Is Iran testing Donald Trump?

Mshari Al Thaydi

By : Mshari Al Thaydi

Was the Khomeini republic testing the will power of the new US President Donald Trump when it launched a ballistic missile that traveled more than 900 kilometers and then exploded before reaching its target in a “failed experiment” as a Pentagon official described it? The experiment is a clear violation of the UN Resolution 2231, which prevents Iran from carrying out such acts for eight years.

Russia, through its Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, tried to underestimate the magnitude of what happened and to interpret the international resolution in a way that serves Iran. What Europeans, Russians and the Khomeini camp apprehend is what Trump, and the new “hawks” in his administration, are thinking about.

If this missile test was carried out during Obama’s waning phase, it would have peacefully passed by. John Kerry would have just issued statements voicing worry and offered cold academic advice. But things are now different considering the new American administration. The US immediately called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting in response to this violation.

Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said he will work with other legislators and Trump’s government to hold Tehran accountable after this missile show it performed. The European Union which is fearful of the new American president’s intentions criticized Iran’s act and called on Tehran to “refrain from activities which deepen mistrust.”

If this missile test was carried out during Obama’s waning phase, it would have peacefully passed by. John Kerry would have just issued statements voicing worry and offered cold academic advice

Mshari al-Thaydi

Angering Trump?

Everyone wants to avoid angering Trump rather than looking into the essence of the problem in the entire region’s context – something that the weak Obama administration and the EU also failed to do.

We face a new culture and different standards and everyone is trying to test them today. Perhaps the expectations which the Jordanian King voiced during his recent meeting with members of parliament and officials about the dangerous situation in the Middle East will turn out right. He said the region in 2017 is going through its most difficult phase, adding that he expects there will be major changes during this year.

We must recall Jordanian King Abdullah II’s great experience in predicting international and regional developments. In December 2004, it was him who warned of the formation of the Shiite crescent in the region. He coined that term during his famous interview with the Washington Post. At the time, it was an early and shocking warning.

How will Trump deal with this new Iranian challenge just two weeks after he was appointed president? It is said – and we know – that Trump shares Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s vision of the nature of the Iranian threat. We have witnessed that during his recent phone call with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.

Everyone is in a state of alert and everyone wants to test the new American determination and its limits.

Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.


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