In this vein, it should be noted that a new American military base is being constructed 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of Mosul, in an area controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) peshmerga forces. The base is also 50 kilometers from the Syrian border, which is controlled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a strong US ally currently fighting IS in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria.
The United States is additionally building a sprawling consulate in Erbil that will cost some $600 million. Meanwhile, Washington appears to have taken charge of the Harir base, also known as Bashur Airfield, 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of the Haji Omran border crossing with Iran. The US government used the base for the first time in March 2003 as part of its invasion of Iraq.
But some top Iranian officials believe that Tehran should tread carefully and see Trump as a dangerous president who should not be provoked. “The fact that we should not provoke Trump is an accurate statement,” former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei said April 27 in response to a question about whether Trump is after war with Iran, adding, “But we also cannot give him space to come and play in our court either.”
Rezaei, who now serves as secretary of the powerful Expediency Council, believes that the solution lies in the art of successful diplomacy and that Iran should avoid confrontation with the United States.