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Trump and Soleimani

Does This Mean War?

There is no gambling like politics.

— Benjamin Disraeli

Good morning folks.

So we’re four days into a new year, a new decade. Everyone said goodbye and good riddance to 2019, with the general consensus being that it was a naff year, and that 2020 has got to be better…

And then we turned on the news. Or went on social media.

And we were bombarded with WW3 memes and news reports of Trump and some guy getting killed. Except it wasn’t just some guy. Or even just one guy.

The US killed the second most important person in Iran, as well as the Commander of a major paramilitary group, and they didn’t even do it in the relevant countries. The US killed these Iranian men in Iraq, at the Baghdad International Airport, thus dragging in an unwilling third party to this mess.

However, while it is easy to condemn Trump for his actions, for riling up the militaries within the Middle East and potentially destabilising the region once more, it’s important to understand the possible reasons for why he did this.

So, who were the men he had killed?

Qassem Soleimani. He was head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, an elite military unit deemed a terrorist organisation by the US. He was an incredibly influential figure, one who aided Iran’s rise to power, and who stirred up a great deal of controversy. During the Iraq war, the US believed that he was the one who provided insurgents with bombs specifically made to penetrate armour commonly used by the American soldiers. Iran denied this.   

In the battle against ISIS, he was often on the battlefield, helping Shia forces. He was not one to shy away from battle. But he was also one who would bring the fight to US soil, targeting diplomats and plotting assassinations. He was a dangerous man, one the American government, and likely many others, wanted dead.

The other man was Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), a force backed by Iran. The PMF is a Shia paramilitary, formed to fight ISIS in 2014.

Al-Muhandis was also a man known for his work with Hezbollah, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He had successfully made his way onto the US’ list of terrorists, and over the years developed his reputation as a dangerous man, involved in attacks including those held on the US and French embassies in Kuwait. He was often on the run, trying hard to avoid being identified by US forces.

Both of these men were on the US hit list, and understandably so. But why would the US direct such a blatant attack?

Sadly, at this time, that is the question on everyone’s lips. Even the US Congress is hoping to understand the Administration’s reasoning behind this in due course, but for now all we have is conjecture, anger, and the threat of revenge looming over our heads.

Will this lead to war? Hopefully not. Probably not.

But will it soon be forgotten? Hell no.