The U.S. commitment to the nuclear deal with Iran as a means to curtailing Tehran’s influence has allowed Iran to “outfox” the U.S. in myriad ways, former State Department official Aaron David Miller wrote in a CNN piece on Thursday.
“We’re playing checkers on the Middle East game board and Tehran’s playing three-dimensional chess,” wrote Miller
“As the Arab world melts down and lacks a traditional epicenter of strength and power, (Egypt, Iraq, Syria), Iran is rising,” he added.
Washington, meanwhile, “is tripping all over itself trying to figure out how to combat ISIS in Syria and yet not empower al-Assad (no answer), how to combat ISIS in Iraq without favoring the Shia-dominated government and alienating Iraqi Sunnis (no answer) and how to backstop the Saudis in Yemen without enabling them to make matters worse through their airstrikes (no answer).”
Miller – who is also Vice President for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – indicated that focusing squarely on the nuclear negotiations with Iran has enabled the country’s regional ascension, evinced by the country’s growing influence in Iraq, Syria and now Yemen. The U.S. has ignored its traditional allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, which has given Iran more impetus to expand.
Negotiations have provided a “cover” for countries like Russia to sell Iran weapons such as the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, he said.
Meanwhile Fox News reported on Thursday that a fleet of nine Iranian ships likely carrying arms shipments was turned away near the coast of eastern Yemen after being followed by U.S. warships stationed in the area.
Sources at the Pentagon told Fox News that “the ships, which include seven freighters and two frigates, had sailed southwest along the coast of Yemen heading in the direction of Aden and the entrance to the Red Sea.”
They were routed by the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the USS Normandy and a half-dozen other U.S. navy ships on Monday.