The Assassination of Soleimani & the Prospects of Peace in Southwest Asia
by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
According to a widely held view, an assassination of an heir-apparent caused a “Great War” in the past, even though the assassination was carried out by a 19-year-old Serbian nationalist. The assassination of Major General Soleimani, on the other hand, an officer of a branch of the armed forces of a sovereign nation, was ordered by Trump, the president of the most powerful country in the world. There are good reasons to believe that this event could only lead to more violence in a region already crippled by wars. However, two facts, at least, give us reason to believe that this assassination could bring peace not more violence. First, the region, Southwest Asia and North Africa is already in the middle of a global war through proxies for nearly a decade. Second, Iran’s measured retaliation to the assassination, though executed by state’s armed forces, may have reduced the prospects of another “Great War.”
To understand the significance of the recent events involving the U.S. and Iran, it is important and necessary that cultural, religious, military, and geopolitical elements are carefully considered. This note relies on facts, not politics or spin, to make the case that the retaliation to the assassination of Qasem Soleimani could and would bring peace to Southwest Asia.
For about 40 years, the U.S.-Iran relation has been marked by extreme hostility. Iran blames the U.S. for orchestrating coups and overthrowing democratically elected governments, propping the brutal and unpopular Shah’s regime, supporting Saddam Hussein during his 8-year war on Iran, deliberately shooting down an Iranian passenger airplane, and actively working towards a regime change in Iran since 1980.
The U.S. holds the Iranian government responsible for the fifty-two American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days during the 1979 revolution. Moreover, the U.S. government accuses the Iranian government of using or supporting actors who use terrorism, destabilizing the region, and developing nuclear weapons.
None of the grievances and accusations on either side was ever