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The United States caught in a risky spiral in the rest of the Middle East | Near -East, the eternal conflict

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American soldiers in tanks in Iraq.

Agency France-Presse

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In Syria, Iraq as well as in the Red Sea, the United States faces increasing risks and an increasingly complex and dangerous situation resulting from the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The United States has deployed two aircraft carriers and other forces to the Middle East, aiming to deter any spread of conflict to Gaza. The current violence, without reaching such a level, still poses a considerable risk.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen, allied with Iran, once again targeted commercial vessels in the Red Sea over the weekend. A US Navy destroyer, which came to assist them, shot down several drones in the area.

Without a doubt, there is an escalation, but all parties and particularly the United States are trying to manage these clashes so that they do not explode into regional war, believes Jeffrey Feltman, expert at Brookings. Institution and former senior official at the State Department for the Near East.

However, we should be deeply concerned that an escalation step by step […] leads us there, he added.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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The Houthis claim to have targeted two of the three ships hit in the Red Sea on Sunday, claiming that they are Israeli ships and that such attacks will continue until the Israeli aggression against our brothers in the Gaza Strip cease.

The same day, US forces shot down three drones in the Red Sea launched from Yemen – their targets unknown – as well as several missiles and other drones over the past six weeks, while the Houthis shot down a US drone last month.

According to Jeffrey Feltman, the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon – who have repeatedly exchanged fire with Israel since October 7 – are trying to have it both ways.

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The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower departed on October 14 from Norfolk, Virginia, to be deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean. (File photo)

They try to say that they are part of the resistance [to Israel], that they stand with the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza, but they do it in a way […] ] which they believe will help avoid a large-scale war, adds the expert.

In addition to attacks launched from Yemen and Lebanon, US anti-jihadist coalition forces in Iraq and Syria have been targeted by missiles and drones more than 70 times since mid-October. And the individuals claiming them have repeatedly cited the situation in Gaza as motivation for their actions.

The United States has attributed responsibility for these attacks on groups affiliated with Iran and in turn carried out several strikes against them, as well as against sites linked, according to Washington, to Tehran.

Such violence comes against a backdrop of the United States withdrawing from its strategy focused on counter-insurgency in the Middle East and Afghanistan, in favor of a strategy aimed at countering China, identified as the greatest challenge. more important for the world's leading power.

The United States has allocated significant resources to the Middle East since October 7, without might as well necessarily undermine their efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

While a long-term focus on the Middle East would harm preparedness in East Asia, short-term responses are unlikely to cause short-term crises in East Asia. East, estimates Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

In addition, the capacity of the United deploying quickly to defend allies and interests is closely observed in Asia, among allies and rivals alike, says Alterman.

According to him, the situation in the Middle East could go in a bad direction, but for the moment he does not imagine a large-scale spread of the conflict.

The United States remains the dominant power and its adversaries are cautiously testing the limits, says Jon Alterman.

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