Two days into 2020, the United States used a ballistic missile attack to kill the much ‘revered’ General Soleimani in Iran and brought the world to the edge of its seat. After the Pentagon confirmed the attack was directed by President Donald Trump, predictions of World War Three loomed on social media platforms and ‘Iran’s retaliation’ remains an ongoing fear.
But why has such an event occurred?
Many believe that considering hostile Iranian-American relations, the attack was inevitable, but the timing seems perfect to distract attention from President Trump’s impeachment announcement. Since General Soleimani was in charge of Iran’s military operations, it would be an understatement to say that the assassination is significant. However, although Trump’s move has proved that he is willing to take bold measures for America’s national security, many are misinformed about the fact that tensions have been ongoing between the US and Iran as early as 1953. Instead of “stopping a war”, Trump has for the very first time in US-Iranian history, taken the war directly onto Iranian soil. To claim this attack will end a war is simply incorrect.
The American conflict with Iran can be traced back to the ‘Coup D’état’ in 1953, where the US replaced Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh with the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Since then, the 1979 revolution which saw Ayatollah Khomeini come to power accelerated on the deterioration of American-Iranian relations and a blatant rejection of Western ideals in the country.
To an extent, the conflict between two states rich in power, weaponry and juxtaposed beliefs was bound to come to a head at some point, but Trump’s move has been particularly provocative as the death of General Soleimani, although he was loathed as much as he was loved, has weakened the heart of the organisation of the Iranian military.
With the growing thesis that wars are proving to be unsustainable and with the constant instability in the Middle East, a full-blown war does seem to be a distant possibility. With Iran’s attack on bases in Iraq and continued US economic sanctions, however, it’s more likely that another form of Cold War could occur between the two nations.