An anniversary went by at the weekend as quick as a man can toss a shoe.

Ten years ago, Muntadhar al-Zaidi stood up at a press conference for US President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Bush was defending his years-long war in Iraq, launched on false claims of WMDs.

The Iraqi journalist reportedly yelled: "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," and lofted his leathers at the leader of the free world.

Video of the incident went around the world. Bush looks surprised but also amused as he ducks.

Advertisement

Ten years on, Bush is a semi-rehabilitated figure - made to look more decent and likeable in comparison to the White House's current occupant.

He was seen passing sweets to Michelle Obama and delivering a eulogy at his father's funeral service. The Bush years are being replayed in a new movie, Vice, focusing on deputy Dick Cheney.

Yet unlike Bush, Donald Trump has not yet started any invasions resulting in drawn-out conflicts costly in lives and money.

The Trump Administration has continued US involvement in existing wars such as Syria and Yemen. Mostly, regional conflict bubbles have been allowed to grow. Russia is free to exert its influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, with UAE allies, has become an overbearing force over Yemen and Qatar. Syria's regime is mopping up opposition.

For some time, Iran has been a target for Washington and Riyadh.

The US pulled the plug on Tehran's nuclear deal with the West, re-imposing sanctions. A Saudi-supported regime faces off against the Iranian-backed Houthi in Yemen. Since September several thousand US troops in Raqqa, Syria, have had a new mission to curb Iranian influence there.

As Politico noted: "Trump appears intent on isolating, if not outright overthrowing, the regime in Iran."

Would Trump make the same mistake of regime change that Bush did in Iraq?

At present, the US and Saudi Arabia leadership are preoccupied and under pressure.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has found himself checked by criticism over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and over Yemen, where millions are starving. Last week, at talks in Sweden, the two Yemen sides agreed to a ceasefire at Hodeida.

Heat on Saudi Arabia played a part. The US Senate passed a resolution to end US military support to the Saudi coalition in Yemen.

The Trump Administration is also increasingly under siege from within, as the Russia probe is joined by a second front - House of Representative investigations.

The New Yorker reported that House Democrats will in January investigate Trump's personal finances and obtain Deutsche Bank records. The Daily Beast reported that Robert Mueller's probe would outline next year "Middle Eastern countries' attempts to influence US politics".

This year there have been plenty of signs that we've learned little from history. The Iraq war still has painful lessons to implant.