On Jan. 3 2020, the U.S. launched a drone strike near the Baghdad National Airport in Iraq that resulted in ten casualties; including President Trump’s target–Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
This attack rekindled the debate of relations between the U.S. and Iran leading into many questions on the future of the U.S and Iran relationship. Many have been quick to call this attack rash and irresponsible, others say it was a necessity, so let’s answer the first question– how did it escalate to this?
Iran and U.S. current relations were largely sewn back in 1953 with a coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, a democratically elected leader of Iran. Since then, tensions have only escalated in both parties. These have ranged from shooting down passenger planes, nuclear fears, economic sanctions and potential or unjustified attacks.
Soleimani was the leader of the Quds Force, an elite fighting group from Iran’s military that worked overseas. Soleimani had been leading this force since 1998 and has been accused or suspected of many attacks.
According to CNN, Soleimani was involved in the failed assassination of Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. Al-Jubeir’s soldiers provided bombs made to penetrate armor which led to casualties of many American troops fighting in Iraq.
Soleimani played a major role in Iran’s military forces. Sources from CNN state Soleimani was helping direct forces in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon before his death. The question is, if he’s been responsible for so much, why wait so long to strike? Some have argued that Soleimani’s death was long overdue, however, a major deterrent has always been this action could lead to war. The most common reason for the strike comes from the Pentagon, stating that Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
This argument is key as the attack took place without congressional approval. It could be argued the attacks were unjustified and an abuse of power.
Regardless of how constitutional the President’s actions were, the military might of the U.S. is currently unmatched and Iran wouldn’t stand a chance in a full-on conflict. However, small scale attacks on American soil are likely. The possibility of Iranians carrying out these attacks is uncertain, many Iranians have been seen chanting “Death to America,” but according to the New York Times, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated “[Iran did] not seek escalation or war.”
The death of Gen. Qasem Soleimani raised a lot of questions and left many more unanswered. The likelihood of war is quite low, however, the relations between these two nations continue to ever decline leading to wonder what each nation will resort to. The U.S and Iranian leaders have had discussions about a resolution. But how long that will last, remains up for debate.
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