In what is being heralded as an unprecedented move, Iran has hoisted a symbolic “Red Flag” above the dome of the Jamkarān Mosque, signifying either the “mother of all wars” or six more weeks of winter.
First Time In The History, Red Flag Unfurled Over The Holy Dome Of Jamkarān Mosque, Qom Iran.
— SIFFAT ZAHRA (@SiffatZahra) January 4, 2020
Yes, I realize that it’s premature to make light of the “Islamic Republic’s” threat of retaliation for the death of terrorist Qasem Soleimani, but it’s hard to take this sort of saber rattling seriously.
Yet, plenty of outlets on the Left are doing just that. “Donald Trump has taken the U.S. ‘to the precipice of war’ with Iran,” MSNBC ominously pronounces. A tag team of writers at the New York Times emphasizes the gravity of the president’s having exercised what they call the “extreme option.” Foreign Affairs pulls no punches, writing:
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump argues that Soleimani was a terrorist and that assassinating him was a defensive action that stopped an imminent attack. Both of those assertions may or may not be true, but the United States would never have felt compelled to act against the Iranian general if not for the reckless policy the administration has pursued since it came into office. In May 2018, Trump left the Iran nuclear agreement and adopted a “maximum pressure” policy of economic sanctions on Iran.
Can you figure out which side of the ideological spectrum the author, Ilan Goldenberg, falls on?
Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior adviser to the president of the RAND Corporation, is not quite so convinced that all-out war with Iran is inevitable, writing at Fox News:
Some people fear that recent events will escalate the long conflict into a costly all-out war between the two countries. Others may welcome what they see as the necessary and inevitable showdown leading ultimately to regime change in Tehran.
But although Iranian retaliation for Soleimani’s killing and counterretaliation by the U.S. seem likely – and politically advantageous to both governments –Tehran and Washington have good reasons to inflict limited pain without engaging in a full-scale war.
Iran has little interest in beginning an all-out war in which Iran itself would suffer major damage. While Iran’s leaders describe Soleimani as a martyr, the regime does not seek martyrdom.