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Iraq: the killing of Qassem Soleimani: what is next?
03 janvier 2020   -   Par Kouamivi Sossou

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force and one of the most powerful men in the Middle East and in Iran, was killed on strike near Baghdad Airport. (Photo credit : Soleimani (center) Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has claimed the ownership of the strike that killed the head of the elite Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force. According to President Donald Trump, Qasem Soleimani, who is seen as a terrorist by the American administration, was plotting to kill U.S. citizens. And Mike Pompei to corroborate that the top military Iranian posed an imminent threat to American lives.

The Pentagon said Friday afternoon that it will deploy an additional 3,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division to the Middle East to bolster security in the region. The forces will join a battalion of about 750 soldiers from the division that arrived in Kuwait on Thursday, said a defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The decision to eliminate Qasem Soleimani came after days the siege of U.S. embassy in Iraq by the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah.

The killing of Qasem Soleimani causes diverse reactions around the world and even in the U.S. In Iran, tens of thousands rally against U.S. crimes and the Iranian president Rouhani asserts, “Iran and free nations” of the region will revenge the killing of Soleimani. The Iran security body vows to avenge Soleimani’s death at “the right time and place.”

While Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises the attack, the United Nations Chief affirms that the “world cannot afford” another Gulf war after the killing of Soleimani. France, Great Britain, Germany, China, Canada, call for restraint and de-escalation. Russia, Iraq, and Syria condemned the attack.

What to expect next?

The killing of the top Iranian military, Qasem Soleimani, will undoubtedly raise the tensions in the region, especially tensions between Iran and the U.S.

Although Soleimani was considered by the American administration as a terrorist and a powerful man that provide lethal weapons to the Taliban and many extremist groups, he was seen as a hero in Iran and an influential figure and strategist who helped to strengthen the Iranian security body and Iran’s influence in the region.

The sending of additional troops in the area and the decision to evacuate Americans in Iraq demonstrate that the Trump

administration is aware of the threat that Iran and its militias will do everything to revenge their beloved general. A direct war between the U.S. and Iran is not on the table, but proxy wars and attacks on American interests and western citizens are plausible. The re-activation of the anti-U.S. “Mahdi Army” by Moqtada al- Sadr is one of the direct consequences of the killing of Soleimani. Kataib Hezbollah, one of the Shiite militias in Iraq controlled by Iran, whose leader was also killed in the strike vows to revenge their leader. Since Iraq has become a playground for Iran, most retaliation actions might transpire in or from Iraq.

No one can assert with exactitude what will occur next in the region; however, the killing of Qasem Soleimani is another step close to war between both countries, and it will engender grave consequences in the relations between Iran and its allies, and the U.S. and its allies in the region whether through proxy wars or hybrid wars.

Komlan M. Avoulete

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