The killing of Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran, after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, marks a decisive victory against Iranian terror.
Arab states have long complained of Iranian interference in their internal affairs.
They also warned the international community that this was simply not a regional problem, but an international one.
While Iran’s foreign meddling has been going on for years, with the creation of militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen to carry out its agenda, the US recently got a very direct taste of the threat those militias pose.
In Iraq, Iran-backed militias for months have been targeting US interests and bases, which led to the killing of one US contractor last week.
US officials have been warning that the situation could escalate very quickly and warned Iran there would be consequences for such actions.
Iran ignored past warnings
Iran seemingly dismissed those warnings and continued its attacks.
Then came a series of tit-for-tat exchanges between the US and Iraqi militias—the most seriously direct confrontation between Washington and Tehran since tensions began a year ago.
The US responded by attacking the Kata’ib Hezbollah base in Kirkuk with more than 30 rockets.
In response to that attack, pro-Iran militias including Hashed Shaabi—who fought Daesh in coordination with the US just a few years back—stormed the US embassy in Baghdad, setting it ablaze and chanting ‘Down, down, USA’.
This was the most serious Iranian challenge to US interests in Iraq and US President Donald Trump had no choice but to decisively respond by taking out Soleimani.
'Strike aimed at deterring future Iranian attacks'
Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement, adding that the strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attacks.
Tehran will think twice now before ordering its proxies to fight on its behalf.
The killing of Soleimani proves that Iran’s actions have consequences and they should not take American threats lightly.
Instead, it needs to focus on its own domestic situation where unemployment is skyrocketing and prices have soared, sparking the most serious anti-government protests, in years.
Iran must learn that fomenting strife in the region, backing militias, and openly defying US threats comes with a price.
His death will have significant ramifications in all regional battlefields such as Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
They have lost its chief foreign policy architect and military strategist and will be struggling to pick up the pieces after this decisive defeat.