US-Iran Tensions: Trump Crossed the Red Line

Tensions between the US and Iran dramatically sharpened after the US drone strike at Baghdad’s airport on January 3, this year, which killed military commander, General. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, along with five members of the militia, including its leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. In another airstrike north of Baghdad, almost exactly 24 hours after the one, an Iraqi security official said that the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces confirmed the strike, saying it hit one of its medical convoys. But, none of its top leaders were killed.

Gen Soleimani killing

US President Donald Trump who ordered the strike said that the Gen. Soleimani had “killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans…and was plotting to kill many more…directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people”.

A statement from the Pentagon allegedly said that Gen. Soleimani had been “developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region…This strike were aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans…Muhandis commanded the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group”, which Washington blamed “for a rocket attack that killed a US civilian contractor in northern Iraq last Friday” [February 27, 2019].

The drone strike came days after protesters attacked the US embassy in Baghdad, clashing with US forces at the scene. The Pentagon added that Soleimani approved the attacks on the embassy, while both Iraq and Iran denied the allegations.

On the same day, in response to the killing of Gen. Soleimani, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promised retaliation by stating, “Severe revenge awaits the criminals”.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the attack, “The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani…The most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda…is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation…the US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism”.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the “assassination” of Soleimani as a “dangerous escalation” of regional tensions in wake of protests and demonstrations against America and Israel. Iran-backed political parties in Iraq have been criticizing the anti-corruption protests in Baghdad, viewing them as part of a conspiracy to dislodge Iran’s influence. But, on Saturday [February 4, 2020], the two sides—one pro-Iran and the other anti-Iran, shared a similar, anti-American message. Next day, Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution, calling on the US to withdraw its troops from the country. In response, Trump threatened sanctions against Iraq.

As Gen. Soleimani’s killing marked a major escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran, world leaders and rulers have warned about dangerous consequences. 

In this connection, Russia called the killing of Gen. Suleimani “a murder…a reckless step” by the US…an adventurist step that will increase tensions throughout the region and has cautioned that the US attack could have grave consequences”.

China urged for restraint on all sides, “especially the United States.”

In Europe, the UK called for “all parties to de-escalate”. In France, the country’s junior minister for European affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, stated that she would soon consult with countries in the region. She added, “We have woken up to a more dangerous world, calling for “stability and de-escalation.” Germany stated that the situation in the Middle East has reached “a dangerous escalation point” and that “conflicts in the region can only be resolved diplomatically”.

President of the European Council Charles Michel urged all parties involved to avoid further escalation “at all cost” by explaining that “the risk of the recent cycle of violence in Iraq is a generalised flare-up of violence in the whole region”.

France, Britain and Germany called on Iran to refrain from any violent action and respect arrangements laid out in the JCPOA 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The three countries also highlighted the importance of de-escalating tensions in Iraq and Iran, reaffirming their determination to fight the Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh). They stated: “We are ready to continue talks with all parties in order to contribute to de-escalating tensions and re-establishing stability in the region”.

In a statement, Syrian foreign ministry has strongly condemned what it calls “treacherous American criminal aggression” that killed Iran’s top general and others, warning that it constitutes a “dangerous escalation” in the region— the attack will only strengthen the resolve to continue down the path set “by the martyred leaders of the resistance against American interference in the affairs of the countries of the region..the attack reaffirms the U.S. responsibility for the instability in Iraq as part of its policy to “create tensions and fuel conflicts in the countries of the region.”

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group called for Soleimani’s death to be avenged. Its chief Hassan Nasrullah said that the US army will “pay the price” for killing Soleimani and al-Muhandis. 

Hamas, the Palestinian group condemned what it called “U.S. bullying” that it said served the interests of Israel. It offered condolences to Iran on the death of General Suleimani, saying in a statement that he had “played a major and critical role in supporting Palestinian resistance at all levels.”

Yemen’s Houthi rebel group has called for striking the U.S. military bases in the region in swift reprisal for the killing of the senior Iranian commander Soleimani.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the US drone airstrike, following killing of a top Iranian commander by elaborating: “Turkey always stands against foreign intervention and considers recent U.S. attack in Baghdad with this same understanding…Iran probably would not remain unresponsive over the killing of Qasem Soleimani…the choice of the U.S. of killing a top Iranian commander would rise the tensions in the region”.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked that the US had the “right” to defend itself and praised President Trump for acting “swiftly, forcefully and decisively by elaborating: “General Suleimani, a longtime adversary of Israel, was credited with overseeing many attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets…he was behind military actions from Syria, across Israel’s northern frontier”. Netanyahu also said that Israel stood alongside the US in its current campaign against Iran.

