The Middle East: Trump Blunders In

As the United States under Trump lurches between withdrawal of its troops from Iraq and Syria and sending more, between reasonable restraint in its use of force and then suddenly assassinating a regional leader, it has worsened the anarchic conditions that have waxed and waned in the region since the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the Gulf War that followed six months later. In the intervening years the US destroyed an already fragile society and unleashed sectarian violence in Iraq, prolonged a devastating civil war in Syria while inadvertently arming jihadists, negotiated then revoked a historic nuclear deal with Iran and sought to provoke a civil war there by strangling its economy, whipsawed its Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS, helped Saudis and Emiratis wreak havoc in Yemen, and along with its NATO allies contributed to the fragmentation of Libya. In the process, it has left the long-standing competition between Israel and Iran for regional primacy unmediated and unresolved.
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