The US did it again. So much for its renewed foreign policy strategy of less outside activity and pulling back. One might wonder, does making America great again involve eagerness to intervene in the Middle East? It seems so. On the 3rd of January 2020, the President of the United States gave the order to murder Qassem Soleimani. To be sure, the ordered assassination of a top Iranian military leader by the US president on foreign soil is an act of aggression.
At this point, the event should not be so surprising. However, it has sparked great concerns among US allies, about Iran’s nuclear deal, retaliation or the possibility of an “asymmetric” war in the territories of Iraq and Afghanistan. But particularly relevant is the fact that Iran has just announced that it will abandon the nuclear deal enrichment limits, although it will remain open to negotiations with European partners.
Nonetheless, what might seem surprising in this scenario is the response of world leaders to the attack. After the shock, the general tone has been a call for de-escalation. A moderate response to what is an act of aggression that can result in terrible consequences. The UN has called for maximum restraint, as “the world cannot afford another war in the Gulf”, and so have said European leaders in general, following the EU’s position, with the exception of Britain, of course, as Boris Johnson has even justified the killing. With the exception of Russia and China with stronger reactions, the event has not been formally condemned beyond Iran’s allies in the region.
The United States has pictured this attack as a heroic act that will save American -and European- lives; an exercise of a “preemptive defense” traditionally used by the US to justify interventions and military actions on sovereign soils around the world. But the US fake savior complex is something that nobody is buying anymore. Despite the mild responses and reactions, it doesn’t look like world leaders and US allies want to support another war (with the exception of Israel), especially since Iraq’s Parliament has just passed a nonbinding resolution to expel foreign troops of the country.
This move has not been well received within the US, as Trump has already threatened Iraq with sanctions if they were to be expelled, and they have already deployed 3,000 troops in the area. In light of this, it seems a bit unlikely that they will leave soon. But the US will neither have a nice time in Iraq nor in the rest of the region.
What is clear is both that the assassination of Soleimani has been premeditated, matured and the risks have been taken into account: gladly not every day the US decides to kill a venerated general of a foreign country. And, of course, that the US only bandwagons with the US.
Allies should take this into account.