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What is behind the incident ?

“History teaches, but it has no pupils” (Antonio Gramsci).

Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi

IN one of the first political and military surprises of the year 2020, the United States, based on direct order from President Donald Trump, assassinated a top Iranian military officer Qassem Soleimani, upon his arrival in Baghdad from Damascus.

At the time of his assassination, Soleimani was in the company of Abu Ali Al- Muhandes – leader of the Iraqi Al- Hashd Al-Shaabi, among other aides who were also killed in the surprise US operation! I will not bother readers with the profile and history of Soleimani, because he was well known but there are points and facts to consider and analyze briefly.

The operation happened after a mob attack on the premises of the US Embassy in Baghdad, which was a rare occurrence. Prior to that, there was a US air strike on Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi units in Iraq! The fact of the matter is: the United States carried out the assassination, and location of the incident was Iraq, while the target of assassination was a top Iranian military and political figure Soleimani who was regarded by many people as the strong man of Iran in the region.

Many people believe that relationship between the United States and Iran is like a secret marriage; such that their public animosity is corresponded by clear friendship behind the scenes! (We shall come here for conspiracy theory).

The assassination of Soleimani has an essence in the future of mutual interests between the United States and Iran. In Afghanistan, Syria and even Iraq, there are assumptions that “mutual understanding” was reached since 2003 until now, which the current situation points to.

What is the future of this relationship now, after allies of Iran stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US subsequently reacted with the assassination of the most important foreign policy figure in the Middle East who’s from Iran? The assassination of Soleimani, and prior to that DAESH leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, indicates that confl ct in the region is determined by effective global powers.

Obviously, the role played by countries in the region is marginalized in the conflict and some of them are like mere tools readily available at the time of usage! For this reason, it is time for concerned countries in the region to sit on a round table of understanding away from ideologies by which one calls the deceased ‘martyr’ and the other calls him ‘perished’.

It is impossible for this oil-rich region to achieve peace while hanging on to a series of contradicting utterances, unless they really strive for peace. Uncle Sam is no representative of this or that.

He only deals with folks to attain his own interests, without having a permanent friend or enemy in politics. Supporters of the conspiracy theory are of the opinion that Qasem Soleimani (and before him Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi) were ‘spent forces’ that needed to be eliminated immediately, considering the massive capabilities of US intelligence.

The location of Al-Baghdadi was known at every point in time but he was spared until lately. Soleimani was equally vulnerable to the US but he was not killed until the mob attack on the US Embassy premises happened.

Viewpoint or analysis points to the fact that Soleimani was actually the real leader of the incident at the embassy in Baghdad. An important question: the assassination of Soleimani in particular may have conveyed a message to others but Iran as a way of proving disputable facts concerning the real position of the United States, as well as its sincerity and truthfulness in its stances- especially after the allegation that Iran was behind the attack on Saudi oil facilities in the Eastern Province of Al-Baqeeq.

So, always expect the unexpected in politics! The pertinent question at this juncture is: will Iran retaliate after this incident? In reality, the United States reacted because the action was from Iran (according to widespread allegations lately as regards its meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries and attacks on oil installations as stated above). In view of this, I believe that clarification and diplomatic compromises will help resolve the issue, especially with a quick visit to Tehran by the Qatari Foreign Affairs Minister and messages between the two parties through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. It appears that compromises are on the horizon as the deed is already done.

I believe that interests will win in future, because it is the real determinant for this or that policy. I also believe that the forthcoming US election is affecting some decisions taken by Trump in relation to foreign policy. It is equally clear that there is a sort of admonition to the US allies in the European Union (I think she specifically has France in mind), if the statement issued by the US Secretary of State Pompeo is anything to go by!

By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi

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