Three Crises: The US Faces Diplomatic And Security Risks In The Wake Of Soleimani Assassination

Threats in the region range from instability in Iraq to the potential for Israeli intervention against Iran.

By Rhonda FanningJanuary 6, 2020 1:28 pm,

Fallout continues after the U.S. assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The Iraqi parliament agreed to oust U.S. military forces from the country in a non-binding vote over the weekend. Also, Iran announced it would end its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, though it will continue to allow international nuclear inspectors to do their work.

William Inboden is executive director of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, and a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He says the U.S. faces three crises when it comes to the situation with Iran.

“The first one is the security crisis, which is the immediate vulnerability of potential Iranian retaliatory strikes against Americans or American interests,” Inboden says.

Additionally, the U.S. faces diplomatic crises related to its relationship with Iraq, and with the remains of its nuclear agreement with Iran.

If U.S. troops are forced to leave Iraq, Shia militias, backed by Iran, will gain a stronger hand, Inboden says. This could result in the targeting of Iraqi Sunnis, and a return of ISIS.

“And we’ll be back where we were in 2011,” Inboden says.

If Iran ends all compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal – a deal from which President Trump withdrew the U.S. in 2018 – Inboden says the Israeli military could threaten Iran.

“There are multiple chess games going on right now in the region,” he says.

Inboden says that whether or not the Trump administration made the right decision in assassinating Soleimani, the Iranian general was an enemy of the United States.

“As much as I think the Trump administration mishandled some aspects of this, shed no tears for Soleimani,” he says. “He was a very wicked man. He had the blood of hundreds of American soldiers, thousands of Syrian citizens on his hand. … He was one of the world’s foremost international terrorists.”

Inboden says he doesn’t see evidence that the assassination of Soleimani was a “wag the dog” scenario, aimed at deflecting attention away from impeachment of President Trump.


Written by Shelly Brisbin.