Iran has responded to the United States’ attack that killed General Qasem Soleimani by launching missiles at two US facilities in Iraq.
In what increasingly seems to be growing closer to a declaration of war, the Iranian government has responded to US President Donal Trump’s decision to draw first blood by assassinating a revered military leader. The United States’ move to assassinate Soleimani has been met in kind by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ attack on two military facilities in Iraq, where US troops are stationed.
As reported by NBC, both Trump and Vice President Pence have traveled to Ain al-Asad in recent years.
President Trump responded in the early hours of Wednesday morning, tweeting that casualties and damages were still being assessed, while boasting that, “We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!”.
He concluded by saying that he will be making a statement in the morning.
The US/Iranian conflict could have global significance, especially after neighbouring Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was caught mistakenly calling Israel a nuclear power, then correcting himself immediately afterwards by rather calling Israel an “energy power”. Russia and Iran are also strategically aligned.
The Iran–Israel proxy conflict dates back to August 2005, and Israel has been supported by the United States, who have a long history of violence against Iran that dates all the way back to the 1953 plot to overthrow the democratic government of Iran. They also supported Saddam Hussein’s attack on Iran in their largest naval combat operation since World War II in 1988. Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom are Israel’s other supporters in the proxy war. Another potential link in the story is Russia’s good relationship with Iran.
The image above, courtesy of CNN, shows how many US Troops are stationed in Iran’s neighbouring territories.
So are we facing a World War?
It’s too early to tell.
We’re still waiting on Trump for now, but this conflict is certainly long-standing, highly complicated and volatile. As is the case for any foreign policy issue, there are several parties making different decisions and there’s no predicting how circumstances will change.
The First World War was preceded by an arms race, formation of two major alliances and the assassination of a major political figure, Franz Ferdinand. World War II was kick started by an economically wounded Germany that was emboldened by a cult of personality, and various acts of aggression triggered the declaration of war.
I don’t think World War III is upon us, but it’s probably important to at least understand the details of this conflict, given the potential consequences.