Is anyone suspicious about the circumstances surrounding the latest confrontation with Iran? Surprisingly, a very dangerous situation petered out with no US casualties. Both sides exhibited great restraint avoiding an all out clash.
Let’s consider the facts, as we know them. Iran conducted an operation in Iraq that left an American contractor dead. President Trump was outraged by the death and unleashed drones that killed one of the most notorious and renown generals in the Iran military. How the precise whereabouts of Soleimani were ascertained is a mystery.
Supposedly the general was a close confidante of the ayatollahs. And so, Iran protested the assassination and vowed to avenge his death. Fifteen, or so, ballistic missiles were launched from Iran, and they struck military targets in Iraq where US soldiers were stationed. A few of the missiles were duds, and the rest failed to kill or injure any Americans.
For some reason the US was given a heads up about the missiles, enabling them to protect its soldiers. In spite of the benign results of the missile attack, the ayatollahs proclaimed that Soliemani’s death had been avenged, and there would be no further ramifications. Even the marching and protesting in Iran has ceased. Pretty strange, don’t you think?
Did anyone believe that our president and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were capable of acting in such a restrained manner? The two men have indicated repeatedly that the other side is a mortal enemy, and that military conflict is virtually assured. Well both men had the opportunity to make this premonition a reality, and then they walked away. Don’t get me wrong, diplomacy is a much better way to settle disputes, but I, for one, didn’t think these men had it in them.
Perhaps Trump’s strategy and unpredictability spooked the ayatollah. The latter must know that an all out conflict would result in the death of the Iran state and regime change. So maybe Khamenei is a pragmatist deep down under. As far as Trump is concerned, he missed an opportunity to justify a fight that may have to take place sometime in the future. But, he acted with great poise in this instance.
So what’s fishy about the turn of events? Somebody blabbed about the whereabouts of Soleimani. Was it good intelligence generated by US sources, or maybe Khamenei wanted to get rid of his primo general because of his notoriety? Usually these types of manhunts are long and drawn out. This was a quick hit.
Why didn’t Trump respond to the missiles launched by Iran at our soldiers? It was an opportunity to teach the ayatollahs a lesson. Did Trump want to give Iran an opportunity to save face and avoid a bigger confrontation? Or maybe American forces were not prepared for a larger conflict at this moment. The president promised to hit back, hard, if Iran targeted US troops.
Is Trump conducting secret conversations through intermediaries? Is Iran caving because of crushing economic sanctions? Is Iran willing to agree to end its policy of destabilizing the region? Are we close to a new deal with Iran?
Why didn’t Iran use third parties to attack the US? Was the ploy too sensitive to use militia groups in Iraq?
As you can see, there are many unanswered questions.
The events during the past week could have been really damaging and led to a more extensive conflict between the US and Iran. Thankfully, it did not go down that path and no Americans were killed or injured. And, the US seemed to have gotten the best press out of what did transpired.