Iran: A strategy for pushing back on Tehran | reTHINK TANK

Iran: A strategy for pushing back on Tehran | reTHINK TANK


The Middle East is changing whether we want
it to or not. The more Iran is allowed to direct the transformation
of the Middle East, the more the region is likely to emerge worse off—more violent,
chaotic, and aligned against U.S. interests. It is incumbent upon the United States to
confront Iran in order to stop them from threatening America’s allies, exacerbating conflict
and undermining America’s interests in the region The Trump Administration’s strategy, so
far, focuses exclusively on the Iranian nuclear threat. But to achieve America’s goals, Trump must
take major steps to address the problems of the Middle East in ways that suit both American
and Arab interests. Syria and Iraq furnish the best opportunities
to do so. In Syria, Iran has tied itself to the unpopular
and incompetent Assad regime. In support of Assad, Iran may have lost as
many as 2,000 troops, including several high-ranking generals. Thousands of Iranian-backed militia men from
Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon have died as well. Financially, Tehran has funneled billions
of dollars to prop up the Assad regime. But Iran’s rickety economy can’t keep
up with these expenses and Iran’s efforts in Syria are increasingly unpopular at home. However, Iran cannot simply leave Syria. Iran fears (probably rightly) that allowing
the Syrian regime to succumb to the Sunni opposition will endanger Hizballah’s control
of Lebanon and Iran’s entire position in the Levant. The United States should take advantage of
Iran’s vulnerability in Syria. We should pursue a similar strategy to the
one adopted in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when the US armed mujahedeen fighters to oppose
the Soviet-backed Afghani government, draining their resources, and eventually forcing the
Soviets out of the country. For this strategy to work, the U.S. must be
willing to arm, train, and supply a larger number of Syrian oppositionists, virtually
anyone other than ISIS or al-Qaeda who is willing to fight the Assad regime. This strategy would serve multiple goals. It would force the Iranians to waste resources
defending Syria. It would further strain the Iranian economy
and the regime’s grip on power, which might make Tehran more willing to compromise on
other issues, like Yemen, or Iraq. Eventually, it could force the Iranians (and
Russians) to jettison Assad and agree to a new, federalized Syrian political system. This is the best possible outcome for the
United States in Syria, and one served at a low cost. Iran’s interests in Iraq are deep and wide. The two states share a 1,400 kilometer border. Their societies are deeply intertwined. Their annual trade exceeds $12 billion, and
in the 1980s the two countries fought the longest conventional war of the 20th century,
with nearly half a million killed altogether. This makes the stability, security and the
geopolitical alignment of Iraq a key interest of Iran that the United States must exploit. Although Iran has made sizable gains in Iraq,
its dominance is far from complete and many Iraqis don’t want to live under Iranian hegemony. The more independent Iraq is, the less Iran
would be able to use Iraq as a conduit to the rest of the Arab world. If the US is willing to make a long-term commitment
to Iraq, there is good reason to believe that Iraq will become strong and independent, which
would greatly reduce, (but not eliminate), Iran’s influence there. Here’s what the U.S. should do: Iraq’s
military must be built into a force that can maintain the peace. Currently, Baghdad has no choice but to cede
control of its security to Iranian-backed Shi’a militias. Without a continued American presence of (ideally)
10,000 troops to train, advise and supply Iraq’s security forces, Iraq will increasingly
have to rely on Tehran’s proxies or else slide back into fragmentation and renewed
civil strife. On the financial side, Iraq needs to be more
economically independent from Iran. A long-term American economic aid program
of (ideally) $1–2 billion per year would reinforce to Iraqis that the United States
is making a long-term commitment to its stability and development. Eventual regime change in Iran will probably
be necessary because the current regime insists on defining the United States as its adversary
no matter how hard Washington tries to befriend it. However, regime change should not be the immediate
or core goal of American policy. My strategy will be challenging enough. Instead, the US should actively develop its
capabilities to wage both cyber and unconventional warfare in Iran, and reserve these tools as
a deterrent. If the Iranian regime knows that the United
States has a strong capability to threaten its grip on power through covert means, they
are unlikely to become too aggressive in fighting back against a new American pushback strategy. Finally, for this strategy to work, the United
States cannot aggressively attack Iran everywhere. It won’t be possible given the limited resources
Americans are likely to be willing to commit, and there are places where we are more vulnerable
than Iran is. The Iranian nuclear program is one of those
areas because most of the world still backs the JCPOA. Even now, if the United States refrains from
taking steps that could start a trade war with our allies over their commercial ties
with Iran, we could preserve both the international consensus to stifle Irans nuclear aspirations
and prevent Tehran from restarting its enrichment activities. Achieving America’s goals of confronting
Iran in Syria and Iraq requires significant resources and planning. But by driving up the cost of Iranian expansionism
in Syria, and reinforcing Iraq as an American ally, the United States will significantly
undermine Iran’s goal of spreading its anti-American agenda throughout the Middle East.

