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29 בינואר 2020
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The Rotten Fruit of Diplomacy

One that has vanished from the public discourse regarding the Suleimani assassination: the historical context. The crisis was not born in recent weeks. And it did not begin with the Iranian attack on Saudi oil infrastructure or the downing of an American drone.
Focusing on Trump's decision-making alone adopts the Iranian narrative of "reaction" following "attack." The current tensions did not result of one single US foreign policy decision. They resulted from years of failed foreign policy on the part of the Obama administration.

Go back for a moment to 2008, when, at his inauguration, Obama promised to improve relations with the Muslim world. He invited Iran to the negotiating table, urging diplomacy over military force. At the same time, he announced the immediate withdrawal of 150,000 American soldiers from Iraq. The Iraqis refused to grant the American soldiers the required diplomatic status to remain in Iraq–not because of fears of American imperialism, but rather, because Iranian influence had filled the power vacuum in Iraq. Continuing his efforts to fashion a new Middle East, Obama explained that there should be a balance of power between Sunnis and Shiites. Recall that Iraq is a majority Shiite nation. And so, the result of re-balancing power away from the Sunnis was to lend more influence to Iran–the preeminent Shiite force in the region–and urge the Saudis to share their hegemony in the Muslim world.

Under this view, the Iranian Shiite minority spread its tentacles throughout the region, in plain sight of the Obama administration. The Iranians negotiated the nuclear agreement with the United States and the Europeans while, secretly, continuing to enrich uranium. At the same time, the global alliance fighting ISIS strengthened in the face of a multinational effort to defeat the radical group that had taken over wide swathes of Iraqi and Syran land. The United States approved of Iran's participation in this joint effort, thus allowing for the deployment of more Iranian troops to Iraq. And ironically, in 2014, Iran began to deploy its Shiite militias in Iraq under the command of al-Quds Force commander Suleimani.

The latest news confirms the end of the nuclear agreement and announces the final surrender of diplomacy to Iran's aggressive aspirations. Recognition of Iran as a nuclear state, with certain limitations for ten years, after which Iran will be a tinder box. And for the agreement itself? It is a decision by the UN Security Council so that its complete abolition is almost impossible.
The danger of the looming war over the region was not concocted by the Trump administration, nor was it the result of Suleimani's assassination. An empire does not build itself in a day, and the Iranian empire has for years built on the back of Obama's mistaken diplomacy. The current circumstance is the fruit of missteps over the course Obama's administration.

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