Gunpowder, gasoline and matches

For a century, especially since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, in the Middle East any excuse is good to resort to violence: the historical schism between Sunnis and Shiites, European colonialism and its artificial borders, states that are not much more that tribes with flags, the genesis of Israel, the Cold War, fundamentalism, tribalism and all kinds of ethnic clashes, nationalism, populism, the persistence of totalitarian regimes and the inability to achieve political changes in a peaceful way … It can be said that it is a part of the world with an incendiary surplus of gunpowder and gasoline. With the aggravation of many arsonists bent on playing with matches.

The ongoing escalation that Washington faces with Tehran complicates all this explosive landscape, impossible to understand without other keys such as the pulse for hegemony in the region that faces Iran and Saudi Arabia, the importance of the Iranian threat to Israel and the full tuning in the form of a blank check maintained by President Trump and the re-elected Prime Minister Netanyahu. Since the American withdrawal a year ago of the international nuclear deal with Iran, the temperature has only risen through economic sanctions, alleged threats of imminent attacks, preventive military deployments, revised attack plans and even worrying sabotage to traffic maritime oil.

The influential return of the "neocons" to US diplomacy has contributed in a decisive way to this crisis with so many ramifications, starting with the oil funnel that is the Strait of Hormuz through which transits around 30% of all the oil that is exported and consumed in the world. Mike Pompeo, head of the State Department, and John Bolton, from the National Security Council of the White House, have managed to impose a maximalist approach. In the face of such a hard line, Trump's isolationism and his repulsion to protracted conflicts abroad are becoming the last safeguard to avoid a war with Iran …

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