An official of Saudi Arabia stated that Riyadh was not consulted over the US air raid which killed Soleimani, as the kingdom sought to defuse soaring regional tensions, In light of the rapid developments, “the kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister stated that the kingdom did not want to see further escalation of tensions in the region at a “very dangerous moment”. Notably, tensions in the Middle East had surged following attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on September 14, last year. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility. But, the US and Riyadh accused Iran which rejected the allegations. US President Trump had hinted at possible military action against Iran. In the past, Saudi rulers had also presumed by stating that a war could break out between Iran and the Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he contacted with the foreign ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey. He called for restraint and de-escalation as tensions rise over the US killing of Soleimani. Hinting at American intentions, he also stated that his country will not let its soil be used against any other state and that Islamabad will not be part of any regional conflict. 

America’s strike at Baghdad has divided US lawmakers, with several Democratic presidential candidates raising concerns about the risky game, played by the President Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “the move risked dangerous escalation…the move was made without lawmakers’ consultation or an authorization of military force,” suggested “Congress should have been consulted.” Joe Biden opined Trump “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox”, and Bernie Sanders said the move “puts us on the path” to war with Iran.

On January 4, this year, Iranian Gen. Gholamali Abuhamzeh, the commander of the Guards, raised the prospect of possible attacks on ships in the Gulf, by saying: “The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there…vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since long time ago…some 35 U.S. targets in the region as well as Tel Aviv are within our reach.”

On the other side, on the same day, US President Trump threatened to “hit 52 Iranian sites very hard if Iran attacks Americans or U.S. assets” and warned that “the US would hit Iran harder than ever before if Tehran retaliates for the assassination of Soleimani.”

In response, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “Iran will respond to any further threats…officials in Iran are meeting to discuss the next steps in exiting the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. In 2018, the US unilaterally withdrew from the accord and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

However, after creating war-like situation with Tehran, the US  is sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East as a precaution amid rising threats to American forces in the region. Reports suggest that traditional ally of America, UK also decided to sent two naval fleets in the Persian Gulf. Israeli forces are also on high alert.

Nevertheless, Soleimani’s death marks a major escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran. Although both the US and Iran are accusing each other of escalation of tensions and destabilizing the Middle East. So, we must know facts and ground realities in this regard.

It is notable that Machiavelli advises the rulers to have a lion-like image outwardly, and act upon the traits of goat inwardly. He also suggests them foreign adventures and the use of terror to obtain their goals. In his sense, a good ruler should be a good opportunist and hypocrite. While echoing Machiavelli, Morgenthau points out that sometimes, rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud, falsehood and even murder to fulfill their selfish aims.

Indicating double game, Morgenthau, and Palmer and Perkins opine, “Just as power became the instrument of ambitious nationalism and state’s leaders, it has now become the tool of ideologies. The true nature of the policy is concealed by ideological justifications and rationalization.”

Once Henry Kissinger stated “legitimacy is not natural or automatic, but created.”

Although in the present world of social media and Internet, such a sinister politics has been replaced by modern trends such as fair-dealings, reconciliation and economic development, yet by following the old strategies, President Trump has been practicing the most horrible form of colonialism and neo-colonialism against the Islamic countries and the Muslims.

In this respect, in his interviews with ABC and Fox News, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo allegedly said:  “The intelligence assessment made clear that no action…allowing Soleimani to continue his plotting and his planning, his terror campaign…created more risk than taking the action that we took last week…the attacks were lawful and any future strikes would also be lawful…the strike saved [Americans] lives.

It reminds the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 when a deliberate disinformation campaign was launched by the CIA and Jewish-controlled media all over the world that Baghdad had Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMDs). In that context, on the self-fabricated intelligence report and without mandate of the UN Security Council, American-Anglo forces invaded Iraq where no WMDs or chemical weapons were discovered. The covert aim of America and UK was to remove the government of Saddam Hussein as part of the regime-change policy, because he had challenged the dominance of Israel in the region. Same happened with the Libyan President Col. Muammmar Gaddafi who was captured and killed on October 11, 2011. America, UK and France, including other NATO countries which had funded and armed the rebel groups, conducted aerial strikes on Libya.

Similarly, under the leadership of Donald Trump, more than 100 missile strikes had been launched against Syria by the US, UK and France on April 14, 2018 in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack which killed at least 50 people in Syria’s rebel-held town of Eastern Douma. Afterwards, evidence proved that it was a false flag operation, conducted by CIA-Mossad controlled terrorist outfit ISIS. Instead of showing rational and responsible approach, irrational leaders such as Mr. Trump, Mr. Macron and Mrs. May who used the pretext to fulfill the Zionist agenda against the Islamic World and Russia, were determined to escalate the tension by acting upon war-mongering strategy, without bothering for dire consequences.

