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US Drone Killed Iranian Top General Soleimani – Here’s Why Iran Should Think Twice Before Rushing For Retaliation



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Jan 05 2020
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Qassem Soleimani was considered the second most powerful man in Iran, after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. At the same time, he was Iranian’s most powerful military and intelligence figure. According to the Pentagon, an approximate 603 American soldiers killed in Iraq were attributed to proxies sponsored by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

 

That means about 1 in every 6 American combat fatalities in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants. And the man responsible for the jaw-dropping deaths since 2003 was none other than Major General Qassem Soleimani. Hence, it was not hard to understand why the U.S. has been hunting him for decades. His fingerprints were all over the Middle Eastern war zones.

 

Soleimani became so powerful and influential in the region that past U.S. presidents did not dare kill him, even after he was found – until the emergence of Donald Trump. American presidents before Trump were concerned that the killing of Soleimani, who was also the head of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, would risk a serious war in the Middle East.

Iran Top General Qassem Soleimani Killed By US Drone

The killing of an American contractor in northern Iraq in a Dec 27th rocket attack last year by Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia / Shiite militants changes everything. It provided Trump the golden opportunity to boost his chances of the 2020 re-election this year. The U.S. retaliated with airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that killed 25 members of Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed force.

 

As expected, Iran then retaliated against the U.S. “precision defense strikes”. The attack of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by angry demonstrators, including Iraqi Shia militias, was seen as an attack orchestrated and approved by the Iranian Quds Force, which Soleimani led. Quds Force was previously deployed into Syrian War to support President Bashar Assad.

 

Perhaps the Iranian top commander thought he could humiliate and defeat Trump with a similar 2012 Benghazi attack. But the storming of the U.S. Embassy had prompted Trump to order the deployment of 750 soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division to the region instead. And the assault provided the justification for the president to do what the past presidents dared not do.

Iran Top General Qassem Soleimani - How US Reaper Drone Assassinated Him

Iran General Qassem Soleimani Killed By US MQ9 Reaper Drone

On Friday, as Soleimani and other officials from Iran-backed militias were leaving the Baghdad airport in two cars near a cargo area, Trump gave the order for a US MQ9 Reaper drone to terminate the Iranian top commander. Soleimani’s identity could only be identified by the ring on his severed hand moments later. Trump simply said that the Iranian top gun should have been taken out years ago.

 

To rally his supporters, Trump tweeted an image of an American flag after confirmation that the airstrike had killed Soleimani. The Pentagon said – “At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

 

While Republicans and Trump supporters rallied behind the U.S. president for the courageous strike, thousands of Iranians have taken to the street condemning the assassination. Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami has threatened the U.S. with “crushing revenge” and “a bloody jihad” – suggesting that a new war in the region could start soon.

Iran Top General Qassem Soleimani Killed - Iranian Condemnation

Adding more fuel to the fire, Trump deliberately tweeted – “General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more … but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of protesters killed in Iran itself.”

 

Still, to set the expectation right as the U.S. allies in Europe were equally shocked and disagreed with the assassination of Soleimani, President Trump said that America does not seek “regime change” in Iran. It could be an attempt to pacify the stock market and the global crude oil prices, which have skyrocketed after the stunning drone airstrike.

 

However, at the same time, Trump also warned that the U.S. under his leadership is “ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary” if Iran threatens American lives. In his first televised address since the death of Soleimani, Trump said from his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach, Florida, – “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

Donald Trump Anti Iran

In what appeared to be a pre-planned operation, the U.S. president immediately approved another deployment of approximately 3,500 troops to the region after the U.S. drone strike. This means Trump administration is ready for a possible new war escalation in the region. Already, the U.S. has ordered all citizens to leave Iraq and closed its embassy in Baghdad.

 

As the architect of Iran’s regional policy of mobilizing militias across Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Soleimani was also the mastermind behind Iran’s domestic and regional security strategy. While Iran has vowed harsh retaliation, thus raising fears of a full blown war, the fact that the only brains behind Iran military prowess is now gone suggest the Iranian is seriously crippled.

