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The Trump administration has conveyed no clear or realistic goals that would be served by the use of military force against Iran.
Internet shutdowns are not new, but they have become increasingly popular instruments among dictators and autocrats who want to control their citizenry and preempt political threats.
Washington must get tough on violations of the UN arms embargo and hold Libya’s warring sides accountable for their conduct; it must also pursue a more inclusive governance framework for Libya’s future—one that does not include Haftar.
The Trump administration needs to stop taking Israel and Saudi advice on Iran and instead look to its own needs and interests.
There is one thing that the war avoiders and the warmongers should be able to agree on: the need to prevent an accidental or unintended conflict between the United States and Iran.
On his first visit overseas as U.S. president, Trump pledged to improve security and relations with the Middle East. But that is not what has actually happened.
Unless the United States redirects its approach in Syria, civilian stabilization programs will not achieve their stated objective: the “enduring defeat” of the Islamic State.
Coercive diplomacy—when both elements of the approach are carefully synchronized—can deliver. On the other hand, coercion without diplomacy can lead to huge blunders.
As the most powerful external actor involved in the conflict, Washington’s signals matter. Trump’s call appears to rest on a mistaken but well-trodden narrative, advanced by Haftar’s forces, his Arab backers, and his western sympathizers.
The Trump administration’s moves might be just saber-rattling, but they could easily propel the United States toward a military confrontation with Iran.