On the night of January 8, Iran carried out missile strikes against two American military facilities in Iraq. Those were in response to the last week murder of General Qasem Soleimani who headed the Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, near the Baghdad airport. Iran's Press TV reported on Twitter that 80 people were killed in the attack. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the attack on US bases in Iraq "a slap in the face of the US."
However, in his Wednesday televised speech at the White House, US President Donald Trump said US forces suffered no casualties as a result of the Iranian missile attacks, with the damage to the bases being minimal. Apparently, it is for this reason that the US head of state responded to the Iranian attacks on American bases in Iraq only with new economic sanctions. According to Trump, "these powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior."
Despite Washington's rather restrained reaction to the missile attack on American bases in Iraq, the situation in the region remains extremely tense. In this regard, the world community urges the United States and Iran to practice restraint. And these calls are heard on many sides. NATO, for instance, says it needs no new conflicts in the Middle East. In turn, head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that Washington and Tehran should immediately start a dialogue to de-escalate the situation in the region. And speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi pointed to the need of ending needles provocations. According to her Twitter post, the United States and the rest of the world "cannot afford war."
As for our country's reaction to the aggravated situation in the Middle East, it is no secret that Russia is a close ally of Iran. And there is little doubt that Moscow is ready to politically support Tehran under the current circumstances. In every way possible but avoiding to be drawn into a military confrontation with the United States in the region. Earlier, Moscow has already expressed condolences over the death of General Soleimani, noting that his murder will entail substantially heightened tensions in the region. Besides, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deemed Washington's actions against Iran a violation of international law.
It bears reminding that the dialogue between the United States and Iran has been tense since the Islamic revolution of 1979: there have been no diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran since 1980. One of the stumbling blocks in bilateral relations is Iranian atom. Suffice it to recall that immediately after coming to the White House, President Donald Trump announced the United States' withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program. Moreover, Washington accuses Tehran of supporting terrorism and violating human rights. Iran rejects these accusations, demonstrating increasedly strong anti-American sentiments, with the death of General Soleimani having only turned up the pressure.
Thus, the day before the Iranian Parliament unanimously adopted a law to list the entire US Department of Defense with all the kinds of armed forces, as well as various subordinate structures, among terrorist organizations. This should probably somewhat legalize missile strikes against US military targets in third countries. By the way, Iran has justified its attacks on US military bases in Iraq by the UN Charter, which gives it the right to self-defense.
At the moment, politicians and experts agree that the murder of General Soleimani by the Americans and Tehran's retaliatory missile attack on US military bases in Iraq appear as a new spiral of tension in the Middle East. The main question is whether this aggravation is going to bring about a full-scale destructive war. The problem is that one minor mistake by one of the parties may result in a situation where the war covers not only the entire region of the Middle East, but turns into a global conflict.
According to a number of experts, Iran is not interested in either a war with the United States or a full-scale conflict in the region as a whole. Tehran, by the way, has already announced readiness to limit itself to two strikes on US military bases in Iraq. It is more difficult with the United States, where Tehran's recent missile strikes have provided President Trump's "hawks" with an opportunity to inflate the conflict with Iran. And the current head of the White House himself with all of his unpredictability has not yet demonstrated much prudence and restraint in situations of this kind. So far, as we can see, the US President is fortunately scant of sense not to aggravate the confrontation with Iran in military terms.
At the same time, the domestic political situation in the United States dictates that Donald Trump start a small but victorious war with Iran in order to divert the attention of the country's public from the impeachment announced to him by the Democrats. Indeed, in recent days, this issue has faded into the background not only in the media, but also on social networking sites, where, due to the growing public concern, references to the third world war have come to the fore. Trump's most ardent critics have already accused him of starting the whole fight with Iran, with a relevant scenario kept in mind. Comparisons have already appeared with President Bill Clinton, who gave the go-ahead to the bombing in Afghanistan and Iran in 1998 – at the very height of the scandal with Monica Lewinsky; as well as references to the 1997 film "Wag the Dog", where a fictional President arranges a war to distract attention from a sex scandal.
In conclusion, I would like to note the first reaction of the American people to the aggravated situation in the Middle East. As early as on Monday, results of a survey conducted by the HuffPost-YouGov service appeared to say that 43% of respondents approved of the American attack in Iraq against the 38% of those who condemned it, with fence-sitters accounting for 19%. These figures suggest that the current American society is divided, and Trump's further moves against Iran will be perceived, like many of his other actions, through the lens of approval or disapproval. And that being the case, the Iranian venture may ultimately cost Donald Trump defeat in the upcoming presidential elections in November this year. And the US President should remember this when taking certain steps against Iran.