On January 3, Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units were killed by US strikes on the Iraqi capital of Bahdad.
The US strike caused a new regional crisis and put the entire Middle East on the edge of a new open military conflict. The US seems to be preparing for it for a notable period of time. Since May, the US has already deployed about 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East. Currently, the US is deploying nearly 3,000 additional troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to the region.
A new hot conflict in the Middle East is an opportunity for US President Donald Trump to remain in power and strengthen the Trump’s administration position among the pro-Israeli lobby and the military industrial complex. The US entered 2020, the year of the presidential election, in a deep internal political crisis. The Trump administration is facing an increasing pressure from its political opponents. The US society is strongly divided, and its parts become radicalized. This comes amid some questionable results achieved by the US foreign policy in 2019.
Taking the above in mind, the White House could be interested in escalation and will push even further in the case of a strong response by Iran. The main reason is that this would help to draw attention of the public from key social and political questions and consolidate the Presidential power ahead of the 2020 election.
Did the current US President forecast his own actions in 2011?
In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2011
Despite this, the official US narrative continues to claim that the January 3 assasination of prominent Iranian and Iraqi commanders that played a key role in the war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq was ‘defensive move’.
Another factor that may have impacted the US assasination General Qassem Soleimani is the internal political struggle within Iran. The standoff between the ‘patriotic part’ of the Iranian elites and its relatively ‘pro-Western’ part, including top management of key corporations, is an open secret. For these persons, the removal of General Soleimani or some assistance in his removal was the vital task if they want to become the dominating power in Iran by one way or another.
General Soleimani was the most effective field military leader of the modern time and one of the key persons behind the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Under his command, Iran and its allies de-facto won wars in Syria and Yemen. The personality of General Soleimani for the Iranian nation can be easily compared with those of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov in 1945, taking into account the difference in scales of wars, victories, as well as the geography and historical period.
Another factor that may explain the spontaneity of Trump’s decision to approve this political assassination is that General Soleimani may have obtained some exclusive information or reached extraordinary personal agreements with the Iraqi leadership regarding further direct joint Iraqi-Iranian actions on the territory of Iraq.
The killing of the prominent Iranian military leader and the high chances of further escalation turned up the heat among players and powers involved in the Great Game in the Middle East. Many of them increased their security measures and put forces on heightened alert. According to available data, representatives of intelligence and defense agencies of the concerned sides have also intensified their contacts. One of the main negotiation fields is Moscow.