Midnight Sanctions on Iran
With Trump’s sanctions on Iran going into effect at midnight tonight, Europe appears to be coming around the attractiveness of the US market over that of Iran with major players like Mercedes Benz pulling out and more following soon. Iran’s recent naval demonstrations in the Gulf in place of talks with the US solidify the escalation of the conflict. Sanctions will target the Central Bank of Iran, an important extra-constitutional arm of Iran’s regime.
At the close of the Syrian Civil War, a long anticipated conflict with Iran is underway and with Syria in no fit shape to brace the coming impact on Iran. Even with President Assad now firmly seated, the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis remains stressed as Syria begins the long expensive road to reconstruction for which Putin requests US support. The end to the Syrian Civil War leaves many questions still on the table. Perhaps chief among them is the relationship of Israel and the CIA to ISIS.
After Syria, Questions Remain
The stream of evidence from wikileaks to mainstream media have called out the Israeli and CIA historic affiliation supported by or rather demanded from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the GCC in order to destabilize the Assad-Iran-Hezbollah regional alliance backed by Russia and China. It appears that ISIS was infiltrated early on at the leadership level and then steered in the interests of Israel, US, and Arab allies in Iraq, Syria, and Africa not always producing desired outcomes. With the fall of Assad was to come a Muslim Brotherhood arm from Egypt according to some reports with serious investigation needed.
Competition over resources and access routes has also taken place between allies in this conflict. Qatar’s interest in removing Assad regarded a pipeline for natural gas through Syria to Turkey but was blocked by Saudi Arabia. The reconstruction of Syria will solidify Russian continued presence there ensuring it’s leadership in the natural gas market. Qatar is the third largest producer of liquid natural gas after Russia and Iran. Putin may have bargained for his interests in Syria for Trump’s interests in Iran. The reconstruction of Syria and the Iran conflict in time will tell.
Left to the Mongols
However, China may not easily abandon its investments in the Iran including a major transit to Europe through both Iran and Pakistan and will likely dodge sanctions on Iran as before the nuclear agreement. If China’s loan agenda succeeds in Iran and Pakistan, it will be as another Mongolian occupation. The new sanctions will be sure to push the Iranian economy further into illicit trade and virtual currency.
Protesters have already taken to the streets to rage against the clerical leadership responsible. While sanctions have not worked in the past as a method for ensuring regime change, the Trump administration claims its goal is different. It seeks to change the behavior of the Iranian government not the government itself. The factor for consideration here will be its nuclear and missile programs. Threats of closing the Strait of Hormuz are first sign of provocation.