World War 3 fears were triggered once again yesterday after US President Donald Trump approved a US-led drone strike in Iraq which killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani.
In the wake of the US drone strike, World War 3 is trending on Twitter, with millions worried the assassination could spark a chain of events ending in full-scale combat.
General Soleimani’s death was a decisive blow for Iran, which lost both its top military strategist and one of its most influential political figures.
The general led the Quds unit of the Iranian revolutionary guard, a shadowy military intelligence outfit responsible for extending Iran’s influence aboard.
Back home in Iran, he was considered second only to the country’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and people saw him as a viable candidate to become the next Iranian President.
Iran has reacted with severity to the loss of the treasured military leader, promising swift revenge on the US.
The country’s President, Hassan Rouhani, vowed Iran would continue to resist “American expansionism” and “take revenge” on the dead general’s behalf.
The Pentagon branded the attack “self-defense”, claiming General Soleimani was plotting an attack on American soil.
According to analysts, the drone strikes all but forces Iran to retaliate, but revenge will likely come on a smaller scale.
Counter-attacks will likely aim to damage the US via its presence in the Middle East and discourage any future insurrections against Iran.
However, they will likely fall short of all-out war, adding another notch to the tit-for-tat exchange ongoing between the country over the past four years.
American goals are equally opaque, with statements suggesting US attacks are wholly preventative, but senior officials hinting at more comprehensive objectives against the country in the Middle East.
A future clash between Iran and the US threatens to draw in other world powers, and allies of both countries have already weighed in following Soleimani’s assassination.
Russia, a strategic ally of Iran, condemned yesterday’s strike amid Tehran’s pledge for revenge.
Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the strike was an “illegal power” move.
However, Russia stopped short of pledging military backing to a future Iranian retaliation, as Mr. Lavrov called for dialogue between the feuding countries.
Donald Trump insisted the airstrike would “stop” another war.
Speaking yesterday, the President said: “What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved.
“Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protesters in Iran, where more than 1,000 innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government.
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”
Donald Trump has since confirmed the US is ready to retaliate against any Iranian attack, stating in a Twitter post there were “52 sites” the US may target in the future.
He added the sites would be hit “very fast and very hard”.
He wrote: “Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime including recently hundreds of Iranian protestors.
“He was already attacking our Embassy and preparing for additional hits in other locations.
“Iran has been nothing but problems for many years.
“Let this serves as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.” – Liam Doyle, Express
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