First, a quick recap of the situation
We need to begin by quickly summarizing what just happened:
- General Soleimani was in Baghdad on an official visit to attend the funeral of the Iraqis murdered by the USA on the 29th
- The US has now officially claimed responsibility for this murder
- The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has officially declared that “However, a severe retaliation awaits the criminals who painted their corrupt hands with his and his martyred companions’ blood last night“
The US paints itself – and Iran – into a corner
The Iranians simply had no other choice than to declare that there will be a retaliation. There are a few core problems with what happens next. Let’s look at them one by one:
- First, it is quite obvious from the flagwaving claptrap in the USA that Uncle Shmuel is “locked and loaded” for even more macho actions and reaction. In fact, Secretary Esper has basically painted the US into what I would call an “over-reaction corner” by declaring that “the game has changed” and that the US will take “preemptive action” whenever it feels threatened. Thus, the Iranians have to assume that the US will over-react to anything even remotely looking like an Iranian retaliation.
- No less alarming is that this creates the absolutely perfect conditions for a false flag à la “USS Liberty“. Right now, the Israelis have become at least as big a danger for US servicemen and facilities in the entire Middle-East as are the Iranians themselves. How? Simple! Fire a missile/torpedo/mine at any USN ship and blame Iran. We all know that if that happens the US political elites will do what they did the last time around: let US servicemen die and protect Israel at all costs (read up on the USS Liberty if you don’t know about it)
- There is also a very real risk of “spontaneous retaliations” by other parties (not Iran or Iranian allies). In fact, in his message, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has specifically declared that “Martyr Suleimani is an international face to the Resistance and all lovers of the Resistance share a demand in retaliation for his blood. All friends – as well as all enemies – must know the path of Fighting and Resistance will continue with double the will and the final victory is decidedly waiting for those who fight in this path.” He is right, Soleimani was loved and revered by many people all over the globe, some of whom might decided to avenge his death. This means that we might well see some kind of retaliation which, of course, will be blamed on Iran but which might not be the result of any Iranian actions at all.
- Finally, should the Iranians decide not to retaliate, then we can be absolutely sure that Uncle Shmuel will see that as a proof of his putative “invincibility” and take that as a license to engage in even more provocative actions.
If we look at these four factors together we would have to come to the conclusion that Iran HAS to retaliate and HAS to do so publicly.