Middle East
US-Iran Conflict in Baghdad Puts Pressure on Argentina's Alberto Fernández
The escalation in the Middle East complicates the delicate balance that Fernández is trying to strike in order to achieve a pleasant relationship with Trump while avoiding aggravating his VP Cristina Kirchner.

The conflict between the United States and Iran in Baghdad adds an unexpected element of pressure for President Alberto Fernández in his effort to achieve an amicable relationship with Donald Trump while avoiding upsetting his VP, former President Cristina Kirchner, and hard-line Kirchnerists within his administration.

The attack on the US embassy in the Iraqi capital by supporters and members of the Popular Militia Forces, a group linked to Hezbollah and Iran, brought the tension between Washington and Tehran to the brink of an armed confrontation.

The tension had escalated last Sunday with the death of a U.S. contractor after an attack on a military base, which the U.S. attributes to the Kataeb Hezbollah Shiite militia, which operates under the PMF umbrella. Washington responded with a bombing raid on the Shiite bases, resulting in at least 25 deaths. The event, condemned by Iran, led to protests and a subsequent assault on the U.S. embassy.

The episodes of the last days in Iraq placed -again- the United States and Iran on the verge of an armed confrontation. "Iran will pay a very big price. This is not a warning, it is a threat," the president tweeted. In response, the Ayatollah Khamenei promised to counter any U.S. attack.

Although this is a distant conflict for Argentina, it adds an element of pressure for President Alberto Fernández.

As LPO explained, the Argentine president is trying to build a delicate geopolitical position based on the Latin American center-left, but without neglecting his good relationship with Trump.

It is known that Trump does not like soft positions, and especially in the case of Iran he demands a full alignment from his allies. If the conflict in the Middle East escalates, it is highly likely that Trump will demand concrete support from Fernández, especially after the Argentine government begins formal debt renegotiations with the IMF.

The US has already been demanding a stronger position on Venezuela and forced the Argentine president to dismiss the idea of turning around to repeal the decree declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization, which caused turbulence with hard-line Kirchnerism that promoted that measure through the Security Minister, Sabina Frederic.

The problem is that a positioning of Alberto more in line with Washington's wishes would surely put him in conflict with his VP Cristina Kirchner and her closest circle, something that already happened with the release of his statements in the documentary on the Nisman case. The president had to come out to clarify in several interviews that he no longer believes the prosecutor may have been killed as he claimed in 2017 when he was interviewed for the documentary.

Fernández finds himself once again in a very uncomfortable position between the United States and Cristina and facing the latent threat of a crossfire.

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