77 thoughts on “Iran: A strategy for pushing back on Tehran | reTHINK TANK

  1. Are you actually saying what was done in the 1980s in Afganistan that then created al qaeda is a good strategy? Do you want another 9/11? Or is it just that Americans don't understand that arming angry people probs ends up one more enemy to America in the end.

  2. The US has no friends, the day it falls you will realise how much the world despises your arrogance and bully tactics.

  3. I love how the framing always takes for granted that the USA has a right to impose itself over foreign powers. Hey Murica, wanna quench terrorism? Stop funding and participating in it! Wanna make the Middle East safer for your allies? Stop funding and participating in terrorism! Address climate change so as to prevent water wars and mass migration by 2050!

  4. How can we expect a nation with Iraq on one side, Afghanistan on the other to feel. How would we if Iran had troops in Canada and Mexico? Christian Syrians among every other minority without the means to mount a defense that are getting caught in the crossfire of this proxy war, speaking of which; Where's the petition to get them Asylum in the US? From a pragmatic point of view we have very little to gain from ANOTHER WAR in the Middle East and much more to gain by empowering our allies in the region.

  5. this Jew knows what he's talking about, for example, there is a quote from one of his books I found in the wiki: "the only prudent and realistic course of action left to the United States is to mount a full-scale invasion of Iraq to smash the Iraqi armed forces, depose Saddam’s regime, and rid the country of weapons of mass destruction.” or this one: Pollack (the speaker) is credited with persuading liberals of the case for the Iraq war. New York Times columnist Bill Keller, in supporting the Iraq war in 2003, wrote “Kenneth Pollack, the Clinton National Security Council expert whose argument for invading Iraq is surely the most influential book of this season, has provided intellectual cover for every liberal who finds himself inclining toward war but uneasy about Mr. Bush.”

  6. (((Kenneth Pollack))) wants America to arm 'non-Islamist' Sunni groups to fight Iran in Syria. Colour me surprised.

  7. Mr Kenneth Pollack, what are you smoking? Maybe you are still on the CIA's payroll? I hope no influential politician agrees with your insane strategy. North America and Western Europe should stop interfering in that region. The British made a mess of it over many decades, and slowly walked away …eventually. Even though they followed USA back into the Middle East in recent years. The disastrous effects are evident and should have been clear to all involved before western Europe and North America embarked on ill advised, mean spirited and caviler misadventures in that region. You are deluded if you believe you and those of your mindset have workable solutions for that part of the world.

  8. Israel and all of it's allies and supporters are the single greatest enemy that the Germanic stock of America has ever had bar none. I hope I only live long enough to see you people brought to justice for what you have done over the last 100+ years to America and the world.

  9. the Kurds are the only reliable force to count on, forget the sunni tribes, obama tryed and failed misserbly.
    usa is now about to commit a terrible betrail to the kurds as an efford to apease the turks, but it wont work…more and more demands will come from erdogan, and there will no apeasement in the end.

  10. The US has been using foreign militias as proxies for decades. sometimes it works out. sometimes not. We would have to increase our troop presence in and around Syria in order to properly control and support the desired groups.

    I think that the backing proposed for Iraq by the video is what is already happening. I think that in the next year or so we should make a deal with Saudi Arabia to guarantee the safety of Iraq so that Iraq can build up its economy to trade with Saudi Arabia and its allies instead of Iran.

    I think that if Iran wants to keep acting up we slap em with sanctions and flip the finger to the UN.

  11. Yes. Regime change will make the people there love the USA and the west. And making them stronger will ensure the peace for generations (there and also Europe, or neighbors like Israel), as it has worked wonders for the Taliban/Al Qaida. What could go wrong.

  12. I totally disagree with him. Is nice to see other points of view. That being said it's amazing to me how people still think having a heavy involment in the middle East benefits the U.S .

  13. hold up. You sayin we should fund sunni jihadist again to fight a foreign government? was afghanistan not enough of a disaster? The middle east is far safer with iranian policy rather than the US one.

  14. Since America may be energy independent soon because of shale, there is no way we should devote these kinds of resources to the ME. America should buddy up with Russia and work on its REAL strategic competitor, China.

