US versus Iran: Matters Arising
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Dr. David Aworawo - Dept. of History & International Relations, University of Lagos
Following the New Year celebration, on Friday 3rd January 2020, the death of the Iran's military leader Qassem Soleimani dominated news space all over the world. According to reports, the Iranian top General was killed “after a U.S. drone struck Soleimani’s vehicle on the road leading from Baghdad airport shortly after he had landed on a scheduled flight from Damascus, Syria” early on Friday. “Also killed was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis”, (an adviser to Soleimani); deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi), an Iran-backed umbrella organisation comprising several militias “and at least seven others.”
The leader of Lebanon's Iran-allied Hezbollah movement Hassan Nasrallah, one of the late Soleimani’s closest associates, whom he visited in Beirut on New Year’s Day (two days before he was killed) in a “televised speech” said that the “US military are the ones who killed [Soleimani and al-Muhandis] and they are the ones who will pay the price. This is an American beginning in the region. We didn’t go attack them. They started a new war, of a new kind, in the region,” he said.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah “vowed to mete out "just retribution" for the killing of Iran’s top military general Qasem Soleimani, promising to expel US forces” from Middle East region. He said there will be a battle launched on “all the U.S. military bases in the region, their warships, every single general and soldier” in Iran/Iraq, except “U.S. civilians” such as “engineers, businessmen, journalists” that will not touched. “Touching any civilian anywhere in the world will only serve Trump’s policy” he said.
Asked what came to his mind when he heard the news yesterday, Dr. David Aworawo says Soleimani was many things to many people but in Iran he was one of the top leaders known to many. "To others, he was seen as a terrorist or a destabilizer."
Aworawo, who joins the conversation through a phone call says further that "the most disturbing aspect of the situation is that the strike was carried out on foreign soil without the country even aware of it. For Trump to carry it out without consent from congress."
He further reminds Nigerians of the Gulf War in 1991, and the U.S invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the Bush administration. "One was multi-lateral, while the other one was unilateral. There is still no evidence till today that the reasons the Americans gave for invading Iraq at that time is valid. The Americans claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
"Even now, the reasons that the Americans are giving is that Soleimani is about to carry out a terrorist attack but that has not been proved yet. These are the most disturbing aspects of the whole issue.
"Mainly, violation of international laws and violation of a sovereignty. Further, unilateral actions are being carried out. All of these have been very destabilizing to the international communities."
Speaking of the consequencies, Aworawo says the strong always have their way whenever things like this.
Sheriff mentions the statements of Mike Pompeo: "The intelligence assessment made clear that no action allowing Soleimani to continue his plotting and planning, his terror campaign, created more risk than the action that we took last week," the top U.S. diplomat said. "We reduced risk."
Previously in March 2017, bloomberg.com reported that “there’s enmity between Iran on one side and the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia on the other side.”
The same source says that Iran uses proxy militias including Shiite Afghans, Iraqis and Lebanese to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against opponents, some of whom are backed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
A June 2019 report by the British newspaper The Telegraph revealed that Iranians were setting up terror cells in Africa under Soleimani’s direction. According to The Telegraph, “Iranian cells may be active in Sudan, Chad, Ghana, Niger, The Gambia and the Central African Republic.”
Would Nigeria not be vulnerable if push comes to shove? It's been reported by VoA Africa that “Africa could emerge as a venue for confrontation between the U.S. and Iran as Tehran threatens to retaliate after US."