We know perception and reality don’t always jibe. Especially in politics. But, here’s the thing, shouldn’t we all basically have the same timeline for the tensions with Iran?
It kind of feels like we don’t, and this is likely one of these cases where there is probably too much information for people to digest. There are most definitely too many cases of people getting their information after it’s been through a partisan blender.
Now, conflicts with Iran go pretty far back for a lot of countries, but for what’s going on right now, we should probably start at the U.S. withdrawal on the Iran Nuclear Deal, whether or not you liked or hated it.
That was followed by U.S. sanctions against Iran, the U.S. and Iran calling each other terrorist organizations, some skirmishes by Iranian proxies and Iran seeking to ramp up its nuclear capacity. In the summer of 2019, Iran and the United States started messing about with oil exports, which increased military deployments in the Persian Gulf. Still, at the time it was mostly economic pressure that the U.S. was putting on Iran to keep Iran from enriching uranium.
Throughout the summer, things start to escalate when groups begin to attack oil sites. The U.S. administration believes those groups were supported by Iran. There were a lot of skirmishes, sanctions and uranium-enriching that followed. Because of the economic pressure, there is unrest from within Iran, and Iranian bigwigs begin to feel the pressure from their own citizens.
Then, in late December, a rocket attack on an Iraqi base killed several people, including U.S. and Iraqi service members as well as a U.S. contractor. The U.S. believes this was performed by the Iranian-supported militia Kataib Hezbollah, and the U.S. struck back on Kataib Hezbollah sites in Iraq and Syria. Then, on New Year’s Eve, people and perhaps militia members sympathetic to Kataib Hezbollah storm the U.S. embassy in Iraq. Not long after, on President Donald Trump’s command, the U.S. takes out Iranian military leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Here we are. That should be, at a basic level, everyone’s timeline.
Believing or not we were justified, or whether Congress should have weighed in, is for every freethinking individual to decide. Thinking President Trump is trying to “start” a war with Iran for some political gain, is also absolutely a politically based opinion. Trying to soften Iran and Soleimani’s brand, is the worst take we’ve seen so far.
Here’s a better question: Why do these supposed Iranian-backed Iraqi militias like the Kataib Hezbollah still have so many followers and sympathizers among the Iraqi people? This group fought against coalition forces in the Iraq war.
You could easily look at it as Soleimani allowing terrorist organizations to do his dirty work for years and finally having to pay for the terror he has helped spread.
It’s also easy to point out that the administration has held two opposing views of wanting to bolster American military might to unheard of levels while professing to want out of “forever wars,” believing that the fight with ISIS is over, and even allowing allied Kurds to die in the process.
War will always be political and emotional, but we don’t have to be ruled by emotion.