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01/03/2020

Irreplaceable General: Will war in the Middle East follow the death of Soleimani?

Irreplaceable General: Will war in the Middle East follow the death of Soleimani?

Last year brought surprises from the very beginning, and this year promises to be no different. Since the very beginning of 2019, one of the most discussed events was the storming of the American Embassy in Baghdad on January 31. Although it is only the third day of 2020, tragedy has already struck the Iranian people: American air strikes in Baghdad killed a national hero, the Commander of the IRGC’s Quds Forces, Qassem Soleimani.

In October, Tehran said it had foiled a plot by Israeli and Arab agencies to kill Soleimani… but the plot has now become a harrowing reality.

“He’s irreplaceable for Iran,” one of the senior U.S. officials told the Washington Examiner. “There is no new boss who would be the same,” he added.

What will happen now, after the murder of one of the most charismatic and influential people in the Middle East, given the level of tension between the United States and Iran?

Soleimani’s role

Qassem Soleimani is a hero to the Iranians. Soleimani was born in eastern Iran, coming from a poor family, he had first military experience during the Iranian Revolution of February 1979 when he joined the Guardian Corps. He became leader of the Iran’s Quds Force in 1988. As a young but already experienced military figure, he began to fulfill tasks outside Iran: he led numerous secret military operations, and recently fought actively and successfully against ISIS terrorists across the Middle east. Under his leadership, the Quds Force provided support for Hamas and Hezbollah in Palestine and Libya, as well as to pro-Iranian forces in Iraq.

Following the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, Soleimani ordered some of his Iraqi militia to come to Syria to protect the Al-Assad Government. In many ways, he played a role in the Syrian war by helping President Bashar al-Assad turn the situation around and take back some of the territory from the rebels.

During Iraq’s struggle against ISIL, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (The Popular Mobilization Forces), partly under Soleimani’s control, fought alongside the Iraqi military to defeat the terrorists.

In July 2018, Soleimani was directly challenged by US President Donald Trump, who warned that Iran would “suffer the consequences” if Tehran threatened Washington.

He was the right hand of the Iranian Supreme Leader of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

We must now ask ourselves: how would we react if someone killed right hand of the President, or the Secretary of State, or the Director of National Intelligence? The war would already have begun.

Chronology of conflict

What is the US’ excuse for killing the popular hero of Iran?

On December 29, the United States attacked Kataib Hezbollah’s positions, killing at least 25 fighters and injuring at least 38 people.

Washington said the decision to bomb was made in connection with “repeated attacks by Kataib Hezbollah on Iraqi bases.” The Pentagon said the attacks were a “response” to a movement that killed one American citizen and injured several military personnel in Kirkuk.

In response, on January 31, protesters attempted to storm the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in the green zone area of the Iraqi capital, where diplomatic and government agencies are located.

 

Protests outside the embassy began immediately after the funeral of people killed by US airstrikes. The rally continued Wednesday and U.S. troops used tear gas against demonstrators.

Reactions

“All enemies should know that the jihad of resistance will continue with a doubled motivation, and a definite victory awaits the fighters in the holy war,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised statement.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called Soleimani’s assassination “an act of international terrorism”.

The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism, he said.

Opinions within the American elite diverged. Congress had two reactions: 1. that “Trump killed terrorist commander who killed American citizens,” or 2. “it looks like Trump has just started a major war with Iran.”

The Republicans were more excited about Soleimani’s death, while the Democrats (also taunting him and calling him a “terrorist”) used the situation to criticize Trump for pushing the countries to the brink of war.

Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday warned that the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani could spark an escalation of violence in the Middle East, and that Iran was likely to respond in turn.

Joe Biden called Trump’s move an escalation, but remained firm in his anti-Iranian attitude.

Bernie Sanders said that Trump’s decision brings us closer to “another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.”

Elizabeth Warren, while insulting Soleimani, added that this “reckless move escalates the situation with Iran.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham was openly excited about Soleimani’s murder and even praised Trump for the decision.

Other Senators reactions are more or less similar:

Globalist experts, criticizing Soleimani and considering him a “terrorist,” commented extensively on the event. For example, Mark Dubowitz said it’s like losing a “JSOC commander, CIA director & foreign minister — all at once.” Soleimani’s death will have more consequence than the deaths of Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he added.

No matter how demonized Soleimani was in the foreign press, even his enemies recognized him as one of the most powerful people in the Middle East.

Geopolitics

Geopolitically, a major conflict is brewing. The US’ goal is to prevent the rapprochement of Iran and Iraq, and to weaken Iran’s influence in the region, which is why Washington is deliberately bombing positions and provoking the Iranian response, forcing the Iraqi leadership to respond to the challenges as well.

By killing Soleimani, the United States is provoking new unrest in Iranian and pro-Iranian circles. Iran has already promised to avenge Soleimani’s death.

The former commander of the IRGC, Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaee warned on Twitter that the IRGC would “take firm revenge” on the death of the “martyred” general.

The unrest in Iraq began back in October, and in the conflict American and Israeli forces are deliberately pouring oil into the fire. This is an open pretext for harsh action by Iran.

Israel is creating additional hysteria by taking advantage of the noise. Israel has been put on high alert due to possible threats from Iran, and Mount Hermon has been closed to visitors. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed this decision on its official Twitter account.

«The consequences may not come quickly or directly. But they could be enormous.» – Daily Beast said.

 
United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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