As we come to the end of the decade, it is evident that the United States and Iran, two nations, that despite their diplomacy haven’t been on the best of terms, are heading for further conflict. Headlines regarding this matter have come and gone in recent years; however, in recent weeks tensions have escalated resulting in a major and significant event: the assassination of Iran’s most powerful military commander, Qasem Soleimani, via a drone-strike at Baghdad airport. Most journalists and experts on the middle-east would agree that President Donald Trump has, yet again, made another dangerous move; however, it is one that should not come as a surprise.
Despite the fact that this move is one among many that the United States has made in recent years, the assassination of General Soleimani is far and away the most highly significant. The reason for its significance is mainly due to the fact that the ‘spear-headed’ (BBC) General was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran (behind Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei). In Iran, he was hailed as a heroic national figure, despite Trump’s prominent claims on Twitter of Soleminani being ‘both hated hated and feared within the country’ but that ‘Iran will never be able to properly admit it’. Coupled with Iran’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S, a conflict between the nations on the international stage seems increasingly likely.
The thinking amongst politicians and journalists alike is that a conflict between the United States and Iran is unavoidable if neither side agree to find a solution or settle their disputes via peaceful and diplomatic channels. Recent events seem to have ruled this prospect out. Only time will tell if efficient measures are taken by the nations to avoid a conflict. If they are not, then the prospect of more serious unrest in the middle-east becomes a scary reality.
The recent missile attacks on US bases in Iraq is the first sign that the conflict is escalating. The world is waiting with bated breath to see how the US responds. If they meet fire with fire events could quickly escalate and full on conflict could soon become a frightening reality. Usually, diplomacy would be the route sought by a sitting US President and historically this has certainly been the case; however, with Trump in an election year and facing a reputation damaging impeachment case, conflict could serve as a welcome distraction. Don’t be surprised if tensions continue to rise and the conflict becomes more widespread and encompassing.