>Twas a week before Christmas and 13 days before President Obama’s year end nuclear deadline for Iran, not a creature was stirring, except for a few tanks and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces who took over an oil well in Iraq’s southern Maysan province.
Iran, Iraq and the United States initially denied this claim. Iraq later confirmed the Iranian occupation, but commented that this happens often, due to some disagreement over the actual borderline between Iraq and Iran. While it may be commonplace, this particular incident had clear intent on the part of Iran.
The Iranian incursion into southern Iraq was a bold warning to President Obama and their year end deadline for Iran to negotiate or face action for its nuclear program. Iran is letting the United States and the rest of the world know that they do not plan to just sit idly. Iran is letting the United States know that they can escalate the conflict in Iraq and complicate the U.S. timetable for withdrawal and plans for Afghanistan. They are also letting the rest of the world know that if they try to pass sanctions on Iran, most notably natural gas, that they can threaten the stability of the world economy, mired in an enormous global recession, by disrupting the production and transport of oil, which the world economies are dependent upon. In particularly, the United States, Russia and China. Russia and China hold the keys to effective sanctions and avoidance of military action and oil disruption.
Another reason for Iran’s provocation is Iran’s displeasure with Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and his move to form an independent political coalition, instead of an Iranian-backed Iraqi National Alliance (INA). Iran is testing al-Maliki’s loyalty, who has yet to make a statement in response to the Iranian invasion of the oil well.
The United States has also been surprisingly absent from the “altercation.” The main question now is not how the United States and Iraq will respond. The most important question now is, “When and How will Israel respond?”