Calm Down: Killing Qasem Soleimani Made Us Safer

(Forward) Elizabeth Tsurkov - Killing Qasem Soleimani counterintuitively decreases the threat of an all-out war. Soleimani's importance in projecting Iranian hard power and political influence across the Middle East cannot be understated. He oversaw the establishment, training, funding, command and control of (mostly Shia) militias across the Middle East; he also oversaw assassinations of Iranian regime opponents and attacks targeting civilians (many of them Jewish) in Europe and Latin America, as well as support to groups such as the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has been a rogue actor in its relations with the West, establishing militias responsible for kidnapping and killing Westerners, running assassination squads in European cities, and covertly working to develop the capability to assemble nuclear weapons. Soleimani's killing may reestablish U.S. deterrence and decrease Iranian adventurism in the region, because the truth is, despite its fiery rhetoric, Iran's leadership knows that a significant escalation on its part could be met with an even more deadly U.S. response - something it can ill afford. It is exactly due to Iran's relative weakness that it relies on non-conventional tools such as creating and supporting non-state armed partners across the region. The writer is a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

2020-01-06 00:00:00

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