US President Donald Trump has taken the Middle East to war. Friday’s assassination of Iran’s Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) leader Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis was the official declaration. With this clearly illegal killing of ten people in a supposedly friendly state, the ‘leader of the free world’ has sunk to the level of a mafia boss, taking yet another leaf out of the book of his mentor Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister has worked assiduously to steer the US president into a showdown with Iran. Trump has now been well and truly lured into the Israeli trap.
The US and Israel have long wanted to be rid of Soleimani, and evidently kept close track of his movements. But they refrained from targeting him in the past out of fear of the heavy Iranian and allied retaliation that would inevitably provoke. So why choose to act now? Why break so brazenly the unwritten rules of engagement that have prevailed in the US-Iranian confrontation so far?