US President Trump “song” during the G7 French summit, saying that if conditions are right, he is willing to hold talks with Iranian President Rohani. The international community has paid close attention to this and has speculated about how likely it is for the two to meet and whether the US-Iranian relationship can be eased. In fact, since the US government took office in 2017, the primary issue facing the Middle East policy is how to deal with Iran, a regional power. The 2003 Iraq War broke the “double containment” policy set by the Clinton administration. Losing Iraq’s checks and balances, the influence of the Iranian region has expanded rapidly. At the beginning of the 21st century, Iran has emerged as a rising power and has become a regional power with global influence. This has become the most important factor affecting the pattern of the Middle East and the biggest challenge facing the United States in the Middle East. The Iranian issue is not handled well, and the US Middle East policy cannot generally proceed smoothly.
The Obama administration is facing the same problem. In 2011, the United States sanctioned Iran, intending to force it to submit and accept zero uranium enrichment. In the absence of sanctions to achieve the goal, Obama realized that if he did not want to wage war, he could only compromise with Iraq. In the end, the United States accepted less than 5% of Iranian uranium enrichment, which initiated the 2012 US-Israel secret negotiations in Oman and eventually led to the Iranian nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan) in 2015.
Trump criticized the Iranian nuclear agreement as the worst agreement during the campaign because the United States kept all primary sanctions against Iraq and could not make economic exchanges with Iran, while other countries could re-enter the Iranian market. Therefore, withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear agreement and exerting pressure on Iran to reach a new agreement has become the basic idea of the Trump administration’s policy toward Iraq. On this basis, the current US government’s policy toward Iraq can be roughly divided into three stages: exit agreement, extreme pressure, and controllable upgrade.
The withdrawal from the January 2017 to the exit of the Iranian nuclear agreement in May 2018 is the first phase. Europe tried to persuade the United States to stay within the framework of the Iranian nuclear agreement but failed. The withdrawal of the Iranian nuclear agreement in Trump’s view is to fulfill the campaign promise, and it is also a political stance against Obama. He wants to break Obama’s most important political legacy.
From the withdrawal of the Iranian nuclear agreement to the cancellation of the import of Iranian oil exemptions from all countries in May 2019 is the second phase. The US intention is to put pressure on the Iranian limit and make Iran yield or collapse. Once Iran yields, the United States can give Iran a good return. A strong Iranian country attached to the United States can be a key support for US dominance in the Middle East. The extreme pressures include both sanctions against Iran and regional influences pushed back to Iran in countries such as Syria and Iraq.
It is the third stage since May 2019. The US’s cessation of export exemptions for Iran’s oil exports means that any country’s purchase of Iranian oil may incur US sanctions and economic exchanges with Iran may not use the US dollar. The intention of the United States is to seriously weaken Iran’s economic strength, cause social unrest within the country, and be unable to support regional allies. The escalation of Iran’s extreme pressure also includes sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical sector, sanctions against Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei and Foreign Minister Zarif, and the cessation of exemptions for Iran’s enriched uranium and heavy water exports, forcing Iran to continue to perform Iran’s nuclear The obligation of the agreement. The extreme pressure escalation has expanded from the economic fields of energy and finance to nuclear and political fields. However, the US government must maintain a controllable upgrade, that is, it will not cause the United States to fall into a large-scale ground war against Iraq.
From May 2018 to May 2019, Iran remained restrained and did not respond too much to the US withdrawal agreement and extreme pressure. Iran believes that US sanctions are economic and psychological wars and economic terrorism. Since May 2019, Iran has changed its strategy and began to implement “excessive restraint”. Under the premise of avoiding military conflict with the United States, it is necessary for the United States and its regional allies to pay the price, including the shooting down of the US “Global Hawk”. Machine, seizure of a British tanker and breakthrough in the uranium reserve limit in the nuclear program. It seems that unless resorting to military means, economic sanctions and political pressure alone, the United States cannot achieve the policy goal of letting Iran surrender or collapse. The US-Iran confrontation is in a stalemate, and the Trump administration’s policy of extreme pressure on Iran is in trouble.
While suppressing Iran, the current US government strongly supported regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and designed two policies of the “Middle East Strategic Alliance” and the “Middle East Peace Plan.”
At the beginning of 2017, the Trump administration proposed the “Arab NATO” concept to create a security structure similar to NATO in the Middle East. After Trump visited Saudi Arabia in May 2017, the idea appeared in the media in the name of “Middle East Strategic Alliance”. The idea was to form a security alliance with the six Gulf States of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Egypt and Jordan. The United States provides security for it. However, the Qatar diplomatic crisis in June 2017 and the murder of the Saudi journalist in October 2018 created serious obstacles to the establishment of this security framework. In February 2019, representatives of eight Arab countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council discussed with the United States on the “Middle East Strategic Alliance” in Washington, but then Egypt announced its withdrawal in April. There has been no substantial progress in the advancement of the Middle East strategic alliance.
To promote the Arab countries and Israel to jointly oppose Iran, it is necessary to make progress in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. US Presidential Advisor Kushner, Middle East Special Envoy Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel Friedman are the core figures in the design and promotion of the “Middle East Peace Plan”, which is also titled “Century Transaction”.
The idea of the plan is to reshape the Palestinian-Israeli peace process as far as possible in accordance with Israel’s demands and to provide the Palestinian people with some real economic benefits in exchange for the support of the Palestinian people and pressure on the Palestinian National Authority against the plan. In December 2017, the United States announced that it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In June 2019, at the economic forum held in Bahrain, the United States first publicized the economic content of its “century transaction.” This program has been widely rejected by the Palestinian side and the response of the Arab countries is very limited.
In the Middle East, the Trump administration supports Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and other regional allies to suppress and isolate Iran. Its three policies, namely, pressure on Iraqi restrictions, “Middle East strategic alliance” and “century trading” all point to this goal. At present, it seems that these policies have limited effect or are difficult to advance; the relationship between the United States and major powers such as Turkey and Egypt has not been strengthened. The confrontation and stalemate with Iran have severely restricted the space and flexibility of the US Middle East policy, which has largely hampered US energy and consumed US resources, making it difficult for the United States to get out of the Middle East and reduce investment, delaying and delaying the United States. Strategic contraction in the Middle East and adjustment of the global strategic layout.