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More Sparks Fly in Trump's Feud with Iran

Robert Dimuro

Posted on January 12, 2020 11:14

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Could Trump's and Iran's actions precipitate another war in the Middle East?

The killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad gave 2020 an eventful start. Not surprisingly, the targeted strike drew support and disdain along partisan lines. Speaker Pelosi called it “provocative” and “disproportionate,” while the White House maintains that the strike was necessary to head off imminent danger.

Although tension with Iran may be nearing a climax, this incident is only the latest spark in a long string of incidents involving Iran since the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and it remains to be seen whether or not Trump will put enough pressure on the regime to uncork the bottle. 

Although Democrats seem to have a reflexive dismissal of everything Trump says and does, criticism of the mission has legitimacy. One critique is that the administration’s justification for the attacks softened as time passed.

At first, the attack was justified because it upended a plot orchestrated by Soleimani to kill Americans. A few days later, Trump skirted mentioning any imminent threat and said Soleimani should have been killed years ago.

The day after that, Trump said openly that the attack was retaliation, and, that same day, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said: “his time was due.”

Of course, Soleimani is not an innocent man - his ties to terrorist organizations are well-established by intelligence, and the US considers him a terrorist. Therefore, it could be argued that no immediate justification was even necessary to eliminate him.

However, although the US has a long history of targeting terrorists that are security threats, the assassination of Soleimani, who was a top general in a legitimate government, raises the stakes significantly and could send us down the rabbit hole into war.

Fortunately, we have a president who isn’t afraid of sending our mighty military anywhere around the world if need be. Trump made this clear with Iran when he pulled the US out of the Iranian Nuclear Deal, which signaled that America wouldn’t tolerate an economically strong or nuclear-capable Iran. 

Undoubtedly, this was a slap in the face to Iran, and it’s reasonable to question whether or not termination of the deal was the right move. Iran’s staunch anti-Zionism may have literally been the dealbreaker for Trump and Republicans in Congress, as it’s possible that a nuclear Iran would leverage the threat of a nuclear strike on Israel to strongarm the US into making strategic concessions in the region.

However, relations were steadily improving with Iran after the deal’s negotiation, and it’s possible that economic relief and subsequent growth could have pacified Iran’s hostility toward the United States and her allies.

Ever since our withdrawal from the deal, Iran has demonstrated repeatedly that it’s ready for war. In the past year, Iran has stopped and seized ships, shot down a US drone, exceeded its limit in stockpiled uranium, and even unveiled a new missile defense system. In my estimation, all signs point to a war with Iran in the near future that may finally steer the US away from Iraq and Syria.

Robert Dimuro

Posted on January 12, 2020 11:14

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Source: NYT

Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, an influential Iranian military leader, ridiculed President Trump for his tweets threatening...

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