First off, the last thing we need is a war. However, we are now in one. There are many questions about this. Chiefly, WHY NOW? First off, Qasem Suleimani is not precisely a small target. He was the second in command of the Iranian state, loved by his troops and the man behind the Quds force. He was also loved by Sayyid Ali Khameni, Iran’s Supreme Leader.
The United States declared the Quds force, a military formation, a terrorist organization. Think what if another country declared the US Rangers a terrorist formation. Granted, there are differences, the Quds are more like the CIA than the SEALS, but you get the point. However, this gets stranger. While we have never been fans of this force, as is a classic of the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Suleimani traveled to Iraq often and helped stand a force the Popular Mobilization Front (PMF). The deputy, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was also killed in the strike.
The PMF was instrumental in the fight against the Islamic State. They did not get in our way, we did not get in theirs. It was convenient and at times we may have even given them air-ground support. First off, the US has never had a coherent strategy in the region. According to the Center for Strategic Studies:
The United States has never defined an integrated approach to the wars in Syria and Iraq, or address how it will deal with Arab-Kurdish-Turkish tension, Iran’s influence, Russian presence, the bitter sectarian division between Sunnis and other sects, and recovery from fighting that has created millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, massive damage to the economies of both Iraq and Syria, and changed the demographic map of sects and ethnic groups in both states. It has never explained what will happen to the volunteers and fighters supporting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, or whether “defeating” ISIS as a proto-state will end the fighting or suppress violent Islamic extremism and terrorism in Syria, Iraq, or the rest of the Islamic world.
The United States has never shown it has a credible strategy to bring stability to either Iraq or Syria, move them toward recovery and development, or create some political structure in either country that can develop effective governance in spite of the deep division between religious sects and ethnic…