Tensions have appeared to increase between the United States and Iran, with the U.S. ordering the removal of all non-emergency staff from Iraq this week, citing credible threats from Iran.
But a new report suggests that there may have been a miscommunication between the two countries that led to each side increasing their military presence because that’s what they believed the other country was doing.
The current tensions seem to be the result of a report from U.S. Intelligence, which claimed that Iran was directing militias to attack U.S. forces in the Middle East. So the U.S. increased its military presence in the region.
However, Iran has denied those claims, and the head of the Iranian Parliament called for emergency talks in either Iraq or Qatar to help calm tensions with the U.S.
The latest report states that “Intelligence collected by the U.S. government shows Iran’s leaders believe the U.S. planned to attack them, prompting preparation by Tehran for possible counterstrikes.”
It is essentially suggesting that there was a misunderstanding, and that Iran may have been preparing for counter strikes—not because it planned to attack in the first place, but because it was getting ready to respond if the U.S. attacked first.
We have seen reports indicating that President Trump does not want to go to war with Iran, and when he was questioned about whether the U.S. was preparing to send 120,000 troops to the region to prepare for a war, he denied them.
It is interesting to see Trump’s stance at a time when we have U.S. officials like National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo practically beating the war drums with the rhetoric they use when they talk about and threaten to attack Iran.
So it does raise the question of whether Trump is on one page, and his top officials are on another, and what that will mean for U.S. foreign policy.