The new year began with a sudden change in direction for the Trump administration’s foreign policy.
In response to accelerating attacks by Iranian forces on U.S. interests and the ships of our allies, U.S. President Donald Trump reversed his previous policy of restraint and ordered the U.S. Air Force to launch five attacks on Iran’s terrorist proxies along the Iraq-Syria border, killing nearly 25 fighters.
Then, after an Islamist terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Trump was notified by America’s intelligence community and military forces of the following:
1) This attack on the U.S. embassy (uniformly accepted around the world as an act of war) was fomented by Iran’s government.
2) Gen. Qassem Soleimani—the notorious leader of Iran’s Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who was responsible for leading the attack, and innumerable other attacks on American soldiers and interests over the past 20 years—was soon to be on the ground in Iraq.
3) Soleimani was scheduled to arrive at a specific location at a specific time, and there was a window within which he could be hit. The ideal location for the strike, Trump was told, was the very road on which terrorists trained and armed by the Quds Force had murdered hundreds of U.S. soldiers, primarily via Iran-produced roadside bombs and explosive-formed projectiles, which cut through even heavy armor.
4) Soleimani was plotting massive new attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq.
Trump authorized a military strike on Soleimani, at the recommended location.
On Jan. 3, Soleimani and several of his associates, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top commander of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, which (along with the Quds Force) allegedly organized the attack on the U.S. Embassy, were killed in a U.S. drone strike.
Trump has now gone on record with a vow to retaliate strongly, and possibly “disproportionately,” against any further attack on American forces or facilities. Iran has vowed to seek revenge for Soleimani’s killing, and announced that it will no longer comply with the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), which it never signed in any case.
On the evening of Jan. 7, Iran unleashed a volley of a reported 15 ballistic missiles against Iraqi installations that house U.S. and coalition military personnel, but apparently did not cause any human casualties.
Following these events, we are faced with several key questions: why now, what’s next and how will it end?
Here are my answers:
1) Why now? Answer: With U.S. sanctions on Iran ratcheting up, and the terrorist regime’s GDP falling by five percent annually, Iran probably thought it was a good time to go on the offensive, particularly with Israeli elections coming up in March and America’s elections coming up in November, thereby theoretically reducing the flexibility of these nations’ leaders. Iran likely also calculated that rising Middle East turmoil could hurt the re-election prospects of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump—the only two world leaders it fears.
2) What’s next? Answer: It is very difficult to forecast accurately, but look for: a) Numerous Iranian cyber-attacks; b) An increased rush to produce or buy nuclear weapons; c) More embassy attacks; d) Local kidnappings; e) Attacks on oil tankers; f) Drone attacks against Saudi Arabia; and g) terror attacks against soft American targets in Africa, Latin America, and the United States itself. Iran’s key goal in the short term will be to hurt Trump’s chances of re-election.
3) How will it end? Answer: Iran runs the No. 1 terrorist organization in the world, numbering several hundred thousand operatives worldwide. As Iran’s finances implode, this terrorist force will shrink, and popular protests from dissenters both within Iran and neighboring Iraq (against Iran’s brutal influence there) will increase. The regime will probably collapse within a couple of years, or sooner, likely aided by the USAF destroying Iran’s nuclear sites, possibly in collaboration with Israel and friendly Arab air forces.
The history of evil teaches that it only gives up after it is badly beaten, then destroyed. After this corrupt regime collapses, look for good relations between the Iranian and American people, as we are natural allies, not natural enemies.
I believe good news is coming, but only after a challenging couple of years.
Fasten your seat belts.
Ken Abramowitz is the president and founder of SaveTheWest.
Be a part of our community
JNS serves as the central hub for a thriving community of readers who appreciate the invaluable context our coverage offers on Israel and their Jewish world.
Please join our community and help support our unique brand of Jewish journalism that makes sense.