While General Qasim Soleimani’s death in a US air strike may not seem big enough a development to start an all-out war, there is no denying that this deliberate attempt to escalate tensions in the region will have severe consequences. For one thing, Soleimani was no ordinary Iranian soldier, for another, his assassination is a US response to the increasing Iranian military strength and political/economic standing in the region—a situation that the US and Israel have long been trying to reverse. Iranian influence in the region, specifically in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is a major bone of contention between the US/Israel/Saudi triad and Iran. It iwas a primary reason for the Trump administration’s exit from the Iran-nuclear deal—a step that helped lead to the present crisis.
The US president’s assertion that the decision to take Soleimani out was taken to ‘prevent a war’ is no more than a sophomoric sham. Historically speaking, Iran has been averse to starting wars. More than ever, this historical fact holds true today because of one simple fact: Iran’s resistance has been phenomenally successful against the US-Israeli-Saudi nexus in Syria and Iraq. In fact, if this resistance had not been successful, the US and its criminal allies would not have been so worried about Iranian presence in the Levant. Hence, the simple question is: why would Iran want to start a new war when it was already winning the old war of resistance against US, Israeli, and Saudi aggression, and is most likely to stay the course?
Of course, Iran wants the US out of the region for obvious reasons. While it may seem that a new war, which trump said Soleimani was just about to start, might, hypothetically speaking, enable the Iranians to accomplish their objective, even this objective does not warrant an all-out war. On the other hand, all it requires is a tenacious continuation of the same strategy and tactics that the Iranians have been following ever since the US/Saudia/Israel-sponsored war in Syria, and Iran’s resort not to an all-out war but the ideologically motivated resistance groups.
By assassinating Soleimani and Muhandis, the US has further made plain the US’s true motives in the region. Those two figures had been the major leaders of resistance against the grand US strategic project whereby the US’s terror networks were to grow in the Levant and penetrate all the way into Russia and China—a project that was and still is crucial for sustaining US hegemony in the region.
The air strike that killed Soleimani, therefore, has nothing to do with a ‘new war.’ On the contrary, it is a continuation of the same war the US has been fomenting in the region. Notwithstanding the many loses the US has suffered, there is little doubt of the absolute crucial importance of this war for the US to gain control of the region, and that made the US act in the reckless manner it did in this fateful air strike.
The US imagined an all-out Iranian response, a pretext that the US-Israel-Saudia triad would use to extend their war toward Russian territory. However, as said earlier, Iran is averse to all-out wars. While a befitting Iranian response will come, it will most likely be in the form of an even more entrenched resistance to the US occupation of the Levant.
Ever since the recent Baghdad-embassy incidents (trying to convince the US to leave Iraq) the US has been sending its troops to the region, turning it into a new war-zone. Trump thought it would work to his advantage in his re-election at a time when he is feeling cornered due to impeachment. The same holds true for Trump’s buddy, the indicted Netanyahu in Israel.
But a calculated Iranian response will defeat these objectives. In other words, Trump’s political fortunes will most likely suffer. The war that Trump wanted to prevent will spread. The all-out war that Trump wanted will not happen, but rather an energized entrenched resistance i.e., what Iran will do.
As the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, General Ali Fadavi, said, “The Americans should be waiting for that severe revenge; that vengeance is not to be taken by Iran only.… The great resistance front covering a vast geographical area stands ready to take revenge, and that is sure to happen.”
Iranian response will, therefore, most likely focus on hurting the US well beyond Iraq, where the US strike killed Soleimani. And, the objective of this calculated horizontal escalation will be to make life extremely difficult for the US in the Levant and force it to drive itself out of the region.