Saturday, January 11, 2020
The Killing of Qassem Soleimani: Making the World Safer or Lighting the Fuse for WWIII?
They are responsible for the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and even other Muslims, plus the kidnapping, rapes and selling of young women into slavery. The final straw for the U.S. was the murder of an American contractor, ordered by General Soleimani. From a moral perspective, the world is far better off by his removal. But is the world any safer? By removing this individual are we any closer to world or even regional peace?
There's no question that General Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force, part of the hard line Revolutionary Guards which serves as a cross between the CIA, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and Delta Force, was despicable; someone on the same level as a Tamerlane or Himmler. President Trump has received nothing but criticism, ranging from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Democratic Party to the print and electronic media to the talking heads on television.
Pelosi is miffed that Trump didn't tell her first about the pending attack. But then, President Obama didn't tell her beforehand about taking out Osama Ben Laden either and she was just fine with it. In fact, not only Obama, but George W. Bush had ordered the targeting of key ISIS and Al Qaeda leaders without alerting either Pelosi or Congress and everyone seemed okay with that. In fact, the media never said "boo" to either about it. Now why is that? My guess is that this is nothing more than an ongoing attempt at character assassination; of promoting public distrust of President Trump.
Al-Mudandi had arrived with a small convoy to meet with Soleimani and escort him to a safe location outside of Baghdad, presumably to coordinate plans for future terror attacks on pro-Western targets, including U.S. diplomats and military personnel. Al-Mudanhi and a driver were also killed in the attack. It should be pointed out that the drone attack which took out Soleimani came just days after a failed attempt to seize the U.S. embassy by pro-Iranian militias in Baghdad had ended (that attack was in response to an earlier U.S. air attacks killing 25 Hezbollah fighters).
In addition, under the direction of Soleimani, members of the Revolutionary Guards had seized or attacked several oil tankers in the Gulf of Hormuz, attacked a Saudi oil field, and shot down a U.S. surveillance drone (okay, that may have been justified). Pro-Iranians militias, operating through Quds Force, have also been active in Syria and supplying both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Giza.
So now what? Well, in keeping with tradition, Iran responded. They withdrew from the agreement restricting their development of "nuclear reactors" (wink wink) which, to be honest, they've not been following anyway. They also launched a limited missile attack on two American bases in Iraq (no one was killed or injured). Heck, they've even raised their "red flag of doom" on the Jamkaran Mosque in Qom to signify a pending war (this is Iran's largest and most famous mosque).
Iran has to be careful in its response. First, to overreact is to essentially admit that Western intelligence was correct about Soleimani's importance as the mastermind behind Iran's attempts to destabilize the region and export its brand of radicalized Islam. Iran, while acknowledging Soleimani as the head of Quds Force, has long denied any involvement in terrorism in the region. Their response must be measured; even downplayed. He must be treated a merely a high ranking general.
Secondly, despite American led sanctions, Iran depends heavily on its restricted oil exports to keep the economy going. Iran has close ties to Russia, China, and North Korea which has helped. So has its limited trade agreement with the EU (especially France, Germany and the UK), along with various Arab nations including the United Arab Republic (UAR). To engage the U.S. in a tit-for-tat conflict could easily disrupt Iran's current trade arrangements, which would plunge the country into an economic spiral for which it might not recover.
At the same time, a enlarged U.S. military involvement in the region could also trigger panic in the West and drive the cost of oil and gas to near record highs (some have predicted as much as $100 per barrel of oil). Despite having one of the strongest militaries in the Middle East, Iran wouldn't stand much of a chance against the U.S. However, Iran would be no Iraq. The Iranians are much better trained and equipped than Saddam's forces thanks to support from Russia and China.
I would expect Hamas and Hezbollah to attack Israel with weapons its stockpiled from Iran. Additionally, it would provide an irresistible opportunity for North Korea to act up as well with a possible attack against South Korea, launch missiles at Japan (which it hates as much as it hates us) or even Hawaii or U.S. territories like Guam or Midway. Who knows, maybe China would use U.S. preoccupation to retake Taiwan. After all, we can't be everywhere and with over 20 years of active military engagement, we're kind of pooped. Our military badly needs time to reset, overhaul equipment and replenish inventory. The burnout rate of military personnel is at record highs (as are suicides).
Lastly, there's home...our home, America. Although Homeland Security, U.S. intelligence agencies, members of Congress, and the media have long known but remained virtually silent on the point that there is the strong likelihood of the Muslim terrorist cells in the U.S and quite possibly Canada, the UK, Mexico, throughout Western Europe.
For that matter, Russia and China likely have terrorist cells as well. Both Russia and China have had ongoing problems with Muslim separatists. There are some 9.4 million Muslims in Russia; mostly living in the southwestern portion of the country. Russia's troubles with the Chechens started back in 1994 and is still going on, with thousands dead and no end in sight. China has been attempting to suppress the Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Province for a couple of decades now.
A war or even a serious uptick in hostilities between Iran and the United States benefits no one. It would deeply affect not just the already fragile economy of Iran (and possibly topple their government), but further destabilize the region, and deeply affect the economies of Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the world. It could engulf the world in a asymmetrical war which could last decades and where there would be no winners.
It's even possible, if not likely, that the end result could be a nuclear war. At the very least, it could involve chemical and biological weapons regardless of any so-called "international prohibitions". I don't care what god you believe in, I can't imagine one who would want to see all of humanity either destroyed or reduced to subsistence conditions. We could only hope that aliens would come down and save us from ourselves.
But reality being what it is, this is about oil. It's about gas. It's also about its control and flow. As an aside, Iran had just announced the discovered of an new oil field capable of producing over 56 billion barrels of oil. Think that's a coincidence? The ruling Oligarchy is, as readers of A/O already know, all about the control of assets and resources, which, by the way, also includes us.
If they are unable to acquire control through normal business channels, then they will employ the resources of government, which they control, to achieve their desired consequences, backed by a media they also control, to manufacture a properly suited villain. Add a dash of nationalism, a pinch of fear and you've got yourself the recipe for a military "intervention". Whether it's called a "war of liberation", a "fight for freedom" or "spreading democracy", it's all about control and, of course, profit.
All three men acted on what others told them. This is where you'll find the ruling Oligarchy; the "Deep State". It lays within the system itself, which makes the situation all the more dangerous. We can only hope that those who advise the president, whoever that may be, are acting in our national interests with an eye toward preserving Humanity rather than towards short term power and wealth.
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