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A lot of friends and colleagues have asked me over the past few days how worried I am about the current situation with Iran. The short answer is, very. Let me explain. <thread>
In the nearly 9 years I have been working @WinWithoutWar and working on these issues, this is by far the closest the United States has been to a major military conflict with Iran. Neither side has reason or intention to back down at this point, and all signs point to war. 2/
The US is currently led by a man already impeached & awaiting trial for putting the nation's interests second to his own on foreign policy. He is erratic, reckless, and has demonstrated time and again that he has no understanding of basic facts or complexity of these issues. 3/
Over the past 3 years, Trump has taken one action after another from walking away from the successful Iran deal to staffing his cabinet with the most rabid anti-Iran war hawks around. He's flooded the region with weapons and US troops and severed all diplomatic ties w Iran. 4/
Now, at home, he's facing an election, having just 4 years ago revealed that he thinks war with Iran would be a good election year strategy. His poll numbers are awful and a majority of voters want him removed from office in his upcoming Senate trial. 5/ axios.com/trump-iran-war…
In short, Trump is desperate to change the channel to anything else. He's looking for something that makes him look "presidential" and we already know that he thinks that blowing things up does just that (thanks everyone who cheeredleaded his Syria strikes!). 6/
On the Iranian side, after having gone out on the diplomatic limb, Trump has sent a signal that the US can't be trusted and, more importantly, only understands one thing, force. They no doubt have noticed how Trump fawns over Kim Jung Un and caved to Erdogan and others. 7/
With their economy suffering (due in part to their own mismanagement and corruption), they were facing massive civil unrest only weeks ago, but now find themselves with a united public demanding revenge. 8/ nytimes.com/2020/01/04/wor…
Beyond the temporary rallying around the flag, Iranians have a notoriously resiliency built over decades of hardship during the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s and the 'Axis of evil' years of the Bush Administration's previous efforts at 'maximum pressure.' 9/
One also has to wonder what kind of support they'll find from Russia, who fought alongside Soleimani in Syria (with horrific, disgusting, and tragic results), and China, who is unlikely to be in Trump's corner following his trade war. 10/
Now, with both sides telegraphic more violence, war, and suffering, we should take them at their word. That does not mean we'll see an #IraqWar style invasion and occupation, but in some ways the scenarios here are even more concerning. 11/
While it's true portions of the region are already living with years of conflict (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen), other parts could soon find themselves drawn into a similar nightmare as Iran and the US take this war on a tour. 12/
There is no way of knowing where the current, fragile peaces that are held together with string in the Middle East might falter, but whether it is Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or anywhere else, the conditions would not take much for a spark to ignite a new fire. 13/
Trump may think he can just strike his 52 targets and declare 'mission accomplished' and Iran may think their various proxies can disperse the pain in unpredictable ways, but the truth is, no one knows. And that's what's terrifying. 14/
The one thing we do know, is that unless one side, or both, take a step back and break the cycle of escalation, there are dark days ahead for the region. And those who will suffer are not likely to be the political leaders in Tehran and Washington. 15/
Whether it is the soldiers ordered into combat in a pointless war the has no possible 'victory' or the those trying to simply live their lives while the bombs fall around them, it will be the people who suffer. It is always the people who suffer. It's time to say no to war. 16/16
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