Iranian General Qassim Soleimani (the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force) had a strong influence in the Middle East. He has been involved in its military since the 1980s and was the mastermind behind multiple attacks in Iraq and Syria. He was involved in training militias and oversaw operations carried out by various military forces that expanded Iranian influence in the Middle East. A study conducted by the University of Maryland revealed that Iranians viewed Soleimani more favorably than their president. On Jan. 2nd, 2020, he was assassinated by a drone strike that the US military ordered. This act of violence shocked people across the world. The Pentagon released a statement stating that “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats…This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
His assassination was no coup de grace; instead, it is leading Iran and the US into a conflict more serious than previously thought. This was proven earlier this month when Iran fired ballistic missiles at an American military base in Iraq in retaliation. Later, Iran fired a missile at a Ukranian plane. They had mistaken it as a hostile target and ended up killing everyone on board.
The attacks have started many discussions about a potential third world war. After the Ukranian plane was shot down, the Commander of the Aerospace Force in Iran even stated that “We had prepared ourselves for an all-out war.”
Since it has not been long since these attacks, it is too soon to tell whether or not it will result in that. However, Soleimani should not have been killed. It was a reckless thing to do. The consequences of his death have been too severe which the US government already knew would happen.
President Donald Trump was approached while in Mar-a-Lago with several options about what to do in Iran by his staff. The option of killing Soleimani was given in order to make the other options seem more reasonable, CNN reported. Trump ended up picking Soleimani’s assassination. This decision shocked officials, who knew that going after Soleimani was too risky. They were right.
The irony in this decision is Trump’s views on Iran before he became president. Since Soleimani’s assassination, a video of Trump has gone viral online with him discussing conflicts in Iran during Barack Obama’s presidency.
“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective,” Trump said.
Ironically, this is what Trump is doing. Some people have questioned whether or not Soleimani’s killing was done because of Trump’s impeachment. It seems like a likely answer. There was no proof of any impending attacks on Americans in Iran. It is very likely that this could have been done as a distraction.
However, it was a very poorly executed distraction as Soleimani was a revered figure in Iran, and this killing seems to be the final straw when it comes to the US’s and Iran’s strained relationship.
See Staff Writer Ryan Burdo’s opposing argument here: