Gulf nations such as Oman and Kuwait are well-placed to serve as mediators and prevent mounting tensions between the United States and Iran from leading to a wider confrontation,
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In a blog post on Friday, ASGIW contributor and author Hussein Ibish that Kuwait and Oman “are well positioned to pass messages between Washington and Tehran and even, potentially, serve as mediators”.
“Despite angry rhetoric and heated passions, quiet de-escalation based on mutual understanding that intensification of the confrontation is in nobody’s interest should be not only desirable but achievable,” Ibish wrote.
In the post, Ibish argued that the American attack on Major General Qassim Suleimani followed a “one-sided campaign” of Iranian actions – including attacks on shipping, Saudi Aramco and a US drone – in which the country “sought to provoke the United States into a disproportionate response that would prompt international diplomatic intervention.”
The US attack on Suleimani and Kataib Hezbollah militia head Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, Ibish added, came only after a “red line” was crossed in a December 27 rocket attack that killed a US contractor at a facility near Kirkuk.
Any Iranian response, Ibish concluded, is likely to illicit a harsh response from the US.
“The Iranian regime must also carefully consider the possibility that additional escalation could lead Tehran into a devastating conflict with a far more powerful enemy,” the post noted.
“Washington, too, has nothing to gain from further escalation or additional confrontations. Neither do the Gulf Arab countries, which face the prospect of being caught in the crossfire,” Ibish added.
Launched in 2015, the AGSIW is a non-profit institution aimed at providing research on the countries of the Arabian Gulf.
The organisation’s president, Douglas Silliman, served as US ambassador to Iraq between 2016 and 2019 and as US ambassador to Kuwait from 2014 to 2016.
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