New Year in the Middle East began with the assassination of Kassem Suleimani. An Iranian general died as a result of an American airstrike inflicted on the outskirts of Baghdad airport. Now both the region and the world as a whole are frozen in tension.
Baghdad air strike is real terrorism
On the night of January 3, the US Air Force launched an air strike at an international airport in the capital of Iraq, Baghdad. The attack killed the commander of the Al-Quds special forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran, Major General Kassem Suleimani and the Deputy Commander of the Iraqi People’s Mobilization Force Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. A senior Iraqi arrived at the airport to meet General Suleymani, who arrived in Baghdad. Just during the meeting, an air strike was launched.
Two cars turned out to be completely destroyed - Toyota Avalon and a minibus Hyundai Stareks, 8 people were killed. Among them, in addition to General Suleymani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were the head of the press service of the Iraqi People’s Mobilization Forces, Mohammed Al Jaberi, and the head of the logistics service of the Iraqi People’s Mobilization Forces, Haydar Ali, who were direct managers of the meeting of the Iranian military commander at the airport.
Soon, Washington confirmed that the American airstrike aviation inflicted by personal order of President Donald trump. Moreover, the head of state made this decision without the approval of the US Congress. Trump himself in his defense said that on the hands of Suleymani the blood of "millions of people." Then, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized that Suleimani was planning military action, the victims of which would be the residents of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. General Kassem Suleimani flew to Baghdad from Beirut and the Americans could receive this information, including as a result of the betrayal of someone from the general’s inner circle, or from the Iraqis.
But no matter how "villain" General Suleymani may be, the actions of the United States cannot be regarded otherwise than an act of international terrorism. Imagine a situation: a senior American general arrives in Warsaw, for example, the chairman of the Committee of Chiefs of Staff. And at the time of the meeting of the American general, representatives of the Polish Army, a strike is being struck at the airport by Russian aircraft. How would this be regarded by Washington and Warsaw and what would be the consequences?
American aviation attacked the sovereign state of Iraq, violating its sovereignty, and killed on its territory an official of a third country - Iran. Kassem Suleimani was not a criminal or terrorist, he was a regular soldier of the Iranian armed forces. No international tribunal was held in Suleimani, no decision was made to convict him.
It should also be noted that the United States is not in a state of war with Iran, nor, especially, with Iraq. Therefore, the assessment of Washington’s actions in this case can be only one - the United States committed a terrorist act in the territory of another state and killed several people without trial.
Who was Kassem Suleimani and who will replace him
Major General Kassem Suleimani played a huge role in Iranian foreign policy. He was called the second person in Iran after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This, of course, is an exaggeration, but among the Iranian military commanders, Suleimani not only was in the forefront in importance, but also occupied a special place.
Formally, he was only the commander of Al-Quds, a special unit within the Guardian Corps of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, created to protect the interests of Iran and the Islamic revolution outside the country. In fact, it was Suleymani who oversaw all Iran’s foreign military operations, including military operations in Syria, and the activities of Shiite militias in Lebanon and Iraq.
On March 11 of the coming year, Kassem Suleimani should have turned 63 years old. He was born back in 1957 and became a real pupil of the Islamic revolution. Coming from a poor peasant family, from the mountain village of Kanat-e Malek in the province of Kerman, Kassem Sulejmani graduated from only five grades of elementary school and worked as a laborer in the city of Kerman from the age of 13. Then the young Suleymani got a job in the city water supply department, where he was soon able to become an assistant engineer.
Thus, Suleymani’s life began with the completely peaceful profession of a water purifier, but when the Islamic revolution occurred, the 22-year-old Suleymani enrolled in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. This step predetermined the entire future fate of the young Iranian. From a peasant son with a five-year education, Suleymani turned over time into one of the most influential and well-known Iranian military leaders in the world.
By the way, after completing the 45-day courses of the young fighter, Suleimani first returned to the peaceful profession - he again addressed the problems of water supply in the province of Kerman. And only when the Iran-Iraq war broke out, the young lieutenant Suleymani took part in the hostilities. He immediately established himself well as a courageous intelligence officer, acting with his unit in the rear of the Iraqi army. The military career went uphill and at the age of 30, Kassem Suleymani was already the commander of the 41st Tarallah Infantry Division.
In the 1990s, Suleymani commanded the formations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the southeastern provinces of Iran, in his native Kerman. It was there that the main route of drug suppliers from Afghanistan to Iran and Turkey ran. Kassem Suleimani managed to inflict a serious blow on drug dealers. In 2000, he was appointed commander of the Al-Quds special forces of the IRGC.
