US President Donald Trump's thirst for blood does not seem to end even after breaking arch-enemy Iran's military backbone by killing Qasem Soleimani, a pivotal figure of its armed forces. Within ten hours of the lethal attack, Trump repeated his threat by saying that if Iran ventures to retaliate against US, he would go for an onslaught against that will hit Iran 'very fast and hard'. In his first tweet after the operation, with the US flag unfurled in the backdrop and jubilating over the killing of Soleimani, Trump said that the US had identified 52 Iranian sites, some 'at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture' and obliterate them.
In 1979, during the Iranian revolution, university students in Teheran had held 52 US officials hostage and thus the US governmentn on ransom. There was an attempt to rescue them through a covert operation by using the strong espionage machinery of US defence, but the aircraft destined for the site in that blitzkrieg all crashed; the incident was celebrated in Iran as a 'divine intervention against the big Satan'. And the US is still nurturning memories of that embassy siege, which held America in shame before the world, as a burning source of animus against Iran. When now, 41 years since then, Trump shouts his threat the number of targets of 52 is a revengeful reminiscence of that event. The President's use of this trump card is also a ploy to whip up patriotic bellicosity aimed at disarming the domestic opposition that is on the rise against the President's untimely belligerence. Further, as if not satisfied with this pugnacity, Trump has been making series of tweets raising the same threat. He warns that if Iran attempts another attack, " we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!"
Trump's latest threats are in response to the recent mortar and rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq, following Soleimani's killing. The uncertainty is spreading anxiety all over the US about how Iran would retaliate. Most people there are certain that Iran will not let go of an adversary that has made a severe blow, without a revenge. For the same reason, say private agencies giving defence advice to the US administration, Washington is not clear about where and who Teheran is gargeting. US House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who charged that Trump's deadly attack was inopportune and unjustifiable, plainly said that such provocative and disproportionate military moves will put US citizens, diplomatic officials and even allies in insecurity. Close on the heels of Soleimani's murder, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamnei asserted that Iran would take lethal revenge. Given this scenario, this locking of horns is likely to cause jitters in West Asia in particular, and the world in general alike. Undoubtedly, Trump has committed a monumental folly of playing with fire. What this villainous leader, consistently unpredictable, will keep doing is a concern worldwide. Most countries including Britain and India – who prod on Trump in his extreme nationalism and frenzied racism - have maintained ample caution in the matter of Soleimani's killing. It is clear that a worry prevails all over as to which direction matters may turn.
Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had made some notable moves to forget the old spite against Iran, disarm it in the nuclear domain and thus bring it to the mainstream of the world. And the United Nations was also part of that effort, with the support of European Union, China and Russia, to save Iran from the embargo and at the same time rein in Teheran against accumulation of nuclear capability. That was how the nuclear deal between Iran and the US was signed. But one of the ways used by Trump - as done by Narendra Modi - to flare up hyper nationalism and racism was the decision to annul the nuclear deal with Iran. By doing that that soon after assuming office in 2018, what he did was to pull the clock back not only in US foreign relations, but also in the matter of peace and security in the Gulf region. Now, in the backdrop of domestic threats he faces including Congress's impeachment move and looming electoral defeat in the Presidential election, Trump is trying to overcome such anxiety.
In the matter of military strength and defence preparedness, Iran is nowhere near the US by any standards. At the same time, the main asset of Iran, a nation propelled by patriotism and ample imperialistic ambitions rooted in Persian nostalgia, is its people imbued with honour and self-respect and immensely resourceful and talented. Add to this the strategic geo-political location of that country, a combat with Iran will not be effortless for the US. It was a recognition of this truth that had forced America to seek a path of reconciliation with them even after starving Iran with sanctions for decades. Trump, who has upset all that, has now put Iran in the same hostile spot and blown the trumpet of war through the killing of Soleimani - the architect of Teheran's export of revolution. The pros and cons of this move and who can claim its responsibility are things to be waited for watched.