries means the departure of thousands of American soldiers from the region. Washington is also working to withdraw all of its forces from Afghanistan and has reduced its military forces in Iraq to 2,500 soldiers.
What can we conclude from this? After reaching a new nuclear agreement with Tehran, America will allow Iran and its terrorist arms to operate freely in the region without any military restrictions or deterrence. All statements by Washington in the recent Vienna talks on Iran’s role in destabilizing security and stability and threatening countries throughout the Middle East are merely meant to pass the blame off on the Gulf states! We cannot rule out the possibility that this U.S. attitude is part of a long-term strategy of loosening its grip on Iran. This would serve the American agenda by allowing Iran to further expand into Arab states, to fragment them and tear them apart into small ethnic entities and sectarian rivalries. Just like what is happening now in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.
*Editor’s note: THAAD is an acronym for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.