Despite the coronavirus uproar, Trump keeps the pressure on Iran
This article by Andrea Widburg appeared first, here:
With coronavirus seemingly on top of everyone’s agenda, it’s easy to forget that the world continues to turn and other events take place. One of those events was an Iranian rocket attack in Iraq on Wednesday that killed two Americans and a British national. Iran’s top leadership may be falling like dominos to the coronavirus, but Iran’s theocracy is still vicious. The mullahs might have thought that, with the U.S. distracted by coronavirus, they could gain an advantage in Iraq. The mullahs thought wrong.
According to Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. forces in the Middle East, the attack on Wednesday was almost certainly the work of Kata’eb Hezb’allah, the same group that stormed the American embassy in Iraq. That effort led to Trump ordering a targeted strike against Qassem Soleimani, one of the most dangerous and deadly terrorists in the world.
Once again, Trump responded forcefully to Iran’s latest deadly attack. He ordered a counterstrike, which U.S. forces successfully carried out on Thursday:
The U.S. military launched multiple strikes using warplanes targeting multiple bases used by Iranian-backed Shia militias believed to be behind the rocket attack on Camp Taji, Iraq, the day before that killed two Americans and one British soldier, a senior U.S. military source told Fox News.
The launch began after 1 a.m. Baghdad time.
The U.S. military strike was “proportional,” according to the U.S. military source, and hit multiple bases used by the Kata’eb Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that fired 30 Katyusha rockets yesterday at the Taji Base, which housed American and British troops. Of the 12 troops wounded yesterday, five are in serious condition.
It turns out that this was an exceptionally successful strike because the U.S. military managed to take out yet another senior Iranian military commander:
Hey guys, looks like we just killed another senior Iranian military commander. Sorry to interrupt. https://twitter.com/kurdistannews24/status/1238298161996677120 …Botin Kurdistani@kurdistannews24Replying to @kurdistannews24#BREAKING NEWS:
General Siamand Mashhadani, one of the #Iranian Revolutionary Guards Top Commander , was killed by the #American airstrike in #Iraq.
مقتل الجنرال سيامند مشهداني أحد قادة الحرس الثوري الإيراني بالقصف الأميركي #BreakingNews21.6K9:36 PM – Mar 12, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy11.5K people are talking about this
Generally speaking, things have not been going well for Iran lately. The mass graves that are now visible from outer space tell the story, even if the government lies about the facts: lots of people are succumbing to the coronavirus. Iran’s high death toll is the typical pattern we see in a society with socialized medicine, terrible pollution, heavy cigarette smoking, and a secretive government.
Ironically, Iran’s religious fundamentalism and the centrality of the 1979 revolution helped power the disease’s spread. Not only is the city of Qom the epidemic’s epicenter, but it is also an important religious shrine and the city in which, during the 1960s, Ayatollah Khomeini began the journey that led to the Shah’s overthrow. Additionally, Qom has been a center for Chinese people studying in Iran.
Iran’s saga has an additional twist, which is that the Qom connection means that the virus is working its way through its leadership class:
Since the Iranian leaders visit Qom often, the virus spread into the ruling elite, killing one of Khamenei’s advisors, three Revolutionary Guard commanders, the deputy minister of health, a former ambassador to Syria who was currently working as an advisor to Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Khomeini’s ambassador to the Vatican, and an advisor to the head of the Judiciary.
According to CNN, eight percent of Iran’s parliament has been infected by coronavirus. Naturally, the Iranians are placing the blame everywhere but on their own choice of friends with America and Jews as the named culprits.
Assuming that the Iranian people are not so weakened by disease that they can no longer act, Iran seems ripe for a new revolution, one that kicks out the totalitarian religious dictatorship that has, for so many decades, dragged down a people once known throughout the Middle East for their love of life and beauty