Let’s start with your assertion that Iran is responsible for the attacks. You offer as evidence a quotation from an Iranian military leader. Apparently you missed the headline of the article you cited:
Iran says if it decides to block Strait of Hormuz, it will do it “publicly” — Fars
If you would have us believe the contents of that article, then surely we should believe the headline, shouldn’t we?
Your second citation is equally destructive to your claim. Here’s the exact quote of Mr. Rouhani from that citation:
““If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf,”
He’s quite clear: if the US pushes Iran too far, then Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz. They have the means to do so; after all, if these guys can shoot down a high-tech drone, taking out an oil tanker should be child’s play. We know that they have thousands of surface-to-surface missiles, although I haven’t seen any numbers on anti-ship missiles. In any case, whomever did attack those tankers was definitely playing with toys; they didn’t manage to sink a single ship and didn’t even do that much damage. Those attacks were carried out by rag-tag outfits. Perhaps the Iranians were behind them. But Israel and Saudi Arabia would be better candidates for such operations.
“Beyond the increase tensions between the Israeli government and PLA, you had an uprisings against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the Lebanese Civil War and its continued aftershock, a literal coup in Turkey”
Um, a little history for you: the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Every one of these incidents took place AFTER 2003.
“ The Middle East was a lot of things before the War in Iraq, but stable wasn’t one of them.”
It was far MORE stable before the US invasion than afterwards. There rate of violent regime change and bloodshed was much lower before 2003 than after.
Your comments on Iranian activities in Africa are bereft of credibility. Your first citation reads like a conspiracy theory. There’s no question that Iran wants to develop influence in Africa; but US activity in Africa is on a vastly larger scale than Iran’s. So is China’s, France’s, and the EU’s. I haven’t seen any data on Russian activities in Africa, but I’m sure they’re in there, too. But more important, you had suggested that Iran was trying to undermine democratic governments in Africa; there aren’t ANY functioning democratic governments in Africa, although I suppose you could make a case for Botswana, Tanzania, and Morocco. Otherwise, there aren’t any democracies to subvert.
Iraqi politics are extremely complicated. There are a zillion factions maneuvering around each other, and the Iranians have great power there because of the large number of Shiites in Iraq. Sure, Iran has lots of power, and sure, Iran is maneuvering for more power. You suggest that Iranian loyalists will subvert the Iraqi government. Don’t you know that 80% of all Iraqis are Shiites? Shiites aren’t subverting the will of the people; they ARE the people!
Your suggestions regarding Iran and Venezuela are paranoid. Yes, Iran has friendly relations with Venezuela. So do 77 other nations. Greece has an embassy in Venezuela; does that mean that Greece is secretly working to subvert the US? 😄
“The entire reason Maduro is still ruling that country, despite crushing it under his despotic weight, is because countries like Russia and Iran have helped him stay.”
Actually, it’s more like Russia, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Peru, Chile, Columbia, and many more. There are a LOT of countries buying oil from Venezuela — including the US. OMG, Americans are out to subvert American interests! 😄
You appear to know nothing about military logistics. Armies don’t just disappear in one location and reappear in another; they have to actually get there, and they need to bring hundreds of thousands of tons of equipment along. The US Army has far and away the best logistical operations in the world, but even it needed a year to build up its forces in Saudi Arabia for the invasion of Iraq. The Iranian military has a strictly defensive military posture and has nothing in the way of logistic capabilities outside their borders. The notion of Iran invading Saudi Arabia is preposterous. They can accomplish far more by threatening to attack its oil facilities with missiles.
“I agree that Iran isn’t solely responsible for the uptick in tension in the region at this particular time”
They aren’t in ANY manner responsible for the uptick in tension. The USA is solely responsible for the uptick in tension.
“The reality of their current situation is the only way to win the proxy conflicts they are in right now across the Middle East is to cripple the military power of Saudi Arabia.”
What!??!?! The only proxy conflict involving both Saudi Arabia and Iran is in Yemen. Not Syria. Not Lebanon. Not Gaza. Not anywhere else. And they don’t have the capability to defeat the Saudi Air Force, which is much better equipped than Iran’s air force. Again, Iran’s military leverage is a) the ability to close the Persian Gulf and b) the ability to inflict great damage upon Saudi oil facilities. But that sword cuts both ways.
“ The only way to do that is to beat the United States.”
Do you seriously think that the Iranians think that they can defeat the US military???? They’re not insane.
“If they can pull us into open conflict they will.”
Then why haven’t they fired at any of the US military operations in the Persian Gulf? Your comment is absurd.
“However, if the ‘casual observer’ is determined to completely ignore Iran’s stated goals and objectives in the region in favor of Orange Man Bad, then we are in far more trouble than I thought.”
Iran’s geopolitical objectives are pretty clear and have been pretty clear for decades. Read some articles in Foreign Affairs are Iranian interests. Their most important objective is to get nuclear weapons, because that’s the only thing that guarantees their security. Mr. Trump’s treatment of North Korea emphasizes the difference between a nuclear state and a non-nuclear state.