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The Death of General Qassem Suleimani - Axis of Evil and a Praxis Medieval

  • Feb, 2020
  • 602
  • Editorial

At the turn of the new decade, a US drone strike that killed the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, threatened to push the region towards a major conflict between the arch enemies - Iran and USA.

The Pentagon declared that President Trump had ordered to kill Qassem Suleimani in a targeted military operation; while, pro Iran mob laid siege of the American Embassy in Baghdad, hurling stones and putting flames alight. However, the foolishness of the attack might have been the concern in US corridors; the Iranian alleys had burst with anti US slogans. Further, it brought an opportunity for the Iranian administration to paint itself as a victim, and not the aggressor. US, on the other hand, struggled in explaining its actions until Iran itself committed a blunder by downing a Ukrainian passenger plane in Tehran. The rhetoric on both sides remained blazing with vengeance, and it left the region on a knife’s edge.

Trump administration’s assertion of Iranian evil intentions towards the US echoed an almost two decades old ‘axis of evil’ notion propounded by George W Bush. Amidst the entire struggle to explain its actions the US chose a specific phraseology to paint Iran in the same old colours associated with the ‘axis of evil’. The usage of phrases such as ‘actively developing plans’, ‘imminent attack taking place’, ‘imminent and sinister’, ‘Planning, coordinating, and synchronizing significant combat operations’, ‘looking to blow up our embassy’, ‘it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past’; are reminiscent of the previous attempts to stigmatize Iran and other such states.

The world expressed concern over it. Russia, an Iranian ally, termed it as a ‘reckless step.’ France, a US ally, saw ‘an escalation underway’; Pakistan expressed ‘deep concern’ in the aftermath of the killing. US Law makers, who have no love lost for the assassinated General, also questioned the logic of this killing. Rep. Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement, as he called on the administration to clarify things for the American people. “Each passing day raises new questions about the strike that killed General Soleimani. Was there really an imminent threat? Was it part of a larger operation? What was the legal justification? What is the path forward?”

Furthermore, NBC News, citing a handful of current and former US officials, reported that Trump actually authorized the killing of Soleimani seven months ago as a reprisal, should an Iranian strike kill any American. The NBC report is consistent with a Washington Post report from last June that revealed that Pompeo had been clandestinely cautioning Iran that the death of a single American would trigger a military response. As a rocket attack had killed an American contractor working in Iraq, so US avenged it by killing the top brass Iranian military commander. In this backdrop, the killing is a characteristic medieval practice to pay the enemy in the same coin instead of ensuring diplomatic norms and adopting peace strategies.

Similarly, Iran promised ‘severe revenge’, threatening an escalation to begin yet another US-Iran proxy war on the Iraqi soil. The Iran’s Supreme National Security Council warned it would ‘spark a devastating war in Iraq.’ The killing of Suleimani has also vexed several US blacklisted paramilitary figures such as Qais al Khazali and politicians with a militia background like Muqtada al Sadar calling men to ‘be ready.’ Hasan Nasrullah, the leader of Tehran backed Hezbollah, presaged of ‘punishment for these criminal assassins.’ Simultaneously, the fears of regional conflict grew with pro Tehran, Yemen based Houthi rebels calling for ‘swift reprisals.’

Experts believe that the incident will have serious ramifications; greater than that of the killing of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. It would not only escalate a proxy war to ruin all attempts at peace in the region, but also leave indelible prints on world economy. On one hand ‘crippling sanctions’ by US on Iran would vex the latter - leaving it harder to ensure a long lasting nuclear deal with Tehran which was abandoned in 2018. A fixation with the ‘axis of evil’ political doctrine would allow no opportunity to move forward rather ensue praxis quite medieval - rooted in vengeance, clad in squalor and drenched in blood.

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