Iran seeks to create a regional hegemony in the Middle East, and is traced back to the Iranian Revolution of 1979. They’re being opposed by Saudi Arabia. Their campaign for influence is known as The Middle East Cold War. This cold war is waged on multiple levels… geopolitical, economic, and sectarian influence. The United States backs Saudi Arabia and the Saudi’s allies, while Russia and China supports Iran and its allies. The problem that occurs in a regional hegemony is that it tends to limit the development of peer competitors in that region.
The current rash of conflicts between the two, started with the Arab Spring of 2011. Iran and Saudi Arabia have faced off in several regional conflicts to include the Bahraini uprising (2011-2014), the Syrian Civil War (2011 – today), and the Yemeni Civil War (2015 – today).
The Iran-Israel Cold War gradually emerged from the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution (1979). Iran has declared that Iran’s ultimate aim is the dissolution of the state of Israel. Iran has been involved in conflicts pitting Syria, Lebanon, and the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, against Israel.
Iranian aggressions since 2019:
12 May – four commercial oil tankers were damaged in the Gulf of Oman.
17 June – the United States deployed another 1,000 troops to the Middle East after another two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.
20 June – Iran shoots down U.S. drone (RQ-4 Global Hawk).
18 July – An Iranian drone closed to within 1,000 yards of the U.S.S. Boxer, who then electronically jammed the drone, causing it to crash.
27 December – rocket attack on the K1 Air Base (Kaywan) in Iraq. One American contractor killed, and several American and Iraqi military injured.
31 December – Iranian backed military groups storm U.S. embassy in Iraq.
7 January 2020 – Iran launches 15 missiles into Iraq at U.S. military targets, in retaliation to Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s killing.
It is worth noting that in a meeting with Netanyahu (June 2016), Vladimir Putin described Israel and Russia as “unconditional allies” in “efforts to counter international terrorism”
In July of 2018, President Trump and Vladimir Putin agreed to cooperate in ensuring Israel’s security.
With the recent demise of Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the very limited and ultimately ineffective retaliatory strikes back from Iran, President Trump has the opportunity to finally do what no previous president has done… put a stop to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran recently declared that they will no longer abide by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal framework).
With the recent escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran, Trump has more than sufficient reasons to make a preemptive strike at Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And it seems that Putin has little interest in standing in the way should Trump attack Iran. I guess we shall see how this ultimately plays out in the coming months.