Iran and its militias have been interfering with US actions and on a number of occasions entered the buffer zone. After several warnings, US warplanes took action. US coalition forces have also had to down pro-Assad drones that were made by Iran.
However, one major incident was when a Syrian warplane was shot down by a US fighter jet because Syria forces had bombed US-backed forces in the area ISIS calls its capital north of Raqqa.
Iran’s involvement in the Syria war is unrelenting. It does not have the sophistication to match that of the US and its Arab allies, but it improvises the best way it can. Iran does not play to the same rules as the US and its allies either. It uses proxies across the Middle East to carry out terrorist attacks. The US left Beirut after the 1982 bombing of barracks, and Iran has used the same tactics ever since.
The fact that Iran has not been on the receiving end of a response, verbal or otherwise, from the rest of the world has just ensured that Iran will continue to pursue its interests in the same way. The golden years of Obama was a gift to Tehran. The policy of appeasement towards Iran could not have given Iran a stronger position. Obama did not even enforce the red lines that he himself set. After the chemical gas attack in 2013 and the subsequent silence from the Obama administration, Iran realised that it could continue unpunished.
However, the Trump administration is not turning a blind eye to Iran. It is reviewing foreign policy so that the issues around Iran can be permanently addressed. It is already making it clear that Iran’s belligerence will not be accepted.
Iran has been heading towards the route of an all-out war in various parts of the Middle East. It wants to meddle in so many countries that international retaliation is unlikely. What is most unfortunate is that Iran has been succeeding because the West has been pursuing a policy of engagement in the belief that it is the best way forward.
Threatening to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal seems to have kept the international community at bay, however is musty be realised that in reality Iran will not want to trigger the automatic re-imposition of the pre-deal sanctions.
To get to the heart of the issue, one must look at the country’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which is in charge of a large part of Iran’s economy. The IRGC is so central to the regime’s policies, operations and ambitions that to designate it as a foreign terrorist organisation would spell the start of difficulties for the clerical rule and make it easier for regime change to take place.