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A new strategy to deter America's opponents threatens global peace and security

A demonstrator holds a banner reading "No War With Iran" during an anti-war rally following the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by a US air strike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on 4 January 2020 [İlyas Tayfun Salcı/Anadolu Agency]
A demonstrator holds a banner reading "No War With Iran" during an anti-war rally following the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by a US air strike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on 4 January 2020 [İlyas Tayfun Salcı/Anadolu Agency]

The US is undoubtedly guilty of violating international law and considers itself to be the global policeman with the right to do things that no one else can. It allows itself to assassinate individuals and attack nations, and designate people and organisations as "terrorists" according to criteria based solely on US interests without any accountability or questions from the international community.

On 13 January, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed within a broader strategic context in order to deter the challenges posed by America's opponents. That would also apply to China and Russia, he asserted, which weakens the claim that Iran's top general was killed because he was planning imminent attacks on US assets.

The US uses all means at its disposal to carry out political assassinations. It is a rogue state with a long track record in such overt and covert attacks across the world. Some succeeded, and others failed, including attempts on the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro. In 1957 there was an assassination attempt on Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser, followed three years later by the attempt on the life of Iraqi President Abd Al-Karim Qasim. It has been confirmed beyond doubt that this was carried out with the knowledge of America's CIA. The Agency is behind many such dirty operations.

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Pompeo himself is a former Director of the CIA, and his statement confirms that the US strategy is still to deter its opponents in world affairs. The "official" reason for killing Soleimani and those with him on 2 January was not even mentioned by Pompeo in his 13 January speech at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, despite being cited earlier.

Pompeo's speech was called "The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example" and set out the Trump administration's strategy to establish "real deterrence" against Iran following earlier Republican and Democratic policies that encouraged, he claimed, Tehran's "malign activity". He included Russia and China in his threats based on the traditional international legal rationale for self-defence, in which the aggressor must have taken unmistakable hostile measures first before the target of the aggression can respond in what is legally considered self-defence.

However, if America decides to change the legal rationale in such a way that it allows itself to respond not only to perceived threats, but simply because of its suspicions, then lies will replace solid evidence. Behind such distorted repercussions lies a rationale that assumes necessity and therefore allows for a disproportionate use of force for the purposes of "shocking and attacking" a potential attacker in order to submit to America's will. This suggests the spread of a culture of terror and the law of the jungle, which threatens global peace and security due to the policy of immorality and assassinations practiced by America — and its protégé Israel — against those who oppose America's neo-colonialist policies.

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This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 23 January 2019

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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