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  • Georgina Milner

Is the ‘Anti-War’ President Keen on Conflict?

General Qasem Soleimani, a man who has killed Americans, both plotted a bombing in Washington DC and armed Hezbollah in Lebanon with rockets to target Israel. No one, even Trump’s most ardent critics, is trying to defend Soleimani. He was most definitely a bad guy. But the US government and particularly the Trump administration has consistently shown time and time again that they are willing to work with and protect bad guys, including the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman who is suspected of instigating the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident. Whilst Soleimani may have organised a Shia insurgency against the US in Iraq, Saudi Arabia also funded a Sunni insurgency against the US in Iraq. Looking back to Iraq, both the UK and US launched an invasion partly as a response to the 9/11 attacks, despite none of the hijackers being Iraqi. Instead,15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian. The only difference between the actions of Iran and Iraq and those of Saudi Arabia is that Saudi Arabia is continuously willing to bow to American global dominance, not to mention the personal business ties between President Trump and Saudi Arabia.

In an effort to justify their needless provocation, the Trump administration has paraded Secretary of State Mike Pompeo across TV. He claims that the assassination was carried out as Soleimani was an imminent threat to American lives according to intelligence-based assessments. However, no evidence has yet been presented. Whilst the American media is happy to support Pompeo’s claims that information is being withheld in the interests of security, it is intellectually dishonest to pretend that if the US government or intelligence actually had any evidence to support these claims, that they would not have immediately released it for the whole world to see. American intelligence has still failed to produce evidence that Iran attacked Japanese and Norwegian oil tankers seven months after the event.

Just recently, the Afghanistan Papers were released in the US detailing that the continued American presence in Afghanistan was based on incompetence and false pretences. In addition, it outlined the lies we were sold that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons, a claim which was deemed to justify the war. Despite this, the entire political and media establishment of America appears to be suffering from collective amnesia and continues to take government and intelligence statements as fact. Considering the stunning precedent of government lies particularly under current President Trump who himself has told over 13,000 lies during his tenure, if you were an objective analyst you must assume the American government is lying before you assume it is telling the truth.

Trump has continuously surrounded himself with war hawks like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton who have not only beaten the drums for war in Iran but also in Venezuela, basing their argument on human rights abuses. By this absurd logic, again, Saudi Arabia should seemingly be first on the list of target countries. However, it is not. The only seeming connected between Iran and Venezuela is one thing. Oil. Saudi Arabia has been generous with the US in granting access and business deals with American oil companies, whereas Venezuela and Iran have always protected their oil and taken steps to nationalize it.

Trumps aggression towards Iran did not begin with Soleimani. This is only the latest step in a long line of provocations, beginning with the needless withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal in May 2018, due to Trump’s thin-skinned insecurities over the Obama legacy. Regardless of this, Iran continued to abide by the nuclear deal for a full year after American withdrawal. They only decided to begin nuclear enrichment after America deployed two rounds of sanctions against them and pressured other countries to withdraw from business with Iran upon threat of sanctions against them also, crippling Iran’s economy. The US is not the force to deter aggression they claim to be, but instead are themselves the aggressors, both historically and today.

Trump has previously accused Obama of stoking tensions with Iran in order to ensure his re-election. However, this week it was revealed that Trump told associates that he was under pressure to take out Soleimani from GOP senators. Senators such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are deemed important supporters in Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. So far, we can be thankful that Iran’s retaliatory strike on US airbases in Iraq were deemed deliberately designed to avoid any casualties, forcing America to back down somewhat. But with America increasing their troops in the Middle East, deliberately placing them in harm’s way as bait for Iran and increasing tensions over the Iran shooting of a Ukrainian plane, this crisis is far from resolved.

Whilst politicians and the media seem to have forgotten the Iraq War, it is best to remember that what was promised to be a matter of a “few weeks”, lasted over a decade at the cost of thousands of troops and nearly a million innocent civilians. Yet, Iran is not Iraq. Instead, it is three times stronger militarily. A war with Iran will make the Iraq war look like child’s play.

Image: Unsplash

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