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The Trump card or nuclear checkmate

Reader comment on item: Predicting the Fall-out from Qasem Soleimani's Death

Submitted by Bill Berger (United States), Jan 5, 2020 at 00:06

Your comment, that "Soleimani was an operative, not a decision-maker; he carried out instructions, he didn't develop those instructions," is not the opinion of some in the military. It seems many feel he was "Tehran's most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East."

Also, in 2008, Soleimani sent a message through the president of Iraq to General Petraeus, that said, "General Petraeus, you should know that I, Qasem Soleimani, control the policy of Iran for Iraq, and also for Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan."

But one aspect about Iran's expansionism that seems to be ignored by the press, is that if we consider the countries in the M.E. as squares on a chessboard, with OIL being the king, Iran has been moving all its important pieces into the center squares. It is, and has been, a few moves away from potentially checkmating the West, and declaring itself to new hegemon over the oil countries. A nuclear hegemon over the world's oil sources, with the ability to shut down the Strait of Hormuz at will, would cause a tectonic shift in the balance of power from the West to another Persian Empire. That kind of Persian empire hasn't existed since the 6th century BC.

Another worrisome issue is that the countries which would be most economically damaged by such a shift in power over oil seem to be in a catatonic la-la-land, and totally blind to what may be at stake. Of the 15 countries which import over 80% of the world's oil, all but the U.S. get most of it from the M.E. The major economies in Asia, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Singapore, could implode, as would almost all the countries in Europe.

All of those countries should be giving their whole support to the U.S. and its willingness to stick its neck out again to save them. It saved China and the Philippines from Japan, and helped Europe in WWII. It saved S. Korea from N. Korea. It made the two hegemons of that time, Japan and Germany, democracies. And oil was also a key factor then, as now. We recall that Hitler aimed at controlling the oil wells of Iraq and the. Persian Gulf, as well as the Balkans.

That lack of awareness and reaction is a far cry from 1956, when simply the fear that Egypt's Nasser might close the Suez Canal and thereby cut off oil shipments to Europe, caused Britain and France, with the help of Israel, to invade Egypt. Russia intervened on Egypt's side, the West backed off, but it almost sparked a major war. And that was just over a canal, not the world's leading oil sources.

It seems that regardless of whether Iran reacts aggressively or not, the status quo in the M.E. is at high risk and should be changed.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Stating that Solaimani was "Tehran's most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East" does not contradict my contention that he was "an operative, not a decision-maker; he carried out instructions, he didn't develop those instructions."

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