  15. forger all those think tank strategie
    the americans are not able to have a long term startegie, their politiker are driven by lobby groups and money of those groups
    specialy Trupm Administration is out of any reason

  16. Basically this Jew is saying that Americans should put their lives on line and risk World War 3 to save Israel

  17. Oh but we're not gonna talk about what the Saudis are doing in Yemen which is the same if not worse than what you just explained Iran is doing in Syria. How hypocritical..the double standards are real with this one.

  18. US should get the hell out of the Greater Iran. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan are Iran's backyard, the US has no business being there illegally

  19. THE LEVEL OF STUPIDITY PRODUCING SUCH A PROPAGANDA REALLY DEPENDS IT'S EFFECTIVENESS ON MASS AUDIENCE WITHOUT PROPER ACCESS TO MULTIPLE ONLINE CROSS REFERENCE SO WHY EVEN TRY TO LOOK FOOLISH ?

  20. America supports and funds terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and Afganistan. But, Iran and Russia fights the terrorist.

    So America is the world biggest terrorist state and funder of terrorism world wide. Americans are stupid and don't understand that we are 2018 now social media exists and the media is not just controlled by them anymore. People can see that America is a terrorist state and that you Americans are funding and arming terrorist.

    Everyone knows now that you Americans are stupid filthy herpes infested terrorist society and Russia and Iran are stronger and are the ones against terrorism. America's stupidity is just making Iran, Russia and China stronger and turning them into the super powers of the world which is how the world should be and it is already happening.

  21. America, what this Zionist is saying is for you to send your children to murder and be murdered in the Middle East, make America unsafe and spend your tax dollars so Israel can continue its apartheid regime and expand its illegal borders.

  22. The US did build up the Iraq military to the tune of 22 billion dollars before the pull out in 2012 and it did not help – more money for a military build up is not the answer , especially with the current pro-Iranian Iraq government

  23. firstly, America doesn't own the middle east so why the US thinks it needs to impose so much power is beyond me. secondly, love overpowers hate, and why this video was even created is absurd because your inevitably asking for hate and not a whole lot of love. like genuinely this video will only trigger those against the US even more like seriously do you guys not have any brain cells or something to see you will get slated for this video. I mean we should be trying to find PEACE not create MORE CONFLICT. honestly its so ridiculous and the fact some idiots refer to you people as 'intellectuals' is even more ridiculous.

  24. The YouTube comments section: otherwise known as the place where isolationists of all political stripes freely roam and spread their hateful, anti-American, anti-liberal propaganda.

  25. it's fun. to me how america says : "yeah we're gonna do that to stabilize middle east and lets add some more fire there and smoke here"
    like america is even in the middle east or owns it
    come on how can you talk about democracy and don't let middle eastern people choose their future?
    please GET THE HELL OUT OF MY COUNTRY 🇮🇷🇮🇷
    you're just another country like the others
    how would you feel if iran had the same number of military bases around america as you have around iran ? (32 bases , yeah really!)
    would you let anyone even talk about changing your regime?
    when the end comes for your government and the truth be revealed you'll know what i'm saying
    until then "good by" you'll definitely need it

  26. The problem is that the Iraq is in hand of Iran and no way iran let it go. Iraqis are also supporting Iran in any way.

  27. Syrian Opposition= ISIS. This guy is lying straight to our faces. We need to get the hell out of the region.
    Iran is a great civilization, frankly. They are stabilizing the region for the better. They are no threat to us. We need to focus on China and fixing our culture at home. Big time.

  28. "We would do a disservice to Khomeini to consider him simply as a symbol of segregated education and an opponent to women's rights," said the then-head of the State Department Intelligence Bureau, Philip Stoddard."

  29. Hold on. USA had Iran the western ally as the police of the peace w shah and they literally replaced shah w Khomeini. Literally. That’s what Americans did. Now they thing Iraq a recently made nation of tribes that have never been peaceful or a nation the way Persians have been for centuries to be “ source of peace”?? Are these people mad??? If there was a nation that could be peaceful and an ally of west it was only possible w sophisticated Persians as they’ve always been the SOURCE of stretgh in that region. Anyone knows history in USA? Hello? These people are mad. And destructive. They ruined Iran by Khomeini, by literally funding and instating thar mad man and establishing him through contra forever, and now they want to find another ally?????? Are they joking??? They had an ally. Shah of Iran. Nation of Iran. They intentionally gave that to Khomeini, their agent for Islam. Omgggg how audacious

  30. Just so I understand:

    1. Iran (a Middle Eastern country) should stop "interfering" in their own region because it's against America's interests?

