Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Iran cannot afford a conflict, the only option is to talk

Filed on May 20, 2019 | Last updated on May 20, 2019 at 06.53 pm

Iran has indulged in a war of attrition for decades with its Arab neighbours who it views with suspicion.

War is not the answer,$$$$ Marvin Gaye sang back in the early 70s at the height of the Vietnam war. "There's no need to escalate," he crooned. No winner emerged in Vietnam. War is not the answer even today but that does not mean countries should eschew their sovereign right to defend themselves from a foe who is rooted in ideology that belongs to the dark ages. The Middle East has seen many crises before and has again been pushed into a state of high alert following recent terror incidents that point to a regime that believes it is fronting a revolution 40 years after it came to power. We are talking of the Iranian government led by clerics and the military that curtails the rights of its people.

Iran has indulged in a war of attrition for decades with its Arab neighbours who it views with suspicion. Proxies have been propped up in places as far as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. Drone attacks allegedly by the Houthi militia controlled by Tehran are continuing as we write this. It's been a weekly feature this month. Saudi Arabia shot down two drones today. Last week drones struck oil pipelines. Two Saudi tankers were sabotaged off Fujairah before that. If this is not escalation, what is? Saudi Arabia, UAE and the Arab coalition have fought the Houthis in Yemen and driven them out of their strongholds. The US is providing logistical support against Iranian aggression. A carrier strike force led by the $$USS Abraham Lincoln$$ and B-52 bomber squadron are being deployed in the Arabian Gulf to warn Iran.

US President Donald Trump today went one step further and warned the regime of annihilation. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!" he tweeted. The question is whether Iran wants to fight. Should it fight when its people are suffering from food scarcity, a result of sanctions imposed by the US as punishment for its role in exporting terror? Iran cannot export oil and is in dire need of investment to bring to life its flailing economy. Truth is, it cannot afford a fight which it cannot win. The solution is staring the regime in the face - de-escalate and open channels of communication with Gulf countries and the US. War is not the answer for Iran.


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