That view – that Bolton is driving Trump into a perilous military confrontation with America’s principal foe in the Middle East – is ricocheting across the globe.
“Under a starry sky, U.S. Navy fighter jets catapulted off the aircraft carrier’s deck and flew north over the darkened waters of the northern Arabian Sea, a[n] unmistaken signal to Iran that the foremost symbol of the American military’s global reach is back in its neighborhood, perhaps to stay,” begins an Associated Press (AP) report
on what could be a foreboding sign of times to come in the Middle East.
“The USS Abraham Lincoln, with its contingent of Navy destroyers and cruisers and a fighting force of about 70 aircraft, is the centerpiece of the Pentagon’s response to what it calls Iranian threats to attack U.S. forces or commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf region. In recent years, there has been no regular U.S. aircraft carrier presence in the Middle East,” the piece would continue.
Forces Pushing For War With Iran
A recent Washington Post report
by Joshua Partlow, David A. Fahrenthold, and Taylor Luck detailed what could be seen as a lobbying effort by wealthy Iraqi sheik Nahro al-Kasnazan to begin a conflict with Iran.
“In July , a wealthy Iraqi sheikh named Nahro al-Kasnazan wrote letters to national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging them to forge closer ties with those seeking to overthrow the government of Iran,” began the investigative piece. “Four months later, he checked into Trump International Hotel in Washington and spent 26 nights in a suite on the eighth floor — a visit estimated to have cost tens of thousands of dollars.”
By their research, suites at the Trump hotel range from about $1,000 to $2,000 per night. Neither the hotel, White House, nor the National Security office commented to the Washington Post on the story. Kasnazan states he did not use his stay in an attempt to lobby the Trump administration, but the Washington Post reported he did seek informal meetings with members of the state department.
Kasnazan’s communication with Bolton drew much attention as journalists and activists keeping a close eye on Bolton’s tenure in the Trump administration, along with his career in politics, believe he has long angled for a military conflict with Iran. A May article from the USA Today described
his dynamic with President Trump.
That view – that Bolton is driving Trump into a perilous military confrontation with America’s principal foe in the Middle East – is ricocheting across the globe, from Tehran to Washington. But national security experts inside and outside the White House say Bolton’s role has been exaggerated – and his influence with the president has been overstated, particularly when it comes to the prospect of a costly war with Iran.
Is War With Iran Oncoming?
“Since we’ve been operating in the region, we’ve had several interactions with Iranians,” stated Rear Admiral John F. G. Wade, commander of the Lincoln strike group when speaking to the AP. “To this point all have been safe and professional — meaning, the Iranians have done nothing to impede our maneuverability or acted in a way which required us to take defensive measures.”
In early May, after Saudi Arabian tankers were attacked all blame was laid on Iran. However, ironclad evidence has yet to see public light, and Iran denies all involvement with the attacks against their adversary. Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jumped on the attack and the accusations. The Guardian reported
at the time:
In the wake of the tanker attacks, the administration upped the ante. Details of a White House national security meeting were also leaked. They revealed that Patrick Shanahan, the acting defence [sic] secretary, had presented a new plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East, supposedly to deter Iran. Another option under discussion was multiple sea and air-launched missile strikes on Iran’s military facilities and suspected nuclear-related targets.
While Trump administration officials have claimed Iran presents an imminent threat to the United States and their allies, both internationally and domestically the claims are met with skepticism. For his part, President Trump seems dug into a position of not launching a war against Iran, yet he has changed his mind on numerous topics throughout his Presidency.