    2. Iran are destabilising and cause violence so America should fund every terrorist group they can (including ISIS) to topple the legitimate government of Syria?

    3. The American activity in Afghanistan was a success?

    4. The newly American trained Iraqi army will do better than the last American trained Iraqi army (who routed from a couple of hundred terrorists)?

    5. America should intensify their war on Iran (and they have declared war, illegally) because Iran are the dangerous one here.

    I think this guy and Bibi might be special friends.

  31. actually you did support Syrian "opposition" the whole time, from the beginning. and guess what, they WERE al-Qaeda affiliates.

  32. 2:05" we should do the same idiotic thing which led to 9/11 attack" said the speaker.
    4:20 "we should send more troops like we did under bush administration and spend another trillion dollars while we are deeply in debt." the speaker continued.
    Now a word of advice to decent American people , don't try to fight iran because you would loose you should become an iranian ally no matter what regime is in charge or else you would loose the middle east as a whole

  33. Ha ha, this guy is actually telling us that arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets was a good idea, let's repeat something that gave rise to al qaeda, the Taliban and 9/11. Judging by the last 35 years of U.S foriegn policy it strikes me that peace and stability are the the opposite of what the U.S seeks in the middle east

  34. Here is a much simpler solution. Dismantle Israel. It was created by a UN resolution in 1948 and the Middle East has not seen peace ever since. UN should overturn its 1948 resolution, dismantle Israel and send all the Jews who came to Israel and their descendants back to the countries they came from since 1948. No bloodshed, no war, no suffering of Arabs and Palestinians necessary and peace will return to the region. Iran will then have no excuse to interfere in the region and Hezbollah will be redundant. No one is prepared to address the elephant in the room. It is really simple, as long as Israel exists, the world will not see peace. The 70 years old experiment has failed.

  35. This strategy sounds like a disaster for America. The best way to destroy Iran is to let them try to govern Iraq and Syria.

  36. I agree with his strategy. But only if you don't mind arming radical Islamists in Syria. Revolutions, riots and any form of armed insurgency is always done by radicalized factions. American revolutionaries, French revolutionaries, communist revolutionaries and guerillas, French anti Nazzi resistance all have one thing in common. They are all radicals and hardliners of their societies. In middle east the only people who are willing to pick up arms are radical Islamists. Moderate Muslims are not the ones who are gonna fight anyone.

  37. “The US should arm and train Syrian oppositions” What do you think the US has been doing for the past 5 years? Are you living under a rock?

  38. Why the fuck do US interests matter in the region. They're a long fucking way from home. Assad is the president of a government, not a "regieme". If thats the case, Trump is president of the "US regieme". A federal Syria is not the best for the Syrians, it best for US/Israel.

  39. General Wesley Clark about the 2001 'memo' referring to US plan to take out 7 countries — including Iran — after 9/11…
    This has been in the works for a long time

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd6vR1J0_6A

  40. What kind of bulls**t video is this?
    Financing terrorist to fight other terrorists?
    Just like EUA did with Al-Qaeda and later got back a 9/11?

  41. What a heartless scumbag people are running AEI really? They take Afghanistan as a good example for tactic. You together with Soviet destroyed a country that was not run with religion, and made it hotbed of terrorists and islamic fundamentalists. 40 years a go female police constables would go through Kabuls streets with no veil, there were no sign of Talibans. But you are proud of funding Taliban and Al-qaida and want to repeat that move in another country, and for what? Iran helped you defeat Taliban and Al Qaida in Afghanistan, it helped you in Iraq and it helped you in Syria to defeat ISIS, but you want to be ally with Saudi that you together created Taliban and Alqaida with and also funded ISIS. What kind of future do you want to create? Where all states in middle east are like Afghanistan and Saudi?

  42. Typical American analysis based on their own loop of misinformation. America has chosen wahhabism and stupid sheikhdoms of Middle East as allies. Americans are sponsors of the most backwarded dictators of the world.

  43. "Here's what we should do…" No. Here is what you should do: f#*k off and stop telling the rest of the world (ie. "we") what to do. Stop "meddling" in sovereign democratic state's elections (hypocrites) and stop with the "regime change". What is the definition of a fool? To keep repeating the same mistake over and over again, believing "this time it will be different." In the case of this moron, it literally is a "re-think", ie re-thinking the same failed "strategy" over and over, wasting trillions of dollars and millions of lives.
    Re-think your re-think.

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