12.30 am Friday morning, Donald Trump sat amongst his team of advisers, top Military Generals, VP Mike Pence and National Security advisor, Mark Esper..
He had a choice – choose between ordering an airstrike that could change the dynamics of military operations in the Middle East forever or withhold his ‘Republican party’ instincts by waiting for a more provocative action by Iran before launching attacks.
He chose the former! And sent a guided US Drone strike to shoot down Soleimani’s convoy just after his plane had landed in Baghdad’s airport.
I mean, why wouldn’t he? On Monday Iranian militants guised as protesters following directions from Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force unit, stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad, and destroyed sections of the embassy, burning down the reception area.
Attacking a country’s embassy is considered an act of war in international law, so to attack the US Embassy as retaliation for US airstrikes that killed 25 Iran backed Kataib Hezbollah terrorists, when the same Kataib Hezbollah was allegedly responsible for last week’s killing of an American contractor on an Iraqi military base – was very tempting for a Trump that ran his political campaign on an ‘America First’ mantra.
The last three Republican presidents have initiated wars or ordered military invasions, so Trump even though he has claimed he wants no wars and has been on a charm offensive with North Korea’s leader will not hesitate to release America’s military might if it is severely tested. And there is a conspiracy theory that says every 20 years America engages in a war just to show off to the world that they are still the dominant world military power.. In the face of recent events, and Republican party praise over Trump’s killing of Soleimani, that conspiracy theory isn’t far off.
Trump ordered a drone strike to kill Soleimani, meaning there could be no casualties and it can be monitored from the situation room in the White House.
It didn’t just kill Soleimani but also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed and funded Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Soleimani and why his killing makes a War between the US and Iran a ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ situation.
1.Soleimani was described by Middle East Military Generals as “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” as he was the principal military strategist and tactician in Iran’s effort to combat and destroy Western influence as he helped promote the expansion of Shiite and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.
2. Soleimani joined the military at a very young age, but quickly rose through the ranks because of his bravery during the Iraq-Iran war.
3. Soleimani was a cult like figure in Iran and was greatly feared. He led Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force unit, and was responsible for all Iranian militia operations outside Iran . Be it Lebanon, Syria, Iraq , Afghanistan. Every Iranian military proxy operation operated through him.
4. Under Soleimani, the IRGC command “coordinated attacks, trained militias, and set up an elaborate system to monitor rebel communications outside Iran. He played a crucial role in the Syria war since 2012 and was a staunch ally of Syria’s president Bashar Al Assad.
5. Soleimani was from Kerman. His father was a farmer who died in 2017 while his mother, Fatemeh, died in 2013. Soleimani was a fitness trainer and martial artist in his youth. He had four children: two sons and two daughters.
Suleimani became the chief architect of the expansion of Iran’s regional influence, which started after the fall of Saddam in 2003. It enabled Iran to establish the influence in Iraq, a dominance that gradually extended to Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and Yemen, always in opposition to the US and its allies.
This history of relentless confrontation with Washington is Suleimani’s legacy, and will dictate how and when Iran responds to his Friday assassination.
Iranian leaders believe if Soleimani can be attacked that means any of them can be attacked. Imagine the head of the CIA or Secretary of State being assassinated when outside the US, that’s how grave Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khameni views the attack.
Iran will probably attack a US military base in Iraq, Afghanistan or even go as far as attacking Saudi Arabia or Israel as a sign to the Iranian people that Iran isn’t a ‘weak’ nation.
Using it’s proxy army, Hezbollah, in Lebanon, Iran could launch attacks against US owned oil mines, attack military installations or stop oil shipping lanes at the Hormuz Strait.
Iran’s leadership has promised a severe response, so it’s a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ and this is how a World War III could develop.
Iran shoots down a US oil tanker or shoots a US military base in Iraq, Afghanistan or Israel.
The US retaliates by destroying a Hezbollah or Iranian army base while moving its warships close to Iran’s borders. Iran uses cyber attacks against Israel or Saudi Arabia and they respond in kind knowing they have the backing of the US.
The US and Iran continues it’s back and forth, Iran’s allies Russia and China support Iran with Iranian oil in their minds, while NATO, EU and Israel stands behind the US, with Iraq, Israel and the middle east turning to a battle ground.. All hell is let loose. Boom!!! WORLD WAR III. Let’s pray it never gets to that.
Disclaimer: This Article/Opinion piece does not represent the political views of REPORTERSWALL but solely that of the writer @valobil .