What's behind rising US-Iran tensions in the Gulf?


US Lawmakers from the Republican and Democratic parties are asking President Donald Trump's administration to provide detailed information on its Iran policy.

Anwar Gargash, the minister of foreign affairs for the United Arab Emirates, told reporters in Dubai that the Saudi-led coalition will "retaliate hard" for attacks on civilian targets.

The United States, which had a large troop presence in Iraq from 2003-2011 after invading to topple dictator Saddam Hussein, sent troops back there in 2014 to help fight Islamic State.

"Iraqi people are fed up with war", said Rubaei inside his cosmetics shop in Baghdad's bustling Karrada neighbourhood.

Some US lawmakers worry that Iran's proxy forces could attack US facilities in Iraq and Syria.

It comes amid fears Donald Trump's administration is sliding towards war with Iran following the deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.

"It is - what we have said is exactly in accordance with paragraph 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal", he said, adding that "it is based on our rights to lower our commitments, to somehow try not to do certain things that we were doing in the past".

In the US Congress Democrats demanded to know why the Trump administration was boosting its forces in the Gulf and, according to media reports, considering military plans including the possibility of sending 120,000 US troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American assets.

A few hours later, the US Central Command violated its own protocol of not contradicting an official of an allied power like Britain and issued an unusual rebuke.

"This is an imminent threat to our personnel", said a second official.

The secretary told reporters on the flight that his meetings with Iraq's president and prime minister were meant to demonstrate US support for "a sovereign, independent" Iraq, free from the influence of neighbouring Iran.

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Iran has long supported a network of proxy forces across the Middle East, backing militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen as part of a broader struggle for influence. Washington says it acted on intelligence reports of Iranian actions.

And lest we forget, the never-Trumpers and neocons in exile nursing their bruised egos, whose idea of sweet revenge is a USA return to the Mideast in a war with Iran, which then brings an end to the Trump presidency. India just hosted Iran's foreign minister. "So I'm concerned, as it is all of us", added that official.

He told senior officials that his country won't negotiate with the USA, calling such talks "poison", but he also said, "Neither we, nor them is seeking war".

Germany and the Netherlands said Wednesday they were suspending training of soldiers in Iraq; German defense ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said there was "generally heightened alert, awareness" among soldiers in the region, but gave no specifics.

Another potential pretext for USA military intervention is Iran's nuclear program.

The Trump administration, which has disdained truth and consciously snubbed its allies, is now facing a tough burden of proof and history as it barrels towards a confrontation with Iran.

The rebels' Al-Masirah television reported six strikes on the Arhab district of Sanaa province, followed by further strikes, including at least one in Sanaa itself.

In the last decade, Iraq has become Iran's biggest export market for non-oil goods.

Relations between Tehran and Washington have become even more tense in recent weeks, a year after Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Such a war of aggression would not only drag the entire region into a bloody conflict, it could become the antechamber of a third world war involving the USA and its nuclear-armed "great power" rivals, Russian Federation and China.