Submitted by Mousumi Roy…
We are entering a dangerous period in the world , the middle east will flare up again, the US will continue to disrupt, and attempt ” regime change in Iran and Syria,” this will be meet with stiff resistance. Global economies will weaken, stock markets will not have much growth.
Trump is playing a very desperate and dangerous game to remain in power. Qassem Soleimani will forever be a controversial figure in the western world, but for an overwhelming majority of Iranians he was a hero, a martyr, and an incredibly popular figure. Qassem Soleimani was probably the single most respected military man not only amongst Shias and Christians, but also throughout the Middle East and around the world. He has been universally recognized as one of the most influential military commanders in the region for decades. This escalation by Trump is much bigger and more extreme than anyone is able to see from the face of it.
The assassination of Qassem Soleimani raises the stakes to a whole new level between Tehran and Washington. Without doubt one of the most serious moments between these two old foes in 4 decades. Iran already confirmed the incident. The attack on the U.S Embassy in Baghdad is a big one reminiscent of what happened forty years ago in Tehran. A nasty response was coming. I didn’t think the PMUs would be going about it unintelligently.
The fact that their initial act at the US embassy, which received a green light from Iraqi Security forces guarding the Green Zone, is ominous. The Iraqis have made it very clear they want the US to “reduce its presence” since they were invaded in 2003. In fact there is no formal agreement between Iraq and the US for the US troops to be there anyways. One way for the US to get around their “commitment” to leave Iraq, is the use of “contractors” not boots.
No serious ME watcher can consider the PMUs as boy scouts, but after all they are Iraqis that get good marks in its role of defeating ISIS. The Iranians cannot afford to lose Iraq because it’s a neighbor. The biggest problem is that there is no independent foreign policy towards Iraq. The Iraq policy is basically intertwined with the Iran policy and is part of a wider framework. Iraq currently risks becoming an independent state and the idea that Iraq can be an ‘ally’ of a country far away that destroyed it in 2003 based on false claims of WMD’s and democracy building is simply ridiculous. Iraq for Iraqis…
When Soleimani was operating close to opium fields in Afghanistan, he fought against the drug trade. After 9/11, he briefly worked with the Americans and captured or killed high-ranking al-Qaeda members, but the collaboration ended when George Bush declared Iran “evil” in a 2002 speech.
Soleimani came from a poor peasant family, worked in construction during his youth to pay off his father’s debts and lifted weights in his spare time. He joined the Revolutionary Guard briefly after the 1979 revolution, to serve his country during the Iran-Iraq War. When Iran was at war with Iraq, he rose up quickly through the ranks, and took part in every major operation. In fact, Soleimani described Operation Fath ol-Mobin (undeniable victory) as the best battle of his life, due to the odds being against his people and yet triumphing against Saddam’s guards despite that.
Soleimani was the leading figure behind the destruction of ISIS. Iran was the first country to respond to the Iraqi government’s call for help in 2014 with support for the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF). Support was offered despite Iran suffering under sanctions because ISIS represented an existential security threat to Iran itself. Without Iran’s early support ISIS would have seized much more territory and Iran’s support and the willingness of the PMF to fight ISIS was critical to the defeat of ISIS as a territorial entity in Iraq and Syria.
Iran is not going to negotiate in 2020 during the US elections, Rouhani will not be able to negotiate in 2021 during the Iranian presidential elections that he is not able to run in. There would have to be “a reformist” constituency to be for a new JCPOA. By 2022, even at current pace of nuclear development, Iran will be a nuclear threshold state and none of the current JCPOA provisions will be applicable. Even as of now, the steps Iran has taken at Fordow are not easily reversible if Iran wish to maintain Fordow.
Iran will continue to adhere to no negotiation with the Trump Administration and the US. The reason for this is because Iranians are starting to believe that the sanctions as designed right now are an asset to self-sufficiency. While people like Zanganeh may not believe that, the other industries in Iran are starting to behave that way. The resistance economy is working, but while the economy did contract, unemployment is less now than it was during the deal. This is in part due to confidence-building in domestic production. The Supreme Leader himself stated that the sanctions will not be removed in the next three years and Iranian officials should stop trying to have them removed.
More importantly, the unity of the government response to the recent protest is further proof that they have coalesced on overcoming sanctions rather than negotiate away the nuclear program. Also, the Iranians have been removing technical limitations and R&D limits of the JCPOA not the legal framework. The legal framework is the only thing that has to be maintained for Iran to be in compliance in light of the US withdrawal and Europe’s inability to bypass US sanctions.
The restoration of waivers will not be in exchange for Iran returning to full compliance with the JCPOA. This compromise is essentially the French 15 billion credit proposal since the French would not put the money ahead. It might be a goodwill gesture, but waivers will not automatically lead to oil sales and banking transactions that Iran is currently creating alternative channels for.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.