Killing Soleimani Pushes the U.S. and Iran Towards War
Iran hawks have been agitating for open conflict with Iran for years. Tonight, the Trump administration obliged them by assassinating the top IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and the head of Kata’ib Hezbollah in a drone strike in Baghdad:
Hard to understate how big this is
• Qassem Suleimani is Iran’s most powerful mil figure in Region
• He runs Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq
• Both men designated by US as Terrorist
• Muhandis was at US embassy attack protest, calls himself “Suleimani soldier”
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) January 3, 2020
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) January 3, 2020
Confirmed officially on Iraq state TV. Both killed pic.twitter.com/toaBJyEcxe
— Feras Kilani فراس كيلاني (@FerasKilaniBBC) January 3, 2020
U.S. officials tell Reuters that strikes have been carried in Baghdad on Friday out against two targets linked to Iran.
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) January 3, 2020
Reuters reports that a spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq also confirmed the deaths:
Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed late on Thursday in an air strike on their convoy in Baghdad airport, an Iraqi militia spokesman told Reuters.
Soleimani is a senior Iranian military commander, and he also happens to be one of the more popular public figures inside Iran. Killing him isn’t just a major escalation that guarantees reprisals and further destabilizes the region, but it also strengthens hard-liners in Iran enormously. Trump claimed not to want war with Iran, but his actions have proven that he does. No one who wants to avoid war with Iran would order the assassination of a high-ranking Iranian officer. Trump has signaled his willingness to plunge the U.S. into a new war that will be disastrous for our country, Iran, and the entire region. American soldiers, diplomats, and citizens throughout the region are all in much greater danger tonight than they were this morning, and the president is responsible for that.
It is hard to convey how irrational and destructive this latest action is. The U.S. and Iran have been dangerously close to war for months, but the Trump administration has made no effort to deescalate tensions. All that it would take to push the two governments over the brink into open conflict is a reckless attack that the other side cannot ignore. Now the U.S. has launched just such an attack and dared Iran to respond. The response may not come immediately, but we have to assume that it is coming. Killing Soleimani means that the IRGC will presumably consider it open season on U.S. forces all across the region. The Iran obsession has led the U.S. into a senseless new war that it could have easily avoided, and Trump and the Iran hawks own the results.
Trump supporters have often tried to defend the president’s poor foreign policy record by saying that he hadn’t started any new wars. Well, now he has, and he will be responsible for the consequences to follow.