Дата публикации

Flashpoint of the Middle East

The missile strike of the US Air Force drones, authorized by the US President D. Trump, on the motorcade, in which the commander of a special unit of "Quds" of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, and a deputy head of the Iraqi Shiite militia Mahdi al-Muhandis were, blew up the global media sphere and become a real geopolitical earthquake in the Middle East.

The day before the Pentagon special operation, the US Defense Minister Mark Esper announced about the possibility of Washington's attack on Iran before its new attacks on the US interests in the Middle East, and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo solicited the support of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, urgently canceling the visit to Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus planned for January 4-7, 2019.

However, the shooting at the exit from the airport in Iraqi capital Baghdad of a significant Iranian politician, one of the symbols of victory over the terrorist "Islamic state" and the strategist standing behind many achievements of Tehran in the Middle East, was a surprise to almost everyone.

These events have a number of far-reaching consequences.

Carefully planned by the Pentagon, the force liquidation of the official representative of Iran, who has already survived several assassination attempts, once again calls into question the effectiveness of the international law system and postpones discharge in the Middle East region for an indefinite period.

The death of the actually second person in authority in Iran's leadership, who was in charge of covert operations of the country abroad, has become a dangerous turn in the development of the American-Iranian conflict during the past few years, shifting the point of the peaceful settlement of disputes between the two countries for the indefinite future. Both sides talk about readiness to protect their citizens at all costs. This situation inevitably raises the degree of confrontation in the Middle East.

The Shiite parties in Iraq have already used the situation for political purposes, having taken the expediency of the US military presence in the country to the Parliament vote. The Iraqi government cannot ignore the request of the street for a harder line against Washington after the US rocket attack on the territories in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport.

The murder of Q. Soleimani became the reason for all sorts of political speculations in the domestic policy of the US. While D.Trump named the Iranian general "responsible for the deaths of millions of people", many Congressmen were indignant that the decision on the missile strike was made without their knowledge.

Hiding behind the declarations of commitment to de-escalation, Washington at the same time continues to deploy military contingent (up to 4 thousand soldiers) to the region.

In turn, many of the world media picked up the dramatic agenda. The American media have contraposed the current operation in the Baghdad International Airport to the activities of the US intelligence, diplomats and the military, who allowed the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, during which the US Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed. According to the Arab News Agencies, "the US Marines began the arrests of pro-Iranian leaders in Iraq".

Informing about the "beginning of a new Middle East war", the journalists refer to the strengthening of the Wall Street index fluctuations and the rise of oil prices (by 3-4%).

The missile strike has aggravated the already tense tripartite situation between the US and major oil producers, Iran and Iraq. In southern Iraq, the evacuation of the American employees of oil companies and other specialists has started, and some US senators urge not to remain complacent, but to continue fighting Iran, destroying its refineries.

All of this does not add favorable perspective for OPEC Member States, the share of which in world oil production continues to decline continuously in favor of the United States (where this rate is 17.8% with the prospect of growth).

After the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called to severely avenge for the death of the national hero and martyr, it is possible to speak with confidence about the inevitable decline of influence of the moderate politicians in Iran. Despite the fact that Q. Soleimani was the banner of the Islamic Republic and the face of Iran's foreign policy ambitions, the Tehran's regional strategy does not end there. The Q. Soleimani’s successor, General Esmail Ghaani, has already said that the tasks of the department will not change and it will continue to strengthen Iranian influence arc from the Gulf of Oman through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the west coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Besides, the escalation of the conflict between Washington and Tehran can cause an uncontrolled chaotic response from the numerous Shiite groups, which are able to attempt to implement the plans for revenge to the US. Targets for attacks may be the facilities of military or energy infrastructure of the geopolitical rivals of Iran.

Thus, 2020 will be very difficult for the Middle East, where several simultaneous mediated conflicts will unfold, the coalitions will be created and decay, the wave of mass protests will continue.

Washington will not stop trying to reduce the Iranian influence in Iraq and other Middle East states. This can lead to an intensification of the hotspots in the region and further undermine its economic and political stability.

Events near the Baghdad International Airport demonstrated that the world is slipping into the situation when the global players defend their interests using publicly dangerous means.