Amidst his flurry of activity, Donald Trump imposed additional economic sanctions on Iran. This is a rite of passage for any American politician wanting to be taken seriously as a foreign policy leader.
Since the Iranians gave the US a black eye in 1979/80, (the movie about Operation Eagles Claw has not been made yet), they have been the favourite victim for United States politicians looking for someone to bully. Their crime was to throw out the son of the dictator that the CIA and MI6 imposed upon them in place of a democratically elected government in 1953 (for the benefit of BP Oil). Many sanctions have been in place since that time.
Donald Trump imposed sanctions because the Iranians tested a ballistic missile (something they are entitled to do under international law) and Yemini Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi frigate. The Saudis have been bombing and wrecking Yemen with American support of the last couple of years. Trump does not realise that Houthis and Iranian Shia are about as different as Pentecostals and Anglicans.
The White House spokesperson mistakenly said that the Houthis had attacked an American ship. I suppose that was a reasonable mistake, because the US probably supplied the ship a long with $billions of military equipment they have supplied to the Saudis.
Trump confirmed that the Iranians are fostering terrorism. He does not seem to realise that Shia terrorism is not a problem these days. The real problem is the Sunni terrorism that has been sponsored and financed by the Saudis all over the world. Yet all American presidents have turned blind eye to this Saudi duplicity, because they love their oil and the armaments industry needs the sales.
The Iranians began developing the technology for missiles after the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Back then, before his nasty phase, Saddam Hussein was an American ally. With American encouragement and reconnaissance support, he invaded Iran. Vastly outgunned, the Iranians engaged in a World War 1 style defence with massive casualties. Nearly a hundred thousand civilians died, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of military deaths.
Saddam Hussein launched chemical weapons against Iranian cities using ballistic missiles. Iran had no missiles to strike back against Iraqi cities.
Americans are scared of Iran, but the military spending is far greater among their neighbours in the Middle East.
Gulf Cooperation Council member countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and their flunkies) spend approximately $98.5 billion on their militaries annually, compared to Iran’s $10.6 billion. Data released by the U.S. Congressional Research Service indicates that the GCC acquired $38.5 billion worth of new arms between 2004 and 2011, thirty-five times more than Iran’s acquisition of $1.1 billion for the same period. Similarly, data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute indicates that the Gulf states have a massive lead over Iran in terms of spending on military munitions.Iranians are spooked by this massive military build up by their traditional enemies. That is why they want better weapons.
In addition to cutting-edge military wares, the Gulf countries enjoy access to superior American training, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems, and Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Battle Management capabilities (C4I/BM).
Americas should be more concerned about their Middle Eastern clients, as they are armed to the teeth with weapons and technology supplied by the USA, the UK and France.
The Iranians should not complain too much about Donald Trump’s feeble sanctions. Others have been far tougher. When Ronald Reagan was president in 1988, the US navy shot down an Iranian airliner killing 290 crew and passengers, many of the woman and children, by mistake of course.