Articles > > Showering Tehran with Messages

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2020-01-06
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

"Tehran has revealed that since [Iranian Qods commander] Qassem Soleimani's assassination, Washington has made twenty-two attempts to contain Iran's response, showering it with successive messages, contacts and offers so as to ensure it does not launch serious retaliatory operations that would compel Washington to mount responses of equal or greater strength, potentially thrusting the region into a spiral of all-out confrontation that nobody wants, whether it is the parties to the conflict or capitals both near and far from the U.S./Iranian battlefield.
 
So far, none of these efforts, endeavors, and 'offers' (if they can be described as such) appear to be sufficient to chart a new course in U.S.-Iranian relations, which many experts agree entered a new phase at dawn January 3rd, when U.S. missiles destroyed the convoy transporting Soleimani, [Iraqi PMU (Popular Mobilization Units) deputy commander] Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their companions on Baghdad International Airport's grounds.
 
Nevertheless, Tehran has also revealed some features of its retaliation strategy to the assassination of the icon of its regional influence: To end the U.S.'s military presence in West Asia (as the Middle East is described in Iran) starting with the U.S. troops' eviction from Iraq, a process that was already put in motion via harsh harassment incidents targeting the [Baghdad] Green Zone and al-Balad military base, where Washington's embassy and U.S. army units are stationed, as well as the Iraqi parliament.
 
Iran and its allies' spokespersons have frequently mentioned the term 'war of attrition' over a span of twenty-four hours. Such a war would not be confined to Iran nor would it be waged by it alone, but rather would involve the various forces and groups allied to Tehran known as the 'resistance axis'.
 
[Lebanese Hezbollah head] Hassan Nasrallah's speech at yesterday's memorial service for Soleimani/Muhandis in Beirut's Southern Dahiyeh only confirms this inclination. Hezbollah's leader took 'transparency' to the next level, as he put it, by saying that targeting U.S. troops, officers, bases, and warships would represent 'fair retribution' for the deceased commanders' spilled blood.
 
 
Nasrallah notably described the task of targeting U.S. forces as 'the bare minimum' and the 'very least' that the resistance forces could do as an expression of loyalty to a man who showed up for all of their battles, and stood by their side, backed them, and fought with them on various fronts and arenas. I suspect that Nasrallah's frank sentiments are identical to those percolating in the Iranian leaders' minds and hearts. No one in our region knows exactly how Iran thinks and what it intends to do better than Hezbollah's secretary-general.
 
The map of the U.S. military's deployment in the region is clear, and in the wake of Hassan Nasrallah's speech, any researcher or expert can predict that the first stage of Iran's retaliation plan will directly target the U.S. presence in Iraq and Eastern Syria, without ruling out U.S. ground and naval bases scattered across several Arab countries being subjected to suicide operations of the same type that once struck the Americans in Lebanon and Iraq – as Nasrallah alluded to and recalled in his speech.
 
 
In his analysis of the goals behind the U.S. operation at Baghdad airport, Nasrallah described it as the beginning of a phase that differs entirely from those that preceded it, and proposed retribution based on that interpretation: An offensive in the form of a war of attrition ending either with the U.S. forces' departure from West Asia, or the region succumbing eternally to a 'new U.S. occupation.