The Soleimani killing and the targeting of pro-Iranian figures in Iraq is likely to be a pivotal moment for the United States in the region. How bloody the aftermath will be, and whether the United States can emerge stronger, will depend on whether the Trump administration can be steadfast, plan for the long term, and work closely with allies. Trump’s Middle East policy so far, however, suggests the opposite is more likely. In the end, Soleimani’s death may prove a hollow and short-lived victory.
“The police said to me, ‘if you tell us the names of 100 Muslims involved in the riots we will stop beating you’,” recounted Sadiq, as he lay bed-bound and weak from his injuries in his one-room family shack. “I kept telling them I had nothing to do with the riots, that I did not know anything but they kept beating me. The policemen told me to shout ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and I told them I would not so they put an iron rod into the flames of the car that was on fire and then held it against my hands to burn me.”
We know this because the geologic record contains evidence that these events have occurred in the past. The key difference is that we’ve never had 7.5 billion people on the planet, so the human species really is in uncharted territory.