When in September 2015, Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq, the Syrian army-the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Lebanon-based Hezbollah started breaking the backbone of the terrorists of ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and the rebels in Syria and Iraq, Mossad which was already having clandestine contact with the ISIS directed this outfit to plan the November 13 (2015) terror attacks in Paris in connivance with the French home-grown militants. Likewise, when Russian-led forces began retaking many cities from the control of these insurgents, on the other side, agents of Mossad who were in collaboration with the CIA sympathizers and the ISIL militants arranged various sorts of terror attacks in Europe and the US.

Through all these false flag terror operations, the US and Israel wanted to obtain the covert aims for the greater Israel against Russia, the Muslims and the patriot Americans. Mossad had also provided the pro-Israeli Trump with an opportunity to manipulate various terror assaults of Europe and America to win the US presidential election. And President Trump had left no stone unturned in implementing anti-Muslim policies, while speaking openly against the Muslims and Syrian immigrants. Trump had started exaggerating the threat of Islamophobia, while, some incidents were not linked to ISIS, but were the result of self-radicalization of the individuals.

After becoming the US President, Donald Trump started acting upon the hidden agenda of Israel and the Zionist Jews. His decisions such as tough screening process for the Muslims and executive order regarding a ban on arrivals to the US from a number of mainly-Muslim countries might be cited as instance.

President Trump’s connections with Israel and the Zionist Jews were, undoubtedly, proved when Trump Administration announced the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. President Trump implemented his decision of December 6, 2018 by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and reversed nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and set in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City. Besides, it was owing to the encouragement of the President Trump that the Israeli regime officially declared their status as “the Jewish State” where only Jewish people have rights to self-determination. 

President Trump forgot that angry elements within the Muslim countries, particularly in the pro-Arab states may react against America and its interests in the form of terrorism and other violent actions. 

It is mentionable that in the aftermath of the orchestrated drama of the 9/11, both the presidents, Obama and Bush deliberately created chaos in the Muslim World through fake global war on terror, which still continues. In this connection, occupation of Afghanistan (Prolonged war) and Iraq, proxy wars in the Middle East, regime change in Libya and Egypt through unrest, support to Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra Front) and ISIS by CIA-Mossad in Syria and Iraq, promotion of sectarian violence in the Islamic World on the basis of Shia and Sunni have given a greater blow to the world’s economic stability which is essential for the America and its Western partners. If the double game of President Bush franchised Al-Qaeda on global level, President Obama’s dual policy franchised both Al-Qaeda and ISIS as part of the anti-Muslim campaign and left no stone unturned in advancing the agenda of the Zionists, Israeli lobbies and the neoconservatives in the pretext of phony global war on terror. 

As regards the double game, in case of Asia and especially South Asia, well-entrenched in Afghanistan and some Gulf states, intelligence agencies such as CIA, Indian RAW, Mossad and MI6 are assisting various terror outfits, including Al-Qaeda and particularly ISIL in order to achieve the covert goals of the US-led countries against Pakistan, Syria, Iraq China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Somalia, Yemen etc. and even Afghanistan which are being destabilized by various forms of terrorism-related assaults which have continued in one way or the other.  

To what extent President Trump wants to obtain Israeli illegitimate goals at the cost of Muslims and the patriot Americans could be judged from the terrorism-related assaults which occurred in the Spanish city of Barcelona on August 17, 2017 and in her town of Cambrils on August 18, 2017. After condemning the terror attacks and offering US assistance to Spain, the US President Trump suggested “fighting terrorism by executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs blood.”

Notably, during the drastic aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy in wake of the US-led fake global war on terror, Western  politicians have introduced dangerous socio-religious dimension in their societies by equating the “war on terror” with “war on Islam” and acts of Al Qaeda and ISIS with all the Muslims. Their media have also been contributing to heighten the currents of global politics on cultural and religious lines with the negative projection of Islam. Owing to these reasons, far right-wing parties and “Stop Islam” movement in the West, particularly in Europe has been becoming popular by largely attracting their people. Right-wing parties in a growing number of European countries have made electoral gains. The right-wing parties range across a wide policy spectrum, from populist and nationalist to far-right neofascist.

It is of particular attention that since the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narindra Modi came to power in India; it has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. Encouraged by the BJP, assaults on Muslims, Christians and other minorities by the Hindu extremist parties might be cited as instance. India which has strategic partnership with Israel has perennially been manipulating the double game of the US-led West regarding world phenomena of terrorism in connection with Pakistan and Afghanistan. In wake of Modi’s aggressive diplomacy, India has continued shelling in Pakistani side of Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.

Emboldened by the President Trump, both Tel Aviv and New Delhi have been equating the ‘wars of liberation’ in Palestine and Kashmir with terrorism. Their main purpose is to divert the attention of the West from their own state terrorism, while employing delaying tactics in the solution of these issues.

