Iran Vows Revenge Against US after Airstrike on Top General

In the early morning of January 3rd, the top general of Iranian special forces Qassem Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in Iraq. Soleimani’s death has left the international community worried about the future in the region. The possibility of war looms overhead as Iranian government officials vow revenge against the United States.

Who was Qassem Soleimani? 

Qassem Suleimani“Qassem Suleimani” by AslanMedia is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

General Qassem Soleimani was the head of the Iranian special quad forces and was one of the leaders in Iran’s proxy wars in the Middle East. He is regarded by Iranians as a national hero as his efforts often disrupted and caused havoc to US interests in the region. Despite US sanctions on the nation, with the help of Soleimani, Iran has been able to build up its nuclear program, acquire ballistic missiles, and give arms and funding to rebel groups in Yemen and Lebanon. Soleimani was deemed responsible by the US defense department for aiding terrorist cells against US interests while also heading the attack on the US embassy in Iraq. Other notable military actions by Soleimani include training Iraqi insurgents to set up bombs against US troops in Iraq which Iran has denied, supporting the Syrian Government in its civil war, training militias to fight against ISIS, and allegedly planning attacks against American contractors and diplomats.

Since his death, Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has declared a three-day mourning for the late Soleimani, with plans to retaliate against the US.

 

By nknown – http://www.15khordad42.net/pic/picshow/75.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15060978

History of Aggression

American/Iranian relations have never been good. The hate for the US from Iran started in 1953 when the US CIA overthrew the democratically elected Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. Mossadegh was popular among Iranians for modernizing the nation while resisting American and Soviet influence. The US overthrew his government when Mossadegh nationalized Iranian oil claiming that “Iranian oil belongs to Iran.”  Before Mossadegh, Iran’s oil was controlled by an English oil company. Mossadegh planned to pay reparations to the company while keeping Iran’s oil for his nation. The English did not like this and asked US President Eisenhower for help. The US propped up the authoritarian Reza Pahlavi whose dynasty would see modernization, but suppression of freedoms, suppression of religion, extreme poverty, violent crackdowns, and immense corruption. The coup is seen by many today as the starting point for Iran’s hatred toward the US. 

In 1973 the Iranian Islamic Revolution took place, kicking out the US-backed dictator for the religious cleric Ruhollah Khomeini to take power, creating the Islamic Republican of Iran. The new government under Khomeini was influenced by the anger and hatred of the US and the Western world. Anything resembling Western culture was destroyed; those who disagreed with the new government were tortured, killed, or exiled. Strict religious traditionalism was forced onto the population, giving us the Iran we know today. Since then, Iran has been an adversary to the US, taking American hostages in 1979, and confronting the US wherever it went.

Recent US Iran relations

In 2015, President Barack Obama issued a deal with the Iranian government, where they would reduce key resources in creating nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting sanctions on the nation. However in 2016, President Donald Trump cancelled the deal, claiming that the US got nothing out of that. Since then Iran is still in possession of materials that can be used to create nuclear weapons. This combined with Iran’s hostility does not sit well with the US. Tensions rose when, in 2019, an Iranian oil tanker was attacked by unknown forces off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Later that year, a Saudi Arabian oil field was attacked by Iranian backed rebels. The US has constantly threatened military force against Iran, but has been lenient until now. 

 

What this means for Trump and America

Trump has received praise from his supporters as they say he has defended America against Iranian aggression, while critics claim that this could potentially drag us into another endless war in the Middle East while repeating the mistakes of Bush in Iraq. Ironically Trump criticized Obama for the same thing in a string of Tweets from 2013.


 

 

 

 

 

Iran’s army is much larger than Iraq’s and is very well equipped. The region is mountainous and is filled with armed people who hate the US. Many are saying that a war would be disastrous and would create more terrorist problems as the war in Iraq did, with Iran vowing to take revenge, the future is anything but certain.

 

Sources

Abdul-zahra, Q. (2020, January 3). US kills Iran’s most powerful general in Baghdad airstrike. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://apnews.com/5597ff0f046a67805cc233d5933a53ed.

Afary, J. (2019, September 20). Iranian Revolution. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/event/Iranian-Revolution.

Campbell, B. (2020, January 3). Pentagon Says Top Iranian Military Leader Killed In Airstrikes On Iraqi Airport. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/01/02/793208096/iraqi-tv-says-top-iranian-military-leader-killed-in-rocket-strikes-on-iraqi-airp.

Iran nuclear deal: Key details. (2019, June 11). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33521655.

Iran Promises Retaliation After U.S. Kills General: Live Updates. (2020, January 3). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/world/middleeast/iranian-general-qassem-soleimani-killed.html.

Karimi, N., & Gambrell, J. (2019, October 11). Iran says an oil tanker was struck by missiles off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/10/11/iran-oil-tanker-attack-missiles-saudi-arabia-coast/3941248002/.

Live updates: 3,500 additional U.S. troops headed to Mideast as Iran threatens retaliation. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-strike-live-updates/2020/01/03/3779f55c-2e33-11ea-bcb3-ac6482c4a92f_story.html.

Wood, V. (2020, January 3). Trump claims killed general was ‘plotting to kill’ Americans, and urges US citizens to leave Iraq immediately – follow live. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-news-live-trump-war-latest-iraq-general-soleimani-death-attack-a9268526.html.

Wu, L., & Lanz, M. (2019, February 7). How The CIA Overthrew Iran’s Democracy In 4 Days. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2019/01/31/690363402/how-the-cia-overthrew-irans-democracy-in-four-days.