When news of the US admitting that President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani broke out, World War III became a trending topic in Twitter, Google search and Facebook.
Journalist Caitlin Johnstone has a good rundown of what this recent development in the Middle East is and she’s right to say that those who value peace and humanity should closely follow how it will all pan out.
Who is Qassem Soleimani to begin with? Andrew Sexun easily sums it up as:
But I do know something of how important Qassem Soleimani was, because he spent more time in the Arabic-speaking world—propping up Iranian allies from Iraq to Lebanon, and from Syria to Yemen—than he did back home in Iran. From a military and diplomatic perspective, Soleimani was Iran’s David Petraeus and Stan McChrystal and Brett McGurk all rolled into one.
To which Fred Kaplan adds:
To convey a sense of Soleimani’s significance, it would be as if, during the Iraq war, the ayatollah had ordered the assassination of Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. Jim Mattis, the head of Special Operations Command, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.* Soleimani’s responsibilities corresponded with all four of these roles. Even then, the analogy falls short because, among Shi’ite Muslims across the region, Soleimani also exuded the charisma of a religious icon, a holy warrior.
For the past 20 years, he had been the architect of Iran’s expansionist foreign policy, running subversive operations and controlling Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan.
Why did the US assassinated Soleimani? He may have helped the US push back ISIS, he is also responsible for attacks against US soldiers and operatives in recent years. That may or may not be a justification, but most experts are now saying it doesn’t matter. It’s been done. The real question now is, what will happen next aside from the certainty that Iran will strike back? World War III? Who knows? Even the experts don’t have an answer yet. And that’s the scary part.