IRAN hit back Tuesday night for the killing of its top military commander last Friday, lobbing two dozen missiles at two American bases in Iraq.
Tehran says the missile attack was its immediate response to the assassination and was targeted against the air base from which the killing drone was launched — but also warned it will not hesitate to escalate its response if the US decides to respond to its response.
It’s a high-stakes game of controlled tit-for-tat between two formidable foes equally capable of harming each other where it’ll hurt most.
The US hit first by ‘taking out’ Iran’s second most powerful man, describing him as ‘a terrorist’, but in the process actually creating a new national revolutionary martyr.
Iran responded less than 24 hours after burying its martyr in his hometown, but the targeted response took no American lives.
Instead, it clearly indicated Tehran can strike at the heart of any American safety or comfort zone in Iraq and neighboring countries where US bases and interests are located.
President Trump’s response was also uncharacteristically measured, only Tweeting that ‘All is well’ and ‘So far, so good’, later confirming that ‘All American lives were accounted for.’
Earlier on Tuesday, two things happened: The Iranian Parliament designated the US Army and The Pentagon as ‘terrorist organizations’; and President Trump, bowing to advice, climbed-down from his promise to attack 52 selected cultural sites in Iran should it respond to his assassination order.
Iran having indeed responded in quick time with promises to wipe American interests off the face of the Arab world, the rest of the world –including Washington’s allies in the Gulf region (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, etc) — grew equally worried that President Trump may carry out his threat to respond harshly to any Iranian response.
On Monday, the Iraqi parliament had voted unanimously to expel American troops from its territory, citing the US violation of its airspace to kill the Iranian General and an Iraqi counterpart on Iraqi soil.
But while the military top brass on the ground complied and submitted a formal schedule for ‘relocation’ of US troops, the Pentagon soon thereafter reversed the decision when the letter was leaked to the press, with President Trump threatening to impose sanctions against Iraq that would make those against Iran look and feel like cheesecake.
The world therefore exhaled Tuesday night after the US President didn’t just press the nuclear button and inform the world by Twitter.
But up to Wednesday morning, he had not yet presented the ‘strong evidence’ he claimed US intelligence had that the Iranian general was ‘about to kill thousands of Americans’, whereas the Iraqi prime minister indicated that, far from planning violence, the Iranian commander was on a peace mission, as he had a scheduled meeting with him to discuss a proposed Iran-Saudi Arabia peace plan.
The Iraqis have indicated that while they received no notice of the US strike against the two generals near Baghdad airport last Friday, they indeed received verbal advance notice from Tehran about Tuesday night’s planned air strike on the US bases, which they also shared with the US.
There have been historical balances of responses between the two countries.
In 2019, after Iran shot-down a US drone, President Trump said he didn’t feel he should take 150 Iranian lives for an incident in which no American lives were lost; and the Iranians chose not to take any lives in the US bases selected for attack in neighboring Iraq this past Tuesday.
President Trump addressed the issue yesterday and it was clear the US preferred to de-escalate tensions rather than risk finding out whether Iran was actually able to carry out its hardly-veiled threat of obliterating US presence in the region.
The US definitely will not goad Iran into further proving its ability to strike at American interests in the Middle East, but that is not to say Washington cares about other regions suffering collateral damage once the US mainland remains safe.
Caribbean security, therefore, is and will continue to be at stake like never before, as the Modern War Machine and its Weapons of Mass Destruction can now reach any corner of the globe in 30-Minutes-Max.
Consequently, Caribbean leaders and governments must quickly adapt to the global political realities of the 2020s that will require that people everywhere be informed about threats to their existence from anywhere.
Living in the shadow of America, the region’s people are just as threatened as Americans at home and abroad by the possibility that to ‘Make America Great Again’, President Trump can decide to simply just press that button.
With his back against the impeachment wall at home and only ten months to the November polls, the US President has also demonstrated, time and again, that he continues to be predictably unpredictable—which must worry the rest of the world, which has never been closer to World War III.
There are many who quite hopefully rule out the possibility of a Third World War, saying Iran wouldn’t dare take-on the strongest army in the world.
But given the inflamed tensions and egos involved and the most likely consequences of any more misjudgments, Caribbean governments have now to more than just take note.
While hoping and praying for peace, the region must also prepare its people for the consequences of a war of distraction turning into a war of destruction at levels hitherto unseen — and which, for the sake of the future of the world, should remain unknown.
The world has long been living in perilous times, but never has it been brought so close to World War III, especially at a time when the two biggest nuclear powers, Russia and the USA, no longer feel compelled to limit or restrain nuclear proliferation.
Here’s hoping maximum restraint eclipses minimum patience on all fronts in this the hottest conflict since World War II.