today on “kate researches a topic and distills it into mass amounts of genX cynicism with slight millennial optimism”: what the heck happened with iran?
i feel like for 3 days the US who followed the news was on tenterhooks with iran and then whoosh, it just sort of fizzled out. so what the heck happened?
first, iran and US relations are not the greatest. in may 2018, DT pulled out of an international agreement for the iran nuclear deal (it was between the US, UK, france, china, russia, and germany and limited what iran could do with its nuclear program). the reason the program was going to be put in place was because the restrictions were really punishing ordinary people in iran (you know, the pleebs like you and me) and raising the cost of living immensely. after the US pulled out, more of the strict rules were put back in place and oil exports were affected.
but, a brief history of iranian rule will help. since 1979, when the islamic revolution took place, the country has been under theocratic rule – an islamic republic that governs according to the laws of islam. the supreme leader has control over everything pretty much, so no checks and balances. there is a president, too, who is elected, but he is the 2nd most important person. the supreme leader is leader for life, so the current SL has been in power for 30 years. 30 years!!! the current president, however, has only been in power since 2013, but he’s been working on a better economy and better worldwide relations. you might remember him beating mr. ahmadinejad (I’m a dinner jacket – remember that?) in 2013. i believe this was a part of the arab spring (don’t quote me on that).
so the new prez worked on the iranian nuclear deal in 2015, working with the above countries to create a better relationship with them (they thought iran was working on a nuclear weapon and were scared [really, they should be more scared of the US’s nuclear arsenal. good grief]). part of the previous sanctions imposed were specifically designed to damage its economy – stop selling oil and natural gas to certain countries – and this really damaged the economy, as the cost of food and fuel became super expensive for the pleebs. in 2015, the new prez agreed to the iranian deal that would lift the sanctions in exchange for iran cutting back on nuclear activities (can we all agree that perhaps some nuclear activities include NOT bombs? like nuclear energy? for what it’s worth, iran had said that its nuclear activities were peaceful. although who knows what they are doing.) it was hoped that iran’s economy would get better and the country, pleebs especially, would get back on its feet.
this deal is what the US (DT) pulled out of in 2018.
then, in 2019, four US oil tankers were damaged off the cost of the UAE, and we (well, probably DT) blamed iran but didn’t provide evidence. iran denied it. after that, a US surveillance drone was shot down by iran, who said it was in their airspace (that’s reasonable if its in their airspace). (at this point, DT tweeted BIG MISTAKE and said he was 10 mins away from an airstrike before pulling back. meanwhile, the US had been designing rules and restrictions to stop other nationals from buying iranian oil.
so there’s some background; if you want to know more about what happened in 1979, i’d suggest watching the movie “argo.”
now, some background on this suleimani dude. i’m gonna call him S because i don’t want to type his name every time.
S joined the iranian revolution guards in 1979 after the revolution and rose in the ranks pretty quickly.
- he fought against the opium trade from afghanistan to turkey/europe
- in 1999, he told the iran president to crush a student revolt otherwise the military would launch a coup
- he was set to start collaborating to destry the taliban, but hended after GW said iran was a part of an axis of evil
- he strengthened a relationship with hezbollah and sent operatives to they could retake southern lebanon
- he is described as the single most powerful operative in the middle easy and combats western influence to promote the expansion of siite and iran’s influence in the middle east.
- he coordinated attacks and other stuff during the syrian civil war – he was a strong supporter of bashar al-assad and thousands of the iranian military force were spread out across syria. al-assad said that S deserved most of the credit in repeling the rebels and recapturing cities and towns.
- conspired with russia for al-assad’s syria and tried to get russian military on board to reshape the war.
- worked to get rid of ISIL in iraq. (ISIL is probably the more accurate term for ISIS.) [i feel like this…might be good?]
some other items of note:
- he was on a list of iranians who were targeted with sanctions by the UN. he, along with bashar al-assad was sanctioned for providing material support to the syrian government.
- the US put him on a list that forbade US citizens form doing business with him.
