The United States conducted a drone strike outside the Baghdad airport in Iraq early Jan. 3. In it was killed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force leader, Soleimani, the number two leader of Iran. Aslo killed was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization forces in Iraq. This attack was not sudden or unprovoked. This was a preemptive strike to protect U.S. citizens and soldiers from future attacks being planned by Soleimani. Here is a quick rundown of what brought us to this point:
- Soleimani was the leading force behind attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last few months, including the one on December 27 that killed a U.S. contractor.
- Those recurring attacks prompted U.S. fighter jets to strike weapons depots in Iraq and Syria believed to have been linked to Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Shiite militia group. Soleimani’s Quds Force was a division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, widely believed to support many terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah.
- Soleimani is the most likely suspect behind the Iraq oil field bombing in September.
- Kataib Hezbollah is believed to be behind the huge protests and siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad several days ago. This siege ended abruptly with the arrival of U.S. forces.
- The U.S. performed a pre-emptive strike killing Soleimani, preventing future American deaths at his hands. The Defense Department made this statement after the strike: This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.
What will be the next bullet point? The United States is energy independent, but that doesn’t mean we are insulated from the world. What happens out there, particularly in the Middle East, affects the entire globe. Retaliation from Iran will come, that is a certainty. But the biggest question now is where will that retaliation be focused. If what happens next happens in the Iraqi oil fields and is prolonged, the world will feel it through global crude oil prices. All we can do now is wait and prepare for that other shoe to drop.