Civilian volunteers during military training to assist Shiite militias loyal to Iran in Kufa, southern Iraq, on June 20, 2014. Qasem Soleimani, the powerful and shadowy spymaster at the head of Irans security machinery, was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad on early on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. (Lynsey Addario/The New York Times)

Local experts see attack on Iranian general sparking further unrest

The U.S. air strikes that resulted in the deaths of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others further unsettle an already unsettled section of the globe, Dayton politicians and Mideast experts said Friday.

“I think this is the beginning of a new level,” said Vaughn Shannon, a Wright State University professor of political science. “Where it goes is uncertain.”

 

“Typically non-state actors or state proxies are the instigators and aggressors in global conflict,” U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said in a statement. “However, Iran as an independent state has directly coordinated attacks against the United States and its allies, including an attack against our drone, embassy, and the refineries in Saudi Arabia. The United States had to respond to make it clear to Iran that continued escalation will not stand without consequence.”

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Turner is a subcommittee chairman on the House Armed Services Committee and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“Monitoring closely the situation in #Iraq,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, tweeted Friday (@senrobportman). “Soleimani has been responsible for the deaths of many Americans over the years & directed the recent attacks on U.S. personnel in the region. Iranian aggression must not go unchecked. I look forward to a full briefing by the administration.”

Glen Duerr, associate professor of international studies at Cedarville University, sees recent U.S. moves as a direct reaction to the significant Iranian-spurred protests close to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in the past few days.

“It certainly does ramp up tensions between Iran and United States,” he added. “We’ll have to see how Iran reacts.

However, Duerr does not see a prolonged conflict resulting from the situation. He doesn’t believe either side wants one. Instead, he sees the potential of “skirmishes,” quick back-and-forth strikes.

A war in Iran “would be like Afghanistan on steroids,” Duerr said. “You have a population that’s quadruple the size of Afghanistan. And it’s even more mountainous than Afghanistan, with at least 130 different separate nuclear sites”

However, Shannon, of Wright State, fears some form of prolonged conflict may be a result, although he is not predicting “World War III.”

“I would say this is just the beginning,” Shannon said Friday.

“This has been called an attack to prevent future attacks,” he said. “It almost certainly will provoke, almost definitively will provoke some kind of retaliation, if not from Iran proper, then from various Iraqi militias with ties to Iran.”

Inquiries were sent to representatives of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Friday. A spokeswoman for the Wright-Patterson-based 445th Airlift Wing said mid-morning that, at that time, the wing had not been tasked with a new role in the Mideast.

With nine C-17 Boeing-built Globemaster III aircraft, the 445th Airlift Wing can fly cargo and personnel across the world at a moment’s notice.

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