U.S. Narrowly Avoids Military Clash With Iran After White House Leakers Take Action ⋆ Epeak . Independent news and blogs
Just A Week Into The Trump Presidency, U.S. Narrowly Avoided Military Action Against Iran
Every day the mound of unfortunate events, underneath which us scribblers have been burred since Jan 20, grows taller, wider, and heavier. Here’s something you probably missed in all the confusion of the Trump Administration’s tumultuous first days.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, with support from his allies on Trump’s contentious National Security Council, was prepared to engage in military action against Iran, potentially resulting in a naval firefight, a mere week after Trump took office. What ultimately stayed his hand, according to a February report from The New York Times (later reiterated by Slate columnist Osita Nwanevu), were leaks of the impending operation.
This information comes in the form of an easily-missed anecdote in the Times’ report:
Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was exploring whether the Navy could intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen. The potential interdiction seemed in keeping with recent instructions from Mr. Trump, reinforced in meetings with Mr. Mattis and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, to crack down on Iran’s support of terrorism.
But the ship was in international waters in the Arabian Sea, according to two officials. Mr. Mattis ultimately decided to set the operation aside, at least for now. White House officials said that was because news of the impending operation leaked, a threat to security that has helped fuel the move for the insider threat program. But others doubt whether there was enough basis in international law, and wondered what would happen if, in the early days of an administration that has already seen one botched military action in Yemen, American forces were suddenly in a firefight with the Iranian Navy.
Former President Barack Obama considered taking similar action in 2015, but ultimately decided against it.
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Timothy Bertrand is an author and journalist from Houston, Texas. He is the Associate Editor at Reverb Press and splits his time between covering breaking news and penning thoughtful literary essays.