A week back, some people seemed to think that the killing of Iran’s top general, Qassem Suleimani, was going to start WW3. I didn’t think so. And a week later there’s still no sign of WW3 starting. In response the Iranians fired off 22 ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq, and seem to have managed to kill precisely nobody at all, perhaps because the targets were forewarned. They had to do something, but what they’ve done seems to have been a non-response response, a token gesture. Maybe there’s more coming, but it doesn’t look like it right now.
There isn’t going to be a war between the USA and Iran, because Trump doesn’t want one, and neither does Iran. Nobody wants one, apart from war hawks in the USA and Iran. So there won’t be one.
In this respect, Scott Adams pointed out that Trump had just got rid of the biggest war hawk in Iran – the one who’d been planning most of the attacks for the past ten years. Adams also suggested that Suleimani wasn’t the No. 2 man in Iran, but actually the No. 1 man. His reasoning was that it’s not the guy with the Quran (Ayatollah Khamenei) who’s in charge, but the guy with the weapons (Suleimani).
If so, then what took place last week was a coup d’etat a bit like the assassination of JFK. Back then the blame was placed on Lee Harvey Oswald, who had visited the Soviet Union, and had links to Cuba, and could very easily have been described as a Soviet agent sent to kill Kennedy in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis the previous year. The assassination could have started a war. But nobody in Washington or Moscow wanted a war, so it didn’t happen. WW3 didn’t start in 1963, and it’s not starting in 2020 either. One man was killed in 1963, and one man was killed in 2020: that’s not enough to start a war (although perhaps it was enough in 1914 when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo).
Also, the death of the singular Suleimani is now being overshadowed by the deaths of 176 passengers on board a Ukrainian jet the same night of Iran’s missile strike on Iraq:
Boris Johnson says doomed Ukrainian airliner WAS accidentally shot down by Iranian missile
And there does seem to be mounting evidence that this is what happened. There are several videos that appear to show the plane being hit by a missile, catching fire, and diving into the ground. There are also several photos of debris showing multiple holes in the aircraft fuselage and wings consistent with a missile strike. And it seems entirely plausible that, on a night of high tension in Iran as it was launching missiles into Iraq, somebody prematurely shot down an unknown jet that appeared in the sky above Tehran.
This could become a public relations disaster for Iran, as outraged Iranians and Ukrainians and Canadians demand explanations (and compensation). Are the Iranians really going to withhold the black box flight recorders from air crash investigators?
Right now it looks like the political heat has switched from the Suleimani killing to the deaths of 176 airline passengers, and this is what’s going to now dominate the headlines. After looking very likely a week ago, WW3 is rapidly vanishing into history.