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Trump’s Iran dilemma - Editorial, The Jordan Times



While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the recent drone and missile attack allegedly by Iran on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia an "act of war", President Donald Trump stopped short of endorsing this description, presumably to keep all his options open.  
An act of war normally requires a military response by President Trump who is uncharacteristically   having cold feet on this issue by dodging the question of whether he will go to war with Tehran over the attack on Saudi Arabia. 
President Trump has all of a sudden started to show restraint. Trump on this occasion is showing an unusual degree of caution because he knows very well that once a war with Iran starts, there is no telling when it can end or how.
 Iran is a mighty adversary and a war with it entails untold and unpredictable consequences. With the US presidential election around the corner, President Trump does not want to start something that could remain open-ended. 
Tehran knows well the predicament in front of Trump and is flexing its muscles to the limit against the US, knowing all too well that Trump is not about to begin something that he cannot end with his desired outcome. 
Trump, however, has already extended the crippling economic sanctions on Iran and widened their scope. Sanctions have a devastating effect on the country and deprive it of much-needed revenues to execute its policies. 
But Trump is under pressure from within the ranks of his political party to respond to the Iranian provocation militarily. He may, at the end of the day, opt for a limited strike against Iran, and specifically against the base from which the attacks on Saudi Arabia were launched. 
If that were to happen, who knows what could be the response of Iran. A counterstrike by Iran on US naval units navigating the waters of the area could be an easy option, an act that could set in motion a series of reactions in the region that may engulf the entire area in open-ended escalation.

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