Burying Iran’s Pride together with Soleimani
Iraqi supporters of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces carry the coffins of Kata’ib Hizbullah commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iranian Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 4, the day after they and eight others were killed in a US drone attack. (Mohammed Sawaf/AFP via Getty Images)

Burying Iran’s Pride together with Soleimani

Al-Arab, London, January 5

Every now and then, Iran resorts to making a mistake in order to provoke the United States. Even when these mistakes reached unprecedented levels, as was the case with the Iranian attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the American response fell broadly within the scope of searching for a legal way out of the crisis. However, Iran made a grave mistake when it interpreted this American resolve as a green light to continue acting against American interests in the region. Whether intentionally or not, Iran was publicly blackmailing the United States by forcing it to choose between one of two options: Either it accepts Iran’s demands and backs down from the sanctions imposed on the Iranian economy or its comes to terms with the Iranian aggression in the region and its undermining of American interests in the Middle East. As usual, Iran did not understand the message it was sent while insisting that others understand its own messages. Instead of acting with humility, Iranian leaders acted with arrogance. This arrogance is what prompted Iran’s militias in Iraq to launch strikes on American installations, including in the vicinity of the US Embassy. Although the American administration was clear in warning that any American casualties would demand an American response, the Iranian leadership rejected these threats. The US had no choice but to teach Iran a lesson by eliminating Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qasem Soleimani, who were the architects of these attacks. The American reaction was to be expected. Soleimani was the mastermind behind the idea of storming and besieging the American Embassy, as was made evident by the signs carried by the mobs outside the building, the chants they were yelling, and the graffiti they left on the compound’s outer walls. It was clear that Iran thought it could continue pushing the US without any reprisal. This was a fatal miscalculation. The assassination of Soleimani, whether the mullahs admit it or not, will inevitably put an end to Iran’s arrogant behavior and might lead the Iranians to rethink their policy in the region. Iran is weak and defeated, and is certainly in no position to respond to the American attack with a widespread escalation of its own. I expect that in the immediate future, Iran will be busy mourning the loss of its leader. Then it will need to reassess its strategy moving forward. At any cost, it now knows that the United States will no longer tolerate low-intensity attacks against its interests. Washington has abandoned its traditional policy of responding to Iranian aggression with mere sanctions. The elimination of Soleimani is a real turning point in the American-Iranian conflict, not only in Iraq but in the entire region. Iran foolishly pretended it could put up a war against a major superpower but it was terribly wrong. Without exaggeration, I truly believe that Iran will have to temporarily bury its pride and arrogance together with the body of Qasem Soleimani. –Farouk Youssef (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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