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Iran’s retaliation is not over, the missile attacks on US is just the beginning – Hassan Ahmadian

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On January 3, US President Donald Trump announced triumphantly the killing of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani. Having assassinated the equivalent of a member of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Trump claimed he did not want war. His words rang hollow in Tehran where this brazen attack was seen as an act of exactly that.

As many have noted so far, the assassination was carried out to help Trump’s struggling re-election campaign. This strategy could have worked if Iran was a static player on the chessboard.

But it is not and depending on how it chooses to retaliate and the course of action it adopts vis-a-vis the US in the coming months and years, it could determine Trump’s political fate. This episode along with other impulsive actions by the president will negatively affect the United States‘s regional position and its global role more broadly.

Only hours after the assassination, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stated that “a harsh revenge awaits the criminal killers”. And after a meeting headed for the first time by him, Iran’s supreme national security council issued a statement saying “the US regime will be responsible for all the consequences”. If Trump expected Tehran to swallow the pain, he obviously miscalculated.

Soleimani was by far the most popular official figure in Iran; according to a 2019 poll, 82 percent of Iranians viewed him favourably. His assassination brought the nation together and made the need for revenge that more urgent. Beyond taking vengeance, a gradual shift in Iran’s strategic conduct vis-a-vis the US and its client states in the region is expected – one that will be less tolerant of the US presence.

Soleimani rose to prominence from the lowest ranks in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the 1980s and fought all of Iran’s adversaries beginning with the Baathist Regime in the Iran-Iraq war all the way to ISIL (ISIS).

He was the architect of Iran’s “forward deterrence” in the region that rendered US anti-Iran efforts feckless and helped defeat ISIL. Soleimani’s strategic vision was widely seen as essential to Iran’s defence. Assassinating him, therefore, targeted first and foremost Iran’s national security in the eyes of both Iranian officials and the Iranian public.

Hours after the assassination, Soleimani’s deputy, Esmail Qaani, was appointed the new commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force. The move was meant to refute speculations about a vacuum left behind by Soleimani but also to emphasise the continuation of Iran’s regional strategy of “forward deterrence”.

After the assassination, the Iranian leadership started debating when, where and how rather than whether or not to retaliate. Tehran is compelled to respond as its inaction would render its regional deterrence irrelevant, weaken “the axis of resistance” – the alliance of like-minded Middle Eastern states and political-military movements allied with Iran – and encourage the US’s escalation.

Iran’s geographic position, regional alliance and military capabilities, demonstrated recently in the downing of the sophisticated US spy drone in November and the targeting of ISIL positions in eastern Syria in 2016-17, gives it a wide range of options to respond.

The barrage of missiles which hit US bases in Iraq on January 8 was just the beginning – just a “slap” according to the Iranian Supreme Leader – and it seems to have been meant as a quick response to satisfy the public’s cry for revenge. It fell short of being proportional to the assassination of Soleimani, which means one should expect more to come.

Iran is not likely to resort to rash action in the face of US escalation. It will most likely sleep on its options for quite some time before launching its response which will be marked by the traditional gradualism and steadiness of its regional conduct. Re-establishing deterrence on a new level would be the main objective of Iran’s new course of action vis-a-vis the US escalation.

Though varied, Iran’s options are all hard choices that can lead to further escalation. The US backing down after the January 8 missile attacks on its positions in Iraq decreased this possibility for now, but in the future, a tit-for-tat can easily spiral into a confrontation

Iran’s main options include an increase in asymmetric warfare on an unprecedented scale to bleed the US in the region. Feeling attacked in Baghdad, the entire axis of resistance can be engaged in such a scenario.

Tehran might also resort to a devastating attack on one of the US’s client states such as Israel – as alluded to in the IRGC statement after the missile attacks in Iraq – that diminishes any sort of deterrence Washington thought the assassination could establish.

Other Iranian options include cyberattacks and indirect attacks on US assets and forces in the region.

Tehran knows that continuing domestic and international debates on Trump’s foreign policy misconduct during this time can increase internal pressure on him, which it hopes to take advantage of.

It will try to show the American public, Trump’s rivals within the US as well as its clients in the Middle East that the assassination will not in any way serve US interests or those of its allies. In doing so, Tehran will be pushing Trump into the hard place he tried to put Iran in: A retaliation would work against his campaign promise of pulling out of wars, while inaction would harm his reputation.

With Trump ordering the assassination as a way to show his decisiveness after being criticised for inaction against Iran’s downing of the US spy drone, Iran’s new course of action is likely to focus on hurting his reputation. Over the course of this year, this can affect his re-election campaign or taint his second term.

Soleimani’s assassination also precluded any chance for a diplomatic win in the Middle East for the Trump administration.

In 2018, Trump killed the Iranian moderates’ momentum by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and by reimposing sanctions. He has now killed the prospect for any future negotiations under his administration.

