By Jim Hayes
The murder of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani and other Iranians and some Iraqis by a United States drone strike is a crime. Most of the world agrees.
This is no way to resolve political differences, and an open violation of civilised behaviour, disregard for international law, and a violation of the sovereignty of another nation. It can’t be justified under any pretext.
There is also a double standard. Washington reserves itself the right to launch an attack anyone and in any way it wants. Everyone else is denied the same right. This is might is right style imperial politics.
This, encased in the ideology of American exceptionalism generates bullying, destabilises the world and invites retaliation.
It is what has happened with Iran.
There may be some real issues that need resolution. But this is a matter for the Iranian people and not a foreign power.
The point is that no evidence has been put forward that Soleimani was planning a major threat to United States security. He has a track record of a key strategist against terror organisations like Islamic State, Al Nusra and the Al Qaeda.
Who was Soleimani Really?
Video from teleSUR English
In contrast, there is a mountain of evidence that the United States has engaged in a campaign to determine who forms the government of Iran and calls this regime change.
Ignored is the principle that it is the people of a nation who have the only right to choose how and by who they are governed.
If Iran hits back, its action is called an terrorism. Retaliation may not be the best response. But it is understandable. The Iranian public is demanding action. Imagine Washington’s response if Iran or any other country openly took out one of its own leading figures on American soil. War would be launched before the sun set.
Qassem Soleimani has been killed by U.S. airstrikes. Here’s what you need to know
Video from PBS NewsHour
American policy in the region has suffered considerable setback. Intervention in Syria is in tatters. Iraqis are moving to kick US military bases out of their country. Backing of Saudi Arabia’s war against the Yemenis has not won any friends and lost a few.
In short, the American presence in the region is under threat. Being there is in important to Washington’s pressure on Europe, movement towards China’s and Russia’s borders, and maintaining United States supremacy in world affairs. Then there is the ambition to control over the oil.
Iran’s regional influence is growing. Elevating this nation to a major threat is a cover to extend American military presence in the region. The attack on Soleimani took place because of these issues. .
Tension has been increased further by Donald Trump’s promise to take out 52 sites in Iran and suggesting that they might just take Iran’s oil.
The Trump style is not only wrong, it is reckless and dangerous. It risks lifting conflict to a higher level and an outright war that will drag other nations in.
It is in this context that the unfortunate downing of the Ukrainian airliner in Lebanon took place. Iran is reported to have admitted responsibility and said it was the result of human error. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the internal investigation findings were a “great tragedy” and an “unforgivable mistake”.
According to CNN, the doomed aircraft came close to a sensitive Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps military centre “at an altitude and flight condition that resembled hostile targeting”.
Why did this happen? Flying too close to a military installation is always very risky. In any case, it is wrong to use the tragedy to justify more atrocities.
There is evidence of considerable and growing opposition within the United States. There are even those within the military brass who are not happy about it. Trump has failed to get the support of the Democrat dominated Congress, where even some of the Republicans have been showing their opposition.
Europe has distanced itself from the murder and is working a closer relationship with Iran. Both Russia and China recently joined Iran in a naval exercise off its coast. This sent out a powerful signal.