The United States portrayed top Iranian commander Major Gen Qassem Soleimani, killed in an air strike, as architect of Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East.
After killing him, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in 22-second video, tweeted Iraqis are celebrating the death of top Iran commander by “dancing in streets”. He could not see Iraqi processions shouting`death to America.
Media speculated Pakistan tacitly supports US strike (Asian Lite report dated January4, 2020), but Pakistan denies it. In an attempt to woo India, Trump said, ‘Soleimani plotted terror attacks in India’(Sunday Standard January 4, 2020). He apparently alluded to the February 13, 2012 bomb blast in New Delhi, in which Israeli diplomat TalYehoshua Koren was injured. With billions sunken in Chahbahar port construction, India is unlikely to be weaned away so easily.
A dormant UNO: Threats of forced regime- changes have made a mockery of the UNO. Wars become inevitable when the world leaders develop hallucinations of diabolical enemy images. Kaiser Wilhelm saw devils in both Russia and England. This perception led him to attack Russia and England.
The UNO should not be used as a rubber stamp. In Korean War, the UNO lost the credibility to act as a true mediator because it merged with the American cause. America’s humanitarian intervention in Viet Nam led to dropping of seven million tons of bombs (eighty times the amount that was dropped on Britain during the World War II, equivalent to over three hundred atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945). In return, the USA also received 55,000 metal caskets, and war costs of $ 150 billion. Need for peace: If the USA had not plunged into Indo-China, Viet Nam would have emerged as a Titoist nationalist, rather than a Beijing or Moscow satellite.
John G. Stoessinger reminds: ‘A victor’s peace, history teaches us, is seldom lasting. Neither is total defeat’ (Why Nations Go to War, p. 217).
Peace with Iran means peace in Hormuz Straits and with hizbollah, as also in Yemen. Let us see whether the US government is able to convince the American mothers to contribute body-packs to Iran? Through propaganda the government is trying to mold people (who Chomsky calls a`bewildered herd’) for war against Iran (Noam Chomsky’s Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, Karachi, Vanguard, 2004, p.16). Chomski reminds that Woodrow Wilson wanted to plunge the pacifist American people in war against Germany. He established a government propaganda commission, Creel Commission, which succeeded, within six months, in turning the pacifist population into a hysterical, war mongering population which wanted to destroy everything German, tear the Germans limb from limb,
go to war and save the world.(ibid., page 12). The US government has not been impressed by Chomsky’s suggestions for defusing the Iran crisis (Defusing Iran crisis): (a) The US and Israel should stop threatening Iran so that Iran does not consider nuclear deterrence necessary. (b) All production and processing of weapons-usable material be under international control with ‘assurance that legitimate would-be users could get their supplies’. (c) The 1993 UN resolution for fissile material cut-off treaty should be fully implemented.
Iran’s options: Iran could target U.S. troops in Iraq, either using mid-range rockets or ballistic missiles. Iran-backed proxies in the region, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the `popular militia force’ in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen, can carry out on America’s allies.
Soleimani’s assassination may reduce divisions within Iranian politics between moderates and conservatives.
Iran may avoid a direct military confrontation, but it may exercise smorgasbord of options.
Shia proxies may hit US assets in West Asia or use cyber weapons to cripple networks in mainland America. For the time being, Iran is unlikely to shut down Straits of Hormuz, lest supplies to China are truncated.
Credibility of Iraq regime would be eroded further. At present, America has about 5,000 troops deployed in various parts of Iraq. Most Shia political parties and leaders in Iraq have deep, historical ties with the Iranian regime. The U.S.’s unilateral use of air power within Iraq targeting Iraqi militias without the permission of the government has flabbergasted Baghdad. Its parliament has condemned the attack as a political assassination.