Iran has already shown signs it is willing to resurrect its nuclear programme. Declaring Iran’s fifth step in reducing its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action commitments, President Hassan Rouhani announced Tehran’s move beyond many of its restrictions.

With public demand for revenge, Iranian missile attacks on US positions in Iraq and urgent geopolitical considerations Iran has to address, it is hard to imagine the re-start of negotiation with the US in the years to come.

Author: Hassan Ahmadian is Assistant Professor of Political Sciences at the University of Tehran.

Source: Al Jazeera

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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Foreign News

See The Most Hated States In America. Number 1 Is Not A Surprise

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Can you guess what #1 is? Oh yes you can.
If your state ranks high on the list you have to move away immediately… just kidding this list doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s fun to look at.
How much do you love your home state?

How much do you hate other states? For majority of us, it’s something we probably don’t think about that often, but the folks at BestLife?

Well, they are on top of it, and they have crunched the numbers to come up with a ranking of the 50 U.S. states based on how much they are hated.

The “Hatred Index” that BestLife came up with is based on a number of factors, including surveys where residents expressed how much (or little) pride they had in their state, how many people are moving into or out of the state, and a poll where people picked which state they hate the most, whether it was their own home state or a different one.

Okay, so it is not the most scientific collection of metrics in the world, but it is something, and using all that data the website ranked all the states to determine which are the most hated and which are the least hated.

Let is begin with the positive side, because it’s been a rough year and we could all use a bit more positivity these days. Here are the least hated states, according to the data:

Idaho
Utah
Washington
Nevada
Arizona
Colorado
Oregon
South Dakota
Montana
Wyoming

Okay, so a lot of the states with lower population figures seem to be ranked pretty highly in terms of likeability.

That makes sense, more especially when you see that a lot of these states did not rank on the poll of which states other people hate the most.

I mean, what is there to hate about Wyoming? Big open spaces?

On the other hand, the most hated states tend to have higher populations, and people seem to have stronger opinions about them.

We have no other way of knowing why people seem to hate the following states so much, but sports teams, politics, and other factors likely play large factors.

Listed below are the most-hated states, according to the data:

New Jersey
Texas
California
Oklahoma
Florida
Michigan
Kentucky
Indiana
Alabama
Kansas

Okay so to the top spot being taken by New Jersey isn’t surprising in the least. I don’t say that because New Jersey is a state that I hate — I don’t really have an opinion of it one way or another if I’m being honest — but New Jersey tends to be the butt of many jokes, and it’s probably a fallback for a lot of people who couldn’t think of an answer that meant anything to them personally.

You can check out the rest of the list to see where your state ranks if you don’t see it on either of these lists, but wherever your state ranks, don’t take it too rough.

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Iraq Court Orders Trump’s Arrest Over Drone Strike On Iran General

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A Baghdad court has issued a warrant for the arrest of US President Donald Trump as part of its investigation into the killing of a top Iraqi paramilitary commander.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s largely pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, died in the same US drone strike that killed storied Iranian general Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport on January 3 last year.

The strike on their motorcade was ordered by Trump, who later crowed that it had taken out “two (men) for the price of one”.

The UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has described the twin killings as “arbitrary” and “illegal”.

Iran already issued a warrant for Trump’s arrest in June, and asked Interpol to relay it as a so-called red notice to other police forces around the world, a request that has so far gone unmet.

The court for east Baghdad issued the warrant for Trump’s arrest under Article 406 of the penal code, which provides for the death penalty in all cases of premeditated murder, the judiciary said.

The court said the preliminary inquiry had been completed but “investigations are continuing in order to unmask the other culprits in this crime, be they Iraqis or foreigners.”

In the run-up to Sunday’s anniversary of the twin killings, pro-Iran factions stepped up their rhetoric against Washington and Iraqi officials deemed to have colluded with it.

 

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Boy chained and treated like an animal for two years by his stepmothers

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A 10-year old boy identified as Jibril Aliyu, who was subjected to inhumane conditions by his family has been rescued by some human right activists in the Badariya area of Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi state.

Jibril lost his mother two years ago. After her death, Jibril was chained with animals and denied the basic living amenities – food, clothing and shelter by his two stepmothers. The mark of the chain can be easily seen on his ankle.

He was treated cruelly and had to eat animal feeds and his faeces for survival. This heartbreaking situation has affected his mental capability and makes him behave like an animal.

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A Twitter user @manirjegah, confirmed that the evil perpetrators, Jibril’s two stepmothers and father are currently in police custody and He is undergoing treatment and rehabilitation in the Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kebbi.

 

 

HIS 2 EVIL STEP MOTHERS, TOGETHER WITH HIS FATHER ARE CURRENTLY IN POLICE CUSTODY. WHILE THE 10 YEAR OLD JIBRIL IS UNDERGOING TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION AT THE FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER BIRNIN KEBBI. WHAT HAPPENED TO JIBRIL IS THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF BARBARITY AND EXTREME CRUELTY.

Source: yabaleftonline.com

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