It is worth-mentioning that under the leadership of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran successfully defeated the state terrorism of the Israel-US-led entities. He had bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon and other pro-Iranian groups—expanded Iranian military presence in Iraq and Syria and orchestrated Syria’s offensive against rebel groups, especially the fight against the ISIS in the country’s long civil war. 

It is surprising that after the defeat of the US-led entities in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, President Trump had announced to withdraw American forces from the region. Besides, Trump who was backing Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen, also secretly permitted Riyadh to negotiate a peace deal with the Houthi rebel groups, after the failure of the US-assisted proxy war. Trump had also decided to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan. But, he suddenly changed his decisions. 

At present, he is also facing impeachment and is contesting for 2020 elections in wake multiple internal problems, which Americans are facing. So, pursuing Machiavellian approach, Trump ordered the Killing of Gen. Sulemani. Unquestionably, the US president’s move have created new risks for Washington, as the decision offered extremist groups a valuable opportunity to capitalise on anti-US sentiment and direct such anger towards those Arab countries which are close to America and non-confrontational towards Israel. While, the world is already witnessing various kinds of terrorism-related assaults, acceleration of terror-attacks would further destabilize the world by giving a greater setback to the political and economic interests of the  US and its allies.

While, America’s faulty policy has weakened her position, as she has not only entangled in a prolonged war in Afghanistan, but also enveloped other NATO countries there. Particularly, US-led endless war in Afghanistan and fake global war on terror have rapidly increased the cost of these useless conflicts which have brought about multifaceted crises inside the United States, including other NATO countries or Europe.

America and her Western allies, especially Europe must know that if they want to divert the attention of their public from endless war in Afghanistan and phony global war on terror at the cost of their own peoples, they will badly failed, as religiously-motivated fanatic rulers-Trump, Modi and Netanyahu have been manipulating these conflicts, while dividing the world on religious lines.

At present, fanatic leaders are in power in the US, India and Israel, their collaboration may also culminate into ‘clash of civilizations’, particularly between the Muslim and the Christians worlds. Israeli-led President Trump has crossed the red line by ordering the strike on Baghdad. Israel could avail the opportunity to prefer a nuclear war between Russia and the US-led West to avoid the two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Atomic war could also erupt between Pakistan and India, as New Delhi also avoids the solution of the Kashmir issue and has continued lockdown in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, while continued war-mongering diplomacy against Islamabad. In response to New Delhi’s any aggression or adventure, Pakistan’s armed forces are fully ready to give and matching response, as they did last year.

Meanwhile, on January 5, 2020 three rockets landed inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, home to the US Embassy and the seat of Iraq’s government, city residents. Mossad may be behind this attack, as Tel Aviv has long been insisting upon Washington to invade Iran. 

At this critical moment, particularly dangers of the nuclear war or World War III between the American-led some Western powers and Iran, between Russia and the US, including different war between the Islamic World and the Christian World are hovering on the world like clouds. Hence, peace-loving Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Buddhists must check the extremist policies of President Donald Trump and those Western leaders who are completing the fanatic agenda of Israel and India, resulting into more recruitment in the militant outfits, especially in the ISIS group, while inspiring the extremist Muslims for more terrorism-related attacks. Instead of engaging themselves in controversial debate on the social media, these peace-loving persons must better make efforts for global peace.

Nonetheless, in response to the death of Gen. Soleimani, Tehran may to target American military presence in the region, US military bases and warships. So, we can, undoubtedly, conclude that after killing the Iranian military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani by acting upon threatening diplomacy, President Donald Trump has crossed the red line, which may result into open war between America and Iran, which will envelop the region, culminating into wider conflict on global level.

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Article Author Details

Sajjad Shaukat

I got master degrees in English and Journalism including diploma in English Learning and Teaching from the University of Punjab. I am a freelance writer and wrote a number of articles on various topics of international affairs, published in Pakistan’s English newspapers. Besides, I also wrote a book, “US vs Islamic, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations”, published by Ms. Ferozsons Pvt. Lahore in 2005. In this book, I have evolved a thesis that the non-state actors like Islamic militants are checking the world dominance of the US. However, I have condemned the old theories which support role of force and power in international affairs. Taking the ongoing war on terror as a conflict between the privileged and unprivileged status quo, I have suggested reforming the unequal world order. And I have favoured global peace, based upon idealism--which is possible by reconciling realism with idealism. Moreover, it is essential to combat terrorism by resolving various issues like Palestine, Kashmir etc., and by acting upon an exit strategy from Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, my future assessments like failure of military paradigm by the state actors in coping with the non-state actors, increase in US cost of war, rise of more terrorism, plane plot in UK and present international financial crisis have proved true. So, central thesis of the book remains valid today.