- he was a popular national figure in iran – more for the conservative side of things i’d imagine. he was considered more popular than the president (but not as popular as the supreme leader)
not the best guy.
so, S was killed on jan. 3 by a US drone strike near the baghdad airport, ordered by DT. the reasons:
- he had been involved in the killing of americans
- there was an attack on the american embassy in baghdad
- there was an attack on a k-1 air base
- an iraqi-american contractor was killed by a rocket attack
at first, DT had wanted to strike the shia militia, but chose the most extreme (proposed) option instead. a little contradiction at this point, given that the above list was used as “justification” while DT said he was preventing imminent attacks on americans. DT told fox news that four embassies had been targeted for future attacks while secretary of state pompeo said there were no known attacks forthcoming, so WHO TO BELIEVE, WHO TO BELIEVE.
[also, this whole thing where DT was telling people at maralago about the strikes before they happened and NOT telling congress? and then telling the details at a private fundraiser?? how is that not a violation of state secrets? i’m sorry; that’s ineptitude at its greatest. what an iDioT.)
congress did NOT authorize the attack, and since the attack was done in iraqi airspace, there was also some controversy over not getting consent from iraq. hmmm.
so, what was the reaction?
- the US said this violated international human rights law
- some compared it to the killing of archduke franz ferdinand (kind of full circle there, wouldn’t you say?)
- WWIII started trending on twitter
- the risk of iran retaliating with war…well that was definitely a real possibility
- iran launched ballistic missiles at two us bases in iraq (with no casualties, but some servicemembers were concussed)
- the US embassy told americans it would be best to leave iraq ASAP
- DT said that any retaliation would result in US targeting 52 iranian sites, including cultural sites, WHICH is pretty much a war crime as defined at the geneva convention
- US civil aviation operators are prohibted from flying over airspace in iraq, iran, and the persian gul and gulf of oman
- iraq wanted US troops to get out, but the DT administration refused
- DT imposed new sanctions, targeting the metals industry, construction, manufacturing, textiles, and mining sectors. 17 sanctions against the largest copper, steel, and iron manufacturers were also put in place.
- …and then
and then, it seemed to fizzle out after the ukraine flight crash. this was an international passenger flight from tehran to kiev. not long after it took off from tehran, it was shot down and 176 people on board were killed.
an iranian military operation shot it down, and it was attributed to human error. after some hemming and hawing by iran, they finally admitted they shot it down after mistaking it for a US cruise missile.
after that, mass protests broke out in iran, calling for the supreme leader to be removed because of the deception about the shooting down of the airline. they called soleimani a murderer, and chanted death to the dictator. riot police are trying to rein them in, even as the protesters chant “they are lying that our enemy is america; our enemy is right here.” at funerals of iranians who were on the flight, people shout anti-government slogans. (this was just days after protesters were out rallying behind their islamic leaders after S’s death – such a flip! i am speculating that there were probably different types of people in each type of protest.)
ukraine, canada, and the UK, all countries that had citizens on the flight, are demanding transparency and justice for families. justin trudeau partly blamed the US for the shootdown of the plane.
so what’s happening now? iraq is doing its best to get US troops out of there because of its parliament’s relationship with iran and what happened with S. operations against ISIS would come to a standstill, and if the US withdraws, there would be more room to resurge. iran would expand more power into iraq. so the strike on S turned out to mean iraq supporting iran and kicking out the US. currently, the government is an islamic, democratic, federal parliamentary republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. if iran spreads out, it could easily turn into a theocracy.
you made it this far. this was a lot of info, and good job on reading it all.
i’m tired of leaders pulling us into wars and altercations and not seeing the humanity in all humans, whether brown, cream, dark cappuccino, or freckled pale ivory. i read a tweet shortly after the killing of S and it said something to the effect that the average citizen in the US has more in common with the average citizen in iran than either one of them have in common with their leaders.
the average pleeb in iran does the same things you and i do: we go to work, we have a home, we cook our meals, we drive or walk or take the train to the store, we have pets, we have families, we care about the people we see, we get hungry and thirsty, we celebrate, we have hangnails, we clean out the catbox, we worry about the weather, we cheer on sports teams, we brush our hair in the morning, and we struggle to sleep at night sometimes. i by far have more in common with average iranian or iraqi or argentinian or canadian or yugoslavian or norwegian or sudanese or aussie person than i do with donald trump or his crony cabinet members.
i think that’s important to keep in mind. we’re more alike than we are different. and i don’t know about you, but wars and battles and plans to kill people aren’t what i call an everyday thought on my part. when it comes down to it, i think people would rather lead a satisfactory life and be with friends and family than wage war with someone on the other side of the planet. i don’t know why that’s so difficult for leaders to grasp.