Unless you’ve been on a complete technology cleanse or took a sabbatical to a remote Amazonian village for the last few weeks, you have probably heard about the “impending and soon to be disastrous” World War III (that was me making air quotes by the way). Well, I’m here to take away your fear of being drafted by providing you with the real facts of what’s going on, because we aren’t going into a world war. And no, your husband won’t be drafted.
To recap the beginning of this disastrous conflict, enter the United States, stage left. For years the Bush and Obama administration had several opportunities to kill Iran’s General Qassem Suleimani, but they refrained. There are many reasons as to why, including the potential for another middle eastern conflict, as if we aren’t involved in enough in that region already. But ultimately these two completely contrasting administrations knew that killing an important leader of an important country would just cause conflict and honestly, brought almost no immediate benefits for the United States. The Trump administration, however, had other plans. (Moore & Rampton, 2020)
On Dec. 27, 2019, militia group Kataib Hezbollah attacked a military base in an Iraqi controlled region and killed an American contractor while wounding several other Americans. Keep in mind, Kataib Hezbollah has very clear ties to Iran but consistently denies coordinating the attack. Two days following the attack, President Trump ordered airstrikes in regions in Iraq and Syria where members of the militia allegedly had been staying. However, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper clearly highlighted in a statement that the option of airstrikes were presented to President Trump as a last resort, and the President enacted this idea of a last resort almost right away. (Kaur & Kim, 2020)
In the following days, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad is stormed, the violence intensifies, American troops are deployed as a “precaution” and Trump threatens Iran. As all of the tension heightens, President Trump’s tweets do not halt, and on Jan. 2, 2020, General Qassem Suleimani was killed by an airstrike ordered by President Trump (Kaur & Kim, 2020). The justification of this assassination goes by the name of imminent attacks on U.S. diplomats and service members by Suleimani and the coordination of the previous attacks on the U.S. embassy. No matter the reasoning, the killing of Suleimani only brought forth chaos into an already chaotic international relationship between the United States and Iran (Moore & Ratham, 2020).
What followed this dangerous venture is not on par with World War III, but is indicative of a potentially costly conflict with Iran. Signaling this potential conflict, Iran vowed revenge on those who executed the general and began to exude signs that has triggered the United States. It began with Iraq voting to remove U.S. troops from Iraqi territory which was met with President Trump threatening to sanction Iraq. Iran followed up with exiting the 2015 nuclear deal that was created under the Obama administration (Kaur & Kim, 2020). And from then on, the cat and mouse game continued.
This game of back and forth between the US and Iran is sure to continue for months, if not years, because of their lack of willingness to put down their respective pride. What’s important to note, though, is that there will not be a crazy, all-engulfing war endangering us all (at least in the near future) so there’s no need to go stir crazy thinking you’ll be fighting on the front lines anytime soon. However, to those serving in Iran now, thank you for your service and for helping keep the minimal peace we have.
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