Donald Trump is a busy man. Having cast himself as the beau of the ball – his dance card is now well and truly full. This brings with it a slightly new spin on that old conundrum: so many conquests to be had and so little time. To be sure, the showman president may well be flattered by the attention that the North Korean Rocket Man afforded him on the world stage. Then there is Pakistan, a forever reliable nation when it comes to allowing American presidents try on for size the mantle of lone-ranger-caped-crusader. That is, until we simply go back to doing what we were doing all along. Yet the real object of President Trump’s disaffection is Iran. And he is ready to trample on anyone and any multilateral institution to get his nemesis to notice him. He has tried everything. From accusing Tehran of not playing by the nuclear rulebook, despite assertions to the contrary by the IAEA; to labelling it a state sponsor of terrorism; to saying nothing as Saudi Arabia threatened members of the of the 47-strong UN Human Rights Council with diplomatic repercussions as well as scaling down of petro-dollar trade opportunities if they voted for a resolution seeking to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to probe the US-backed and Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council for war crimes in Yemen. Thus has Riyadh been happily ‘co-opted’, by quiet US backing plus a not so quiet multi-billion dollar arms deal, to increase its muscle flexing for Iranian benefit. Yet Tehran may prove to be smarter than the average bear. And it could well end up playing Washington at its own game. Meaning that once the Saudis threw down the Yemeni gauntlet the Iranians picked it up and ran with it – all the better to keep the House of Saud, along with the Americans, bogged down in one of the world’s poorest nations. The Israelis feel that Trump is so bogged down in Sana’a that he has lost sight of the additional goal of actively removing Iran from Damascus. Thus the fear is that Tehran may just be using the crisis to quietly strengthen its Syrian hand to threaten the Jewish state with cross-border infiltration Initially, at least, conducting a proxy war in Yemen likely appealed to Trump. After all, decimating an already poverty stricken nation renders null and void all notions of collateral damage. A situation that the UN itself exacerbated when it removed the GCC from a blacklist of nations and armed groups that maim and kill children in times of war. Thus today, the world body’s cries over coalition airstrikes being the primary cause of civilian deaths, minors included, is likely to fall on deaf ears. Thereby conveniently taking off the table any serious pondering of an exit strategy. What more could a warmongering American president want? Yet not everyone is happy. The Israelis feel that so bogged down is Trump in Yemen that he has lost sight of the additional goal of actively removing Iran from the Syrian hellfire. There, he is said to be content for now keeping his focus restricted to ISIS. This may or may not have something to do with his ongoing bromance with a certain Russian hard man who just this week said that conditions to end the Syrian ‘civil war’ have now been achieved. This will serve to further fuel Israeli concerns that its interests in the region are not being taken seriously. Already has the Jewish state gone for unilateral intervention in Syria, hitting both regime and Hezbollah arms factories in a bid to prevent the transfer of weapons from Iran to the latter. Israel had likely hoped that US media reports of Tehran recruiting Afghan Shia and sending them to Damascus to fight ISIS might have prompted some blowback. Yet this has not really happened. The might mean that the prolonged summer jam with Putin aside, this might mean there is some understanding somewhere along Washington’s corridors of power that Tehran’s help may be needed to do the same in Iraq. Assuming of course that the US actually wants to cut off the head of the ISIS snake and retreat from the region. Be this as it may, rumours of Iranian assistance to the Houthi in Yemen is another story. The US can ill afford to see its Saudi ally humiliated in its own neighbourhood. Not after the infamous arms deal said to be worth around $350 billion. And certainly not after getting out the Riyadh red carpet over the summer to give an official dry toast to the Islamic Military Alliance, which is seen by many as an anti-Shia bloc. Thus it may just be that Tehran willingly welcomed the Saudi-led aggression in Yemen as a means of, at least for the time being, strengthening its hand in Syria to threaten the Israelis with cross-border infiltration. For that’s the thing about proxy wars – everyone has a hidden agenda. The writer is the Deputy Managing Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets @humeiwei Published in Daily Times, September 30th 2017.