US sanctions on Iran should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard
– Pepe Escobar
Hysteria reigned supreme after the first round of US sanctions were reinstated against Iran over the past week. War scenarios abound, and yet the key aspect of the economic war unleashed by the Trump administration has been overlooked: Iran is a major piece in a much larger chessboard.
The US sanctions offensive, launched after Washington’s unilateral pullout from the Iran nuclear deal, should be interpreted as an advance gambit in the New Great Game at whose center lies China’s New Silk Road – arguably the most important infrastructure project of the 21st century — and overall Eurasia integration.
The Trump administration’s maneuvers are a testament to how China’s New Silk Road, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), threaten the US establishment.
Eurasian integration on the rise
Eurasian integration is on display in Astana, where Russia, Iran and Turkey are deciding the fate of Syria, in coordination with Damascus.
Iran’s strategic depth in post-war Syria simply won’t vanish. The challenge of Syrian reconstruction will be met largely by Bashar al-Assad’s allies: China, Russia and Iran.
Echoing the Ancient Silk Road, Syria will be configured as an important BRI node, key to Eurasia integration.
In parallel, the Russia-China strategic partnership – from the intersection between the BRI and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) to the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the solidifying of BRICS Plus — has immense economic stakes in the stability of Iran.
The complex interconnection of Iran with both Russia (via the EAEU and the International North-South Transportation Corridor) and China (via BRI and oil/gas supplies) is even tighter than in the case of Syria in the past seven years of civil war.
Iran is absolutely essential for Russia-China for the partnership to allow any “surgical strike” — as floated in Syria — or worse, hot war initiated by Washington.
A case could be made that with his recent overture to President Putin, President Trump is trying to negotiate some sort of freeze in the current configuration — a remixed Sykes-Picot for the 21st century.
But that assumes Trump’s decision-making is not being dictated or co-opted by the US neocon cabal that pressed for the 2003 war in Iraq. …