The Persian political shrewdness is too sophisticated to be driven by passion that might cost the Iranian state everything it has worked for over decades.
New York – After years of diplomatic and proxy wars in the Middle East, the American-Iranian tension shifted to a direct confrontation last month. The American air strike in Iraq which killed the powerful Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, along with Abu-Mahdi Al-Mohandes, the deputy of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization, set off the upgrade in conflict.
There is no disagreement about how much Iranian lost in the death of Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s “Quds Force” and architect of its expansionist policy in the Middle East.
The assassination sparked alarm as the cause of a potential major war in the region, leaving the world waiting in anticipation of the Iranian response. Although Iran’s ballistic missiles may not be able to reach American soil, they can at least reach the American bases in the Middle East and the territories of America’s allies in the region.
A new war in the region could destabilize the global economy because more than half of the world’s energy needs pass through the region’s marine straits—naval routes Iran has threatened to destroy many times if attacked by the US.
In its response to the American strike, Iran did not follow popular pressure that demanded severe revenge. A strongly-worded response, of course, was floated in the media and in all Iranian officials’ press statements. The Persian political shrewdness is too sophisticated to be driven by passion that might cost the Iranian state everything it has worked for over decades.
Iran knows very well that a military confrontation or direct war with the United States would not go in its favor. But that does not mean Iran cannot inflict great losses on American forces and allies in the region if Iran is existentially threatened.
Moreover, Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine cannot be underestimated.
Iranian missiles are easily able to reach targets inside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel, as well as the sea straits, a message Iran wanted to deliver by bombing the Ayn al-Assad military base in Iraq.
Iran’s response, despite being disproportionate in size to the killing of Qassem Soleimani, bears many symbolic gestures. It was a declared attack on an American target by a country that the US considers hostile and could be considered a threat to countries the US says it is protecting with its forces in the region.
US President Trump dealt a strong blow to the Iranian regime, which he accuses of mobilizing and inciting opposition to the American presence in Iraq. Trump believes Iran ignited the protests outside the American embassy in Iraq.
At the same time, some countries, especially European countries suffering from refugee problems due to the wars in Syria and Iraq, consider the assassination uncalculated and believe it could set off unintended consequences the world is not ready to bear.
By killing Soleimani, the American president gained many points at the expense of his internal opponents, especially from the Democrats who tried to remove him from his position.
However, an operation of this magnitude must have been arranged, prior to the impeachment, by the military and intelligence services, and therefore, it was a blow by the United States as part of the expansion of its political and economic war on the Iranian regime.
The killing of General Qassem Soleimani, although a dangerous shift in the American-Iranian conflict, will not change much in the nature of the conflict, especially after both sides seem satisfied with the new status quo. Iran implicitly accepted the assassination, and the US accepted the Iranian military response against Ain Al-Assad base.
On the one hand, the US needs the Iranian state as a justification for the presence of its military forces in the region as protectors of other states, especially the Gulf states, from Iranian incursion. On the other hand, the Iranian regime still needs the American enemy to intimidate its people and justify its repressive actions inside Iran.
Both parties, then, will limit their pressure on the nuclear issue between the threat of Iranian regime collapse from internal protests or the US imposing more economic sanctions for increasing enrichment until the time is right to launch an all-out war against the Iranian regime.
Translated and Edited by Anouar Mzoudi
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.