Tensions flare on the Iraq-Syria border as Iran and the United States fight for dominance in the Middle East. The latest attack launched by Iran in the early hours of October is said to be retaliatory. Iran claims to have been aiming at jihadists suspected of attacking the Iranian city of Ahvaz in late September. However, it seems clear that the true targets of the attack were the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and USA, who are accused of supporting the attack. The missiles that landed merely miles away from coalition camps were emblazoned with slogans calling for the “death to America” and “death to the house of the Saud.” As the regional conflict becomes increasingly complex, it is clear that peace is becoming increasingly hard to attain.

Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesperson for the coalition against ISIS, declared in a statement to the media that “Iranian forces did conduct no notice strikes last night and we see open source reports stating that they were targeting militants it blamed for the recent attack on an Iranian military parade in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.” He confirmed that whilst attacks were in range of coalition troops, none were in immediate danger and that the damage was still being assessed.

Media reports acknowledged the nature of strikes but both Saudi Arabia and the United States have denied responsibility. Pentagon spokesperson Commander Sean Robertson called the attack a provocation against the coalition, stating that “firing any missiles through uncoordinated airspace is a threat to civil and military aviation.” It is unclear whether Iran sought permission from Iraq to conduct military operations through its neighbour’s airspace. However, coalition experts believe word would have been spread through communication channels if permission had been granted. This trespass made by Iran has heightened tensions. “Given the complex nature of the battle space, such strikes potentially jeopardize the forces who are actively fighting ISIS in Syria,” said Robertson.

The conflict in the Middle East is highly complex and confused. As coalition forces aim to eliminate remaining ISIS strongholds, tensions between nations create further damage. Iran’s attempt to eradicate jihadi’s accused of killing dozens of civilians and soldiers should be carried out in conjunction with coalition efforts. As there is no evidence of the participation of Saudi Arabian or American forces in the Ahvaz attack, nor reasonable motivation for their involvement, Iran should cease blame. Cooperation between strong nations with similar aims, regardless of their political affiliations, is necessary to drive ISIS from their positions and restore peace. Civilians in Iraq and Syria are put at unnecessary risk in what has become a political game against countries for virtually identical purposes.

Whilst Iran and the United States aim for the destabilisation of ISIS, longstanding conflict between the nations prevents cooperation. Tensions stem from the 1979 Iranian Revolution in the course of which the countries went from closest allies to rivals. The USA then supported the then-President of Iraq Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War; most recently President Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “Iran’s growing role in the region stems from its positive approach which doesn’t sit well with the US and its allies,” said Iranian political analyst Fuad Izadi earlier this year. In the race for dominance in the region, past tensions prevent these rivals uniting to rid the Middle East of rebel violence.

Tensions between Iran and the coalition led by the United States and Saudi Arabia continue to mar a landscape already fraught with violence. Historical rivalries prevent these nations from creating a united front which could see the end of destabilising rebel attacks and potentially restore peace in the region. Without cooperation between forces, the war represents more than the need to eradicate ISIS forces. This conflict demonstrates the political nature of warfare and stands as a barrier to peace and the liberation of civilians in the region. Cooperation and peace negotiation’s between world powers is essential to ending war in the Middle East.

Source » theowp