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On Qassem Soleimani's Assassination: Is It Foolish To Credit The Foolish Clown With Foolishness?


By Kambiz Zarrabi

People in Tehran mourning Qassem Soleimani's death

Jesus saw a dead man on a roadside.
Startled, he pondered, saying:
"O man, whom had you slain, for whose death
You paid the price with your blood;
And where shall lie the avenger of your demise?"

I am translating these haunting lines penned by a Persian poet over a thousand years ago. Tit for tat, and tat for tit; then tit for tat again, and tat for tit; over and over and over: will the riddle ever end?!

So, Qassem Soleimani had the blood of many Americans on his hands, we are told repeatedly, for which he paid the price. He had trained militias opposing American troops' presence and occupation of Iran's neighbor, Iraq, and had provided them with weapons and improvised explosive devices that killed Americans. I don't believe General Soleimani would have disputed that allegation.

He was also training and providing personnel and weapons for the militias who had successfully battled ISIS; as well as confronting Saudi-funded and American and Israeli supported anti-Iran groups in Iraq and Syria. That shouldn't come as a surprise. Iran has been under blatantly open threats of aggression and regime-change for decades.

But, why this much American animosity toward the Islamic Republic? Well, Iran has been posing an existential threat to America's baby and chief ally, Israel, and determined to wipe it off the face of the map. Plus, Iran was also a threat to Saudi Arabia, and could disrupt the global oil supply to hurt the world economy.

Viewed from the other side, Iran has blamed Israel for its political influence on American foreign policy machination; and Saudi Arabia for accommodating and bankrolling America's agendas and anti-Iran policies.

Iran also blames the United States for encouraging, arming and supporting Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in 1980, resulting in the deaths of over a million on both sides during the eight-years of what Iran calls the "Imposed War". Well, Ronald Reagan had, by the same token, the blood of over a million Iranians and Iraqis on his hands; didn't he?

But that, we could say, was in retaliation for the American embassy takeover by the Iranian regime in 1979; wasn't it?

So, why was the Islamic Revolution so anti-American in the first place? The response by Iran has always been to invoke the military coup of 1953, when the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister was overthrown by the United States to reinstall the puppet Shah back to power.

If you ask why was the premiership of Iran's Mosaddegh deemed so threatening to America's interests; the answer is easy: He was going to throw Iran and its oil, as well as its warm-water Persian Gulf ports, onto the Soviets' lap! We couldn't have that; could we?

I am not trying to address the truths or falsehoods of these claims and counterclaims. Some are at least partially true, and others clearly flawed; and it all depends on which side of the fence the rationales come from.

Iranian daily Tehran Times warning of revenge

This latest episode, the assassination of General Soleimani, having been conducted at this particular time, does raise some questions. He could have been taken out, and rather easily, numerous times in the past ten years; and evidence shows that he was fully aware of the risk: So, why now?

Decisions such as this are, of course, sometimes made by some impulsive fool with poor judgement, or sometimes out of misinformation or even deliberate disinformation. It is also quite likely that this time it was meant to serve another, not so well-hidden purpose: Could it perhaps be Mr. Trump's diversionary tactic facing his impeachment trial in the Senate? Or, could it be attributed to the long strategy of further inflaming the perpetual regional instability and mayhem that, as I have often said, serves the misplaced interests of the Superpower?

I am simply hoping that this miscalculation does not expand to the kind of regional mayhem reminiscent of what started the First World War.

About the author:

Kambiz Zarrabi has devoted the last thirty-some years teaching, lecturing and writing about US/Iran relations. Previous to his retirement, his career included working as geologist/geophysicist in the oil and minerals exploration industries with American and Iranian firms and in the private sector. His tenure included serving at Iran's Ministry of Economy as the Director General of Mines in the late 60s and early 70s.  He received his college education at the University of California in Los Angeles, graduating in 1960.

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