 

Arguably, Soleimani was the single point of failure. And that’s the main problem with Iran. Without their charismatic commander, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force will be leaderless, demoralised and in disarray. On the streets of Tehran, many mourned Soleimani and some demanded revenge. However, one person said – “I don’t think there will be a war, but we must get his revenge.”

The assassination of the most feared man in the Middle East was absolutely unexpected. But it was the same reason which got him killed in the first place. As the “God-like” figure, the top general considered him “untouchable”. After all, he was the only Iranian man who sent shivers down the spine of former President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush.

 

Unlike terrorist leaders like Osama bin Laden of Al-Qaeda and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIS, Soleimani often operated in the open because he thought the U.S. would never pull the trigger. The arrogant man had even taken selfies of himself on the battlefield. “Soleimani was treated like royalty, and was not particularly hard to find,” – said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former senior CIA operations officer.

 

Soleimani was brutal, merciless, and ruthlessly efficient at his job, slaughtering his way to stardom across the Middle East. He had butchered thousands of Iraqis. Hence, when the news of his death spread, Iraqis were seen dancing in the streets of Baghdad. The primary reason he was killed so easily was because the egotistical man thought Trump was no different than other presidents.

Iran Top General Qassem Soleimani - Brutal Commander

To be fair to the U.S., the rocket attack which killed the American civilian contractor was the 11th attack in 2 months by General Soleimani and his proxies. In June 2019, Trump ordered a U.S. military strike against Iran to retaliate for the downing of a U.S. Navy surveillance drone in the Persian Gulf region, but he called off the operation at the eleventh hour. But Soleimani saw the cancellation as a weakness.

 

The death of his top adviser and “military genius” puts Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a tricky situation. Iran must retaliate, but not to the extent of starting a war which would invite dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles into Tehran. Trump, unlike Obama, has very little patience for talks and prefers military intimidation, if he could bulldoze his way through.

 

To ensure he means business, Trump has just issued a warning – to hit 52 Iranian sites – “very fast and very hard” if Iran attacks U.S. assets in retaliation. While the sites were not identified, the 52 targets represented the 52 American diplomats and citizens who were held hostage in Iran for 444 days after being seized at the US embassy in Tehran back in November 1979.

Iran Top General Qassem Soleimani - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

A new war during a sagging economy could trigger an uprising against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself instead. An increase in fuel prices by up to 300% last year saw the Iranian protests against the Iranian government. Although the Iran was hit hard due to sanctions by the U.S. and European Union, corruptions and economic mismanagement have made matters worse in the country.

 

Most people of Iran still remember how the Iranian government and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responded to the civil protests by shooting people with the aim to kill, from rooftops and from military helicopters, not to mention tanks. The crackdown has resulted in the arrest of over 7,000 protesters and 200 people killed.

 

The Middle East is the playground for regional and global powers. As far as Trump is concerned, the region is not as crucial for the U.S. as it is to Europe. A new war will destabilise and burn the Arab states, not America. The US president has already indicated that he did not want a war with Iran. But he’s ready to use lethal force, as can be seen in the assassination of Soleimani.

Trump's First War - Missile Strike on Iran

It’s not difficult for Iran to hit American assets though. There’re tons of US targets within Iran’s striking range. But the Iranian government should consider the factor that any huge loss of American lives or assets as a result of its revenge attacks would rally the American people – both Republicans and Democrats – behind Trump, which in turn would translate to approval to invade Iran.

 

If Ayatollah Ali Khamenei thinks Trump will hesitate to send cruise missiles into Tehran, he should think again. Trump could easily ignore the death of one U.S. civilian contractor. But he didn’t. The president launched airstrike and killed 25 militants sponsored by Iran. And he did not hesitate to kill Soleimani after the U.S. Embassy was assaulted. Perhaps Iran should just suck it up.

Iran Top General Qassem Soleimani - Killed By US President Donald Trump

 

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