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The Biden administration faces acute dilemmas: Afghanistan & Iran

Mar 04, 2021

All foreign troops are supposed to leave Afghanistan in early May, according to the arrangement made by the U.S., the Afghani government and the Taliban last year. The withdrawal concerns the entire NATO operation, and consequently also Swedish security policy. Therefore, the Biden administration must quickly negotiate with allies to find a solution.

The U.S. and NATO are left with two extremely difficult choices: 1) leave, risking the entire operation being labeled as a fiasco, the fall of the Kabul regime or a deterioration of the civil war, and serious regional destabilization; or 2) stay with the present forces (U.S. 2500 troops and NATO appr. 8000 troops), which in the best case scenario manage to protect the Kabul regime. The process will affect NATO's unity, with implications for Sweden.

Moreover, Team Biden seeks to re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA), which Teheran also demands. The question is: who should take the first step - should the U.S. start by revoking the current sanctions on Iran? Or should Iran first comply with the JCPOA? The outcome and timing of these choices will have an impact on Israeli actions, stability in the greater Middle East, and China´s and Russia's next moves.