News Analysis |
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that the suicide attack carried out on May 31st this year on a vehicle carrying US armed forces personnel was carried out on the behest of Tehran. The responsibility was immediately claimed via a phone call made to the associated press by Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid.
Recently, the United States had straight away accused Iran of orchestrating the attack on a Norwegian and a Japanese oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Few weeks before, four tankers which included two belonging to Saudi state oil corporation Aramco were targeted in open sea at Fujairah. Although the United States did not officially accuse Iran of the attack, President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton was adamant that Iran was behind it.
It is an open truth that President Donald Trump is surrounded by the anti-Iran hawks like John Bolton and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo himself who wants a decisive, military specific option to be taken against the Iranian regime.
“Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Mike Pompeo said. It was, however, surprising to accuse Iran at a time of convenience and weeks after the referred Kabul attack, hence he was asked by the journalist to clarify the ambiguity. “I can’t share any more of the intelligence,” he said. “But I wouldn’t have said it if the intelligence community hadn’t become convinced that this was the case.”
The relations between two sides were not always cooperative as there was a time when Iran was mulling an attack over Taliban controlled Afghanistan in retaliation to the killing of Iranian diplomats and a journalist by hands of Taliban in Mazar-i-Sharif. But the U.S invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 brought along a paradigm shift in Iran’s policy toward the Taliban.
Since then, Iran has provided safe havens to the few of the top leaders of the Taliban movement and has been accused of allowing the Taliban to use its territory for Narco-trafficking. With the emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan, which unlike malleable Taliban is a hardcore Anti-Shiite force, Iran is facing a security challenge and hence pumping up the Taliban to do their bidding against the ruthless ISIS force. In fact, the massive success of the Taliban against ISIS is also partly accredited to various spheres of Iranian support.
Taliban is not a Proxy of Iran
Though both Taliban and Tehran are working together due to their need, however, correlation does not mean causation. Iran certainly has proxies all over the Middle East and Mike Pompeo is right when he says that the recent rocket attack on the U.S embassy in Baghdad was carried out by Iran’s Shiite proxies inside the country, but Taliban are certainly not a delegated force of Iran.
The options for the current U.S administration are limited now due to their own scheme of decisions such as unilateral withdrawal from JCPOA.
The group is independent to carry out its offense and being the indigenous fighters, they do not need external assistance to fight inside Afghanistan. There could be an intelligence sharing at some level, but the Taliban would never commit to a belligerent task just because Iran wants them to.
U.S Administration Seems Desperate
It is an open truth that President Donald Trump is surrounded by the anti-Iran hawks like John Bolton and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo himself who wants a decisive, military specific option to be taken against the Iranian regime. But two factors so far have been the reluctant elements to the equation. First being President Donald Trump’s lack of interest to pursue another adventure in the South Asia region, especially when he is trying to pull the U.S out of one at the moment.
It is also linked with the upcoming re-election as in the campaign for the previous one, he promised the people that he will deal with matters more pressing to internal safety of prosperity of the United States. The other reason is the lack of enthusiasm from America’s traditional allies to push for escalation with Iran. Iraq and Afghanistan are still fresh in the memory of Britain and the rest of the NATO allies.
The options for the current U.S administration are limited now due to their own scheme of decisions such as unilateral withdrawal from JCPOA. Mike Pompeo offered Iran with talks with any preconditions but Tehran is no longer willing to trust the United States.