First, as would be entirely expected, Iraq now wants to kick out U.S. troops, a move that by the administration’s own reckoning would be a boost to Iran and yet another major disruption in the region.
In an address to the legislature, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi recommended that the government establish a timetable for the departure of foreign troops, including the members of the U.S.-led coalition to fight the Islamic State, "for the sake of our national sovereignty.""What happened was a political assassination," Abdul Mahdi said of the U.S. strike that targeted Iran's elite Quds Force commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, as he traveled in a convoy near the Baghdad airport.Lawmakers responded by passing a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end the foreign troop presence in Iraq.
Pompeo sneers at this development, insisting he knows the will of the Iraqi people. "He’s under enormous threats from the very Iranian leadership that it is that we are pushing back against,” Pompeo declared. "We are confident that the Iraqi people want the United States to continue to be there to fight the counterterror campaign. And we’ll continue to do all the things we need to do to keep America safe.” How can he be so sure? And what would we do if Iraq carried through on the resolution? Pompeo has no answer.
One wonders whether Trump ever considered this would result from the killing of Soleimani on Iraqi territory. The reactions from Pompeo and Trump’s lackeys are so reminiscent of the arrogance displayed after the invasion of Iraq, it seems as though they’ve been paying no attention to the Middle East for the past 15 years.
That’s not the only immediate reaction to Soleimani’s death. Iran announced that it is canceling all commitments to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), informally known as as the Iran nuclear agreement. That means Iran is free to bust through all limits on enrichment of uranium. Whatever benefits we still derived from the deal (apart from cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which Iran said it will continue) have now disappeared, at a time when U.S. influence in the region is diminishing, Syria has fallen under Iranian and Russian domination, and Trump has alienated our allies.
Oh, and there is one more negative result from the Soleimani killing. The New York Times reports: “The American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria halted its yearlong campaign against the Islamic State on Sunday as United States forces braced for retaliation from Iran over a strike that killed a powerful Iranian commander, military officials said.” The report continued, “In a statement, the American command said that after repeated attacks on Iraqi and American bases in recent weeks, one of which killed an American contractor on Dec. 27, ‘we have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review.’”
In short, we are now declining to advance our own national security in ensuring that the Islamic State does not rebound in order to defend ourselves against the backlash to an action the administration claimed would deescalate tensions. And Pompeo has the gall to state that we are now safer than ever before.
In his multiple appearances on the Sunday TV shows Pompeo continued to blame all of this on the signing of the JCPOA. That’s an absurd shirking of responsibility three years after Trump took office. Trump insisted exiting the JCPOA would bring Iran back to the table; instead, it has dumped the deal. Trump insisted killing Soleimani would make us safer, but we now have been forced to halt actions against the Islamic State and face the prospect of getting booted out of Iraq. This all occurs before Iran, as it has sworn to do, initiates violence against Americans.
Already, we are hearing more than a little “noise.” It’s a deafening racket caused by an impulsive, ignorant and narcissistic president who may have sent us careening toward another war.