On January 3, Iran Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US strike at Baghdad’s international airport. Soleimani was considered as the most deadly adversary by America and its allies. General Soleimani, who commanded the external operations, “Quds Force”, for the Guards, had shaken his regional clout openly since 2018 when it was revealed that he had a direct association in top-level talks over the formation of Iraq’s government.
However, it never came out as a surprise as he had been at the centre of power-broking in the region for two decades. He had been in and out of Baghdad ever since, most recently last month as parties seeking to form a new government.
He became a public face of Iran after the intervention in the Syrian conflict from 2013–making his appearance in battlefield videos, pictures and many more.
To his fans and enemies alike, Soleimani was the principal creator of Iran’s regional influence, leading the fight against terrorists and extending Iran’s diplomatic heft in Iraq, Syria and beyond.
To both the Middle East and Western countries, he was equally a threat as he was quite a hero figure for Iranians. With Iran’s internal issues and US pressure on them, Iranians supported Soleimani to enter domestic politics.
Though he denied the rumours of him going after presidential power, he had a strong influence on Iraq. His influence had deep roots as Soleimani was already leading the Quds Force when the US penetrated Afghanistan in 2001.
Following the airstrike, the US Embassy in Baghdad urges American citizens to leave Iraq by issuing a statement foreseeing a heightened tension in the region.
What did Trump say?
Defending the action, US President Donald Trump said in a press conference that “The United States military executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number one terrorist anywhere in the world, Qassem Soleimani.”
Furthermore, he said that Soleimani was plotting an attack against American diplomats and military personnel; however, he was terminated before he could succeed. “Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, adding to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London, Trump stated. He alleged that Soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilize the Middle East for the last 20 years.
Following the death of Soleimani, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Soleimani and other country men’s death would not stop the mission they started. Forceful revenge awaits the criminals who took away the life of Soleimani and others.
In a letter to the UN Security Council, Iranian ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi stated that Tehran possessed the right to self-defence under international law.
As per the experts in International relations– there will be severe retaliation, but the American killing of Tehran’s top general likely won’t lead to a Third World War.
They claim that there is a potential for a massive conflict if Iran were to target American naval assets or hit numerous other targets in the area. They believed that it would have been better to deal with Soleimani in person that kill him, as it only stirred the current unrest situation between the two countries.
The two nations have faced repeated crises since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and taxed crippling sanctions. The US said it would send nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Middle East after the kill.
Will the world have to face the dreadful consequence? This question is yet in a debate, as we will have to wait till Iranians finish the public mourning period declared for three days over Soleimani death.