By: Shaherzad Chawdree
2020 began with a punch this January with the the assassination of General Soleimani, the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and the recognition of Tyler the Creator at the Grammy’s. With our busy schedules, it can be hard to keep up with current events and fully understand what is happening around us. Like, why is Donald Trump in a peach? Is the Coronavirus the next plague? Did Marianne Williamson actually run for president? To help the student body stay educated on some of these matters, I have written about two important events from January 2020 and a brief summary on them. This will be the start of my new series: Chawdree’s Check In.
The Assasination of General Soleimani: Is World War III an Eminent Threat?
(Picture taken from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/obituaries/qassem-soleimani-dead.html)
General Soleimani was the second most powerful man in Iran, next to Ayatollah Ali Khameini. During his time leading the Quds force, Soleimani planned drone attacks against Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, aided President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and helped wage multiple proxy wars in the region. Soleimani was a popular figure in Iran and considered a national hero. However, the majority of Americans can agree that Soleimani was a bad character. He masterminded many attacks on neighboring countries and targeted U.S. interests in the region. Even with these attacks, Soleimani proved to be useful to the west by helping the United States in the fight against ISIS, which was a threat to both American and Iranian interests. It would be an understatement to say that the U.S. and Iran have had a complicated relationship.
Trump justified the assassination by saying that Soleimani planned on attacking four U.S. embassies and had already planned the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on December 31, 2019. However, this has been disputed. According to the House Armed Services committee chairman Adam Smith, there was no evidence of an attack presented during a White House debriefing. Also, Trump had launched the attack after the protests in Baghdad were over, making it unlikely that it was the reason behind the attack.
Trump’s reasoning for the attack will continue to be scrutinized by the public. Was it a tactic to draw in voters before the 2020 presidential election? Was it meant to distract from Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial? It might have even been meant to prove that he was bolder and more aggressive than Obama could have ever been. Whatever it was, it was unnecessary. It created an uncertain situation that could have led to a potential war with Iran and other gulf countries. The decision by the president to kill one of Iran’s most important leaders was reckless. If Iran had made a similar move, then the world would be having a different conversation. The U.S. needs to be held to the same standards as other countries and should not be pardoned because of its superpower status. The only reason this conflict did not escalate to its worst outcome was because the president threatened strong military action if Iran was to retaliate. Iran, with its unmatched military power, could not afford to engage in a potential war with the United States and its allies. For now, it is safe to say that World War III will not be coming in the next couple of weeks.