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How Months of Miscalculation Led the U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War

Authors: Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman and Farnaz Fassihi

Affiliation: The New York Times

Organization/Publisher: The New York Times 

Date/Place: February 13, 2020, U.S.

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 2,659  


Keywords: Conflict miscalculation, Regional rivalry, Regional Dominance, Gulf, Iran, U.S.


The ongoing US – Iran confrontations at different levels have taken a pattern of a Chess game. None of the two players were able to predict one another’s actions properly and accurately, their miscalculation putting the Middle East in a summer of violence. After Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” and Iranian retaliations against Saudi oil reserves and oil tankers near  the Strait of Hurmuz, the UAE wanted to broker a separate peace — avoiding violence that could shatter its decades-long effort to present itself as a modern and stable oasis in a volatile region. After US spies alerted the White House of a possible peace deal between Iran and Gulf nations such as UAE and Saudi, alarms went off inside the White House; the united front against Iran, built by the Trump administration over more than 2 years, seemed to be failing. Despite crippling economic sanctions,  a recent CIA analysis concluded that Iran is not likely to enter direct talks with the US. Even Israel’s Mossad intelligence service admitted that the escalating tensions have made Iran more determined to gain a nuclear weapon. Iran, with its recent ongoing involvement in Syria and its previous unpredicted attacks on Saudi oil reserves, has shown that it is willing to risk everything to have a better position for any future deal with US.

By: Abdullah Jurat, CIGA Research Associate



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