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The Unintended Consequences of US Wars in Middle East

In the complex geopolitical landscape of the Middle East, the United States' military interventions, rather than achieving their intended goals, have often led to unintended consequences.


The rationale behind George W. Bush's Iraq War II was to weaken Iran and its allies, particularly Hezbollah in Lebanon. However, the outcome had the opposite effect. The US inadvertently empowered Iran by supporting the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and their armed wing, the Badr Brigade, which later played a significant role in Iraqi politics. General David Petraeus, in an unexpected turn, integrated these groups into the Iraqi army.


Similarly, President Obama's intervention in Syria aimed to weaken Iran by removing Bashar al-Assad, whom Iran supported. Instead, Assad sought assistance from Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia, making him more dependent on Tehran. The rise of ISIS and the subsequent Iraq War III further complicated matters, with the US inadvertently aiding Iranian interests in Iraq. The continued presence of US forces in Syria seems more about blocking Iran's influence than combating ISIS, as claimed.


The war in Yemen, supported by Vice President Biden during the Obama administration, targeted the Houthi regime to curb Iranian influence. However, the brutal conflict, which deliberately targeted civilians, ended up bringing the Houthis closer to Iran. Despite US assistance against Al Qaeda, the Obama administration shifted its stance, indirectly aiding the terror group. The ongoing conflict in Yemen has now spilled into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, further complicating regional dynamics in the Red Sea.


Donald Trump continued these policies throughout his presidency, achieving little. The conflict in Yemen persisted until Saudi Arabia recognized the Houthi victory in early 2022. President Biden, however, threatens to escalate the situation by potentially turning Israel's actions in Gaza into a regional war against Shia-controlled countries. This could have catastrophic consequences and further empower Iran.


As the Biden administration contemplates its approach to Iran in light of a recent attack on a US base in Jordan, there is a pressing need to reassess strategies to avoid inadvertently empowering Iran and further destabilizing the already volatile Middle East. The consequences of past actions serve as a cautionary tale for future policy decisions in the region.



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