- The death of Qasem Soleimani via US drone strike will create unrest within the Shiite community.
- Russia would have to back Iran in case of military conflict.
- Donald Trump tweeted between 2011 and 2013, claiming starting a war in the Middle East would get Barrack Obama reelected.
Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani has been killed in a drone strike at the Baghdad Airport. The strike was carried out by the US and was ordered by President Donald Trump. Soleimani was a powerful Iranian General and a veteran of the Syrian War. Soleimani led the work of Iranian military advisers in Iraq, and also led the Quds organization, which is responsible for military and intelligence and sabotage activities outside of Iran itself. The force reports directly to the supreme leader of The Republic of Iran, Ali Khamenei.
One of the reasons for the strike was the US embassy breach by Iranian backed militias. The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed the drone strike and that Soleimani was indeed the target. The Pentagon’s statement says that Soleimani “approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.” Nevertheless, this killing will cause tensions.
Soleimani’s death could cause unrest by Shiites around the world. “The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” said Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces
It could also lead to a new war in the Middle East. Shia Islam is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam after him, most notably in the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident of Saqifah.
Since the attacks were precise and targeted, it is plausible to believe there were traitors among the Iranian ranks and great job by the US intelligence personnel to obtain such intelligence.
Iran now is put in the situation of either saving face and retaliating or admit defeat in this scenario. The latter is highly unlikely, hence the high probability of the another war in the Middle East. There is a big possibility of Russia backing Iran, if in fact a war in the Middle East were to occur. Iran just held joint naval drills with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman.
In 2012, a Russian government official made a statement about Russia supporting Iran during a military conflict.
Donald Trump also tweeted between 2011 and 2013 claiming that at the time US President Barrack Obama would start a war either in Iran or Libya in order to get re-elected. Ironically, the current attacks that were carried out by the US come as Trump is facing the possibility of impeachment which could prevent him from winning another term in office. A war in the Middle East could benefit Trump and shift all the focus to the Middle East and away from the turmoil between Republicans and Democrats created by the election of Trump as president. Needless to say, the US economy would take a dive if another war in the Middle East were to happen this year.
Turkey and Russia will have an involvement and it could even lead to Turkey’s departure from NATO.
From a geopolitical prospective, it is not in Russia’s best interest for Iran to be empowered. The conflict could adversely affect Russia’s relations with the West, especially when it comes to trade, putting an undue hardship on the Russian economy.
On the other hand, Vladimir Putin has his own grandiose agenda and Russia backing down from helping Iran would be seen negatively by Shiites. The one benefit for the Kremlin would be that any war in the Middle East would take the focus completely away from the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Also, Eastern Europe and the Balkans would have to take a step back. The best case scenario for Russia right now is for a truce after the drone strikes and to avoid any further military operations by either the US or Iran.
Overall, tensions will continue to escalate. It is not over and Iran can be dangerous.