Home/Daniel Larison/Killing Soleimani Pushes the U.S. and Iran Towards War

Killing Soleimani Pushes the U.S. and Iran Towards War

Quds Day rally, Parade of military forces, along with photographs of Qasem Soleimani, Iran Tehran, May 31, 2019. Saaediex/Shutterstock

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:

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.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment

Latest Articles