Top US General Predicts ‘Likely’ Iranian Attacks

Says continued US buildup in region not deterring Iran

Months upon months of US military buildups in the Middle East, all around Iran, combined with near-constant threats to attack Iran outright have sure been raising regional tensions, but according to US Centcom commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, it is not believed to be deterring Iran.

To be clear, deterrence in this case means reducing the US-perceived “threat” posed by Iran, and with US officials, particularly military officials, constantly seeing Iran’s threat increasing, this should not be a surprising turn of events. As ever, expensive deployments against a US regional rival are being seen by military officials as justification for more deployments going forward.

Gen. McKenzie is making a point to predict Iran attacking “again” while reiterating the US blaming Iran for Yemeni drone strikes on Saudi Arabia, which Iran has denied any involvement with. This same putative Iran attack was the justification for a lot of the US buildup, particularly US ground troops being sent to Saudi oil-producing regions.

McKenzie’s prediction of more things like that, which again is to say Yemeni attacks on Saudi Arabia that the US can blame on Iran, is particularly concerning both in that Iran has no control over that, and because the US has put 3,000 ground troops in Saudi Arabia, effectively human shields.

If a Yemeni drone strike causes US casualties, and the US blames Iran, this immediately becomes another US case to start a war with Iran, something a lot of officials have been angling for for some time. McKenzie making this prediction in Israel further reflects Israel’s long-standing interest in getting the US sucked into that exact war.

McKenzie’s statement was followed by a visit to Israel by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who was also emphasizing meetings with Israeli officials on the idea of an imminent Iran conflict.

Interestingly, French DM Florence Parly was also in the Middle East for the weekend, and spent her time criticizing the US for not having already started a war with Iran, suggesting that “US disengagement” from the region, which appears to refer to the Syrian pullout the US already reversed course on, and the lack of US attacks in response to things they blamed on Iran were destabilizing the region.

Parly’s position gives the impression France wants the US to attack Iran, which is not a great position for France as an active party in the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.

The Pentagon expressions of the US position don’t necessary portend any actions beyond the US continuing to build up in the region with the expectation of a war, and to interpret anything that they can conceivably blame on the Iranians as a pretext for such a war.

If there is one silver lining, it’s that Saudi attacks against northern Yemen, and Yemeni attacks against the Saudis, are both on the decline lately. This may mean the pretext has to come from something else than a Yemeni Houthi drone.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.