Tim Anderson: Iran has to retaliate for assassination of Gen. Soleimani

FNA – Tim Anderson, Australian academic and activist, says the US’s assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani has left Iran with limited options, which are against its will to use diplomatic means.

In an exclusive interview with FNA, Professor Anderson said, “The Trump regime’s cowardly assassination of General Soleimani, General Al-Mohandes and their comrades is the exact opposite of fighting Daesh… Washington has targeted precisely the leading heroes of the struggle against Daesh… The US regime has effectively taken over the role of Daesh, by directly and openly carrying out terrorism in Iraq.”

Tim Anderson, Ph.D., is an Australian academic and activist. He was a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and the author of several books on independent development and anti-imperialism.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: The US claims its assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani will improve security of the US. Do you think if Americans would feel safe after the attack?

A: Of course they will not. In the short term, the assassination is certain to lead to escalation. Iran has to retaliate to this cowardly attack, and all the key Iranian leaders have said that they will, in their own time. There are many US targets in the region. This escalation was unnecessary, Iran had signaled many times that there were diplomatic alternatives to confrontation, but the Trump regime has left little choice. In the medium term it may help galvanize political will in Iraq to expel US occupation forces; that, in itself, would help stabilize both Iraq and the region. With their expulsion from Iraq, US troops in Syria would appear even more isolated and vulnerable. Given the constant foreign aggression, a greater joining of hands between Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Syria, and eventually Lebanon and Palestine, is the only real way forward for security in the region.

Q: What was the US trying to achieve through this assassination operation?

A: The Trump regime’s cowardly assassination of General Soleimani, General Al-Muhandes and their comrades is the exact opposite of fighting Daesh. Starting with the murder of the 25 Iraqi PMU soldiers (allegedly in response to the killing of one civilian contractor in Kirkuk), Washington has targeted precisely the leading heroes of the struggle against Daesh in both Iraq and the region. The US regime has effectively taken over the role of Daesh, by directly and openly carrying out terrorism in Iraq, against Iraqi national heroes. It is no coincidence that the chief sponsors of terrorism in the region targeted the leadership of the anti-Daesh forces. Of course the Zionist regime was behind them, constantly urging more aggression against Iran. In the case of General Soleimani, the US criminals targeted the regional commander of resistance to Daesh terrorism, imperialist intervention and Zionist expansion.

Q: Fighting Daesh terrorists, or anti-Daesh forces; the US policy in the West Asia at the surface level seems contradictory. What is the US looking for in this part of the world?

A: The only reason for the presence of US forces in the region is to persist with the losing gambit of creating a ‘New Middle East’: a region ruled by Washington and its sectarian proxies in Tel Aviv and Riyadh. At first Trump himself did not seem fully integrated into this plan, although he always expressed irrational and childish hostility towards Iran. I believe, as a pragmatist, he did want to leave the losing war against Syria. However, he has now joined the ranks of Bush and Obama in initiating a new regional escalation. Most likely other ‘deep state’ figures have persuaded him that failure in Iraq and/or Syria means an end to the New Middle East project. Of course that project has indeed failed, but through arrogance the Washington regime seems unable to publicly acknowledge that fact. It cannot accept defeat and persists in acts to punish the people of the region. The necessary withdrawal of imperial troops from the region may now become a bloody retreat.