In our country, the name of Kassem Suleimani became widely known after the outbreak of the war in Syria. It is said that it was General Suleymani who was able to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to send Russian troops to Syria. Be that as it may, but when the pro-Turkish militants shot down a Russian plane on November 24, 2015, it was General Suleymani who personally led the search and rescue operation, as a result of which the Russian pilot Konstantin Murakhtin was saved.
Of course, on this basis alone, Kassem Suleimani should not be ranked as a “friend” of Russia. Suleymani was only a true patriot of his country - Iran, in whose interests he acted and fought his entire conscious life. It is not for nothing that in Iran itself Suleymani was considered a national hero during his lifetime. Now, when he became a "martyr", respect for the deceased general has grown several times.
Martyrdom was his reward for the constant activity that he had been engaged in all these years. Although he left, but by the will of Allah, his work and his path will not stop. A terrible revenge awaits criminals who stained their dirty hands with his blood and other martyrs last night,
- Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on Twitter after reporting an air strike at Baghdad airport.
After the assassination of Kassem Suleymani, Brigadier General Ismail Kaani was appointed the new commander of Al-Quds. This Iranian military leader has held the post of deputy commander of the special forces of the IRGC for more than twenty years, and now has replaced his dead cartridge. The appointment of General Kaani to a high post was announced by Ali Khamenei himself.
What can the killing of Suleymani lead to?
It is clear that without consequences the killing of such a significant figure in the Middle East as General Suleymani will not remain. In Russia, they started talking about the fact that the US actions were a big mistake that would lead to an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, and possibly to new points of tension. In Iraq itself, meanwhile, the situation also escalated to the limit. Naturally, the majority of Iraqis do not like the outrages of the American military on their territory. No wonder Trump announced that the United States will transfer additional military contingents to Iraq.
Most likely, it is the US military bases in Iraq that will be the primary target for attacks by the avengers of Suleimani. Moreover, not the Iranians will attack, but the Iraqis themselves - a lot of Shiites live in this country, pro-Iranian armed groups operate, and the degree of hatred of the Americans is very high.
So, in the crowd at the American embassy, which besieged the well-guarded diplomatic residence after the news of the murder of Suleimani and al-Muhandis, people flashed in the form of an Iraqi government army. Despite the fact that Baghdad was assisted in creating a new army by the United States, most of the soldiers and officers of the Iraqi armed forces are still very negatively inclined towards American politics.
After the assassination of Suleymani, the Israel Defense Forces were put on full alert. It is this country over the past forty years that has been the main target of threats from Iran, therefore, the Israelis have every reason to believe that Suleimani can fall for them too. Moreover, in the immediate vicinity of the Israeli borders - the position of the Lebanese Hezbollah, which was supervised by the deceased General Suleymani.
Saudi Arabia is also very concerned. Riyadh expects Iran to strike at Saudi oil facilities. Moreover, Tehran’s support is provided by Yemeni rebels - Hussites, and if necessary, Iranians can fulfill their plans with the help of Hussites.
By the way, during last year’s attacks on the oil facilities of the United Kingdom, they didn’t actually take any measures, which frightened the Saudi elite very much - she felt that Washington wasn’t such a reliable patron, and if she acted decisively, it would only be based on her own interests.
Few doubts that after the assassination of Suleimani, Iran will intensify its military programs, including the project to create its own nuclear weapons. By the way, it is Suleymani who is named among the curators of Iran’s nuclear program. The head of the Federation Council’s Foreign Relations Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, wrote that the air strike at Baghdad Airport and the death of Suleymani have in fact buried the last hope of stopping the Iranian nuclear program.
For Moscow, the beginning of an open armed conflict between Iran and the United States or American allies is extremely unprofitable. Therefore, it is easy to assume that the Russian side will begin to provide enhanced assistance to Tehran in order to increase the latter's defenses in case of further aggressive actions by the United States.
True, there is an alternative point of view. General Kassem Suleimani was considered in the Iranian leadership one of the most consistent opponents of any reconciliation with the United States. An ideological revolutionary, he sincerely hated the "Big Shaitan," as Ayatollah Ruholl Khomeini called the USA at one time, and did not intend to put up with the West.
Now, according to an alternative forecast, the main opponent of the negotiation process has left this mortal world, which means that just the line for negotiations can triumph in Iran’s foreign policy. Which, of course, does not mean the absence of external indignation by the actions of the Americans and even some kind of retaliatory measures in the form of attacks on American military installations in Iraq or on Saudi tankers. In any case, it is already obvious that 2020 will be very difficult in the Middle East.