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Is it Jaw-Jaw or War With Iran?

Is it Jaw-Jaw or War With Iran?

Is it Jaw-Jaw or War With Iran?

Strategically, economically and politically, the Islamic Republic of Iran seems to be in almost desperate straits.

“Jaw-jaw is better than war-war,” is attributed, wrongly, say some historians, to Winston Churchill. Still, the words lately came to mind.

While last week ended with a hopeful U.S.-Iranian prisoner exchange that was hailed by President Donald Trump — “Thank you to Iran for a very fair negotiation. See, we can make a deal together” — a few days earlier, the week produced more ominous news.

In a startling front-page story Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is to send 14,000 troops to the Middle East, in addition to the 14,000 we have sent since May.

The reason for the reinforcements, said the Journal, is Iran.

“The Trump administration is considering a significant expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East to counter Iran, including dozens more ships … and as many as 14,000 additional troops.”

By week’s end, Defense Secretary Mark Esper had knocked down the Journal story, saying no major new deployment is planned and U.S. forces in the region are sufficient to deal with the situation in Iran.

And what is that situation?

Strategically, economically and politically, the Islamic Republic of Iran seems to be in almost desperate straits.

U.S. sanctions have slashed Iran’s oil sales from 2.5 million barrels per day to, by one estimate, 400,000 barrels. After the Nov. 15 announcement of a 50% hike in gas prices to close a budget gap, a week of riots exploded. Within days, protesters were calling for the overthrow of the regime.

Security forces answered with gunfire. In the bloodiest political violence since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, hundreds were killed, with thousands wounded. Amnesty International says it has documented more than 200 deaths.

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