The Brink of The Abyss

Radio Erena: 08 January 2020

Whenever the oval office decides to eliminate a terrorist threat, look for the internal crises in Washington, or better yet, Cherchez le temps. The timing for “removing” any presumed threat cannot be ignored. In the past, during the Monica’s Lewinsky scandal, President Clinton gave his orders to hit the Shifa plant in Khartoum, claiming that it was producing chemicals used in terrorist attacks. It turned out the plant only produced anti-malaria pills.

When President Trump gave orders to kill general Suliemani, he had more personal reasons than overriding national security concerns. General Suliemani, who was indeed responsible for killing and harming American citizens, did not start carrying out terrorist attacks just recently. He waged unceasing wars in the region for years. For more information on his crimes ask the civilians in Edlib who celebrated his death by distributing candies. Barack Obama was fully aware of how Suliemani planned and led attacks in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Obama prudently chose not to take the course of eliminating him, knowing that such a move would trigger endless rounds of uncontrollable attacks against American interests and American citizens abroad. President Trump’s attack on Iran began with the cancellation of the nuclear agreement. From that time on, relations between America and Iran went steadily downward.

Will the removal of general Suliemani bring more peace to the world? Obviously not, but in this case, the Iranian government’s anger is not an indication of imminent retaliation. Several on the brink-of-war situations between Washington and Tehran in the past suggest that Iran will not choose any direct confrontation with the US. The option of terrorist attacks on American soldiers in the Middle East or on America’s allies elsewhere is more likely. This option would burn the nerves of American officials as they would not know when or where the next attack will be.

Iran has militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. They could choose to retaliate from or in any of these countries. In addition, Iran has popular support in the Gulf states of Kuwait and Bahrain and also in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Policymakers in Tehran are aware of the mass support they enjoy. The Middle East will not be a safe place after General Suliemani’s death. Neither the land nor the sea will be safe, as the Straits of Hormuz and Bab el-Mandab may come under attack.

The escalation resulting from the assassination of general Suliemani was preceded by another alarming escalation in war-torn Libya, adding more inflammations to the wounded Middle East. The Turkish Parliament passed a resolution allowing the president to send troops to Libya. Turkey plans to halt the advance of general Khalifa Haftar towards the capital Tripoli. As a result, Egypt immediately condemned the Turkish move, saying it would not allow any threat to its national security. Whereas Turkey and Qatar show their support to Faiz Alsarraj government in Tripoli, Egypt, UAE and Jordan back the restive general Haftar. As Libya heads toward a proxy war and the situation rapidly deteriorating with the killing of the Irani general, the Middle East will find itself at the brink of the abyss.

By Fathi Osman