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Iran Will Make Huge Political Gains Out of This Crisis
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The Iranian missile attack on two US bases in Iraq is symbolic retaliation for the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani on 3 January.

Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said there would be direct action against the US by the Iranian armed forces, and this has now happened. The message is that the Iranian leadership wants to de-escalate the crisis; the initial tweet from the US president Donald Trump after the attack indicates that he wants the same thing.

This does not mean that Iran will not respond later, using proxies to retain deniability and possibly against a US ally, as it did when making a devastating drone attack on Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais on 14 September. But even this type of low level guerrilla warfare is not inevitable, since Iran has shown in the past that it wants to avoid a full-scale war with a militarily superior US.

The assassination of Soleimani clearly came as a shock to Tehran, and will have shaken confidence that Trump will not risk a war under any circumstances. After all, Soleimani paid with his life for miscalculating the degree of American anger over pin-prick Iranian attacks last year.

Iran is more likely to seek to exploit the assassination for political gain, notably by increasing its influence in Iraq and acting through third parties. It will look to the Iraqi government, parliament and political parties to demand that the 5,200 US troops leave the country. They have been there since 2014 for the purpose of helping the Iraqi armed forces fight Isis but, from the moment General Soleimani was killed, have been looking to their own defence.

Isis, seeking to revive itself after its destruction as a de facto state, is one clear beneficiary of the Soleimani assassination.

Even if US troops stay for the moment, they will have a status near to that of hostages since many are in indefensible compounds in the middle of Iraqi military bases. The willingness of Iraqi security to defend American personnel is dubious, as was demonstrated when Iraqi troops in the Green Zone in Baghdad stood aside last week to let pro-Iranian paramilitary marchers enter the US embassy.

Iran will already have made significant political gains from this crisis as long it does not now overplay its hand and seek to humiliate the US. Street protests in Iran sparked by a rise in fuel prices last November led to the security forces killing at least 304 protesters, according to Amnesty International. Who would have expected that the next big street event in Iranian cities would be millions of people gathering for the funeral of the second most important figure in the government that had been doing the killing?


These were mourners, moreover, calling for vengeance against the US; protesters had previously blamed their leadership for wasting resources on foreign adventures such as those carried out by Soleimani. It is impossible to judge how far Isis has been re-legitimised by the recent rising of tensions, but it is in a stronger position domestically to withstand the tough times resulting from US sanctions without the fear of a popular revolt.

In Iraq, there will be many who will be pleased to see the end of Soleimani, who ordered the violent repression of protests over jobs and government corruption since last October; since then, no fewer than 500 protesters have been killed and as many as 20,000 injured.

But Iraqi protesters, too, have had the ground cut from under their feet because US interference in Iraq has just outpaced Iranian interference. Protesters will be accused of attacking a government that is seeking to defend Iraqi sovereignty. No Iraqi leader will want to be portrayed as pro-American. The pro-Iranian paramilitaries can present themselves as staunch patriots and not as Iranian proxies.

Soleimani has done more for his country by his death than he ever achieved during two decades years as head of the Quds Force, the foreign operation arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. From the US point of view, his assassination is proving counter-productive, leaving the government in Iran and its regional allies stronger than before.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Ko says:

    I beleive all of you TDS writers are reactioanry, and somewhat retarded, by nature. You Patrick, are mostly always wrong. At 2:15 on Wednesday it’s looking certain that Iran and Trump are dating. There was an agreement to let Iran pop off their missiles at the Great Satan, no one was hurt, and now they agree to just flip each other off. Trump made overtures, offers peace and future prosperity to Iran if it stops pissing upstream from Israel. Then Sanctions. It’s pure Push, Pull, Avoidance Diplomacy. Until Trump leaves office, Iran will have to STFU – seriously. There’s a big difference from Obama’s Big Pussy Diplomacy kissing the hand and bowing to the Suadi King, and giving billions to Iran for nothing in exchange. Or, Trump’s taken the Nixon Mad Man Theory and played it perfectly – so far. This was the moment when everywhen saw their life flash before their eyes, now, if Iran agrees to stop messing with the dollar, it too can be a player, and enjoy Fords and Chevys.

    • Replies: @Lilfunhunter
    , @nokangaroos
  2. A123 says:

    Khameni lost badly. There are no real opportunities for ‘gain’.

    — Khameni could not hold the embassy he attacked.
    — Iran lost a key General.
    — Khameni’s “retaliation” caused no damage.
    — Iranian air defense may have shot down a passenger jet.

    At most Khameni will get a few weeks of distraction. The high visibility launch covered live by FARS was a PR stunt to placate his domestic audience. (1)

    “Optically Quite Dramatic” But Officials Confirm No US Casualties From Iranian Missile Strike

    … [Iran launched] missiles and purposely miss their intended targets. … this could be in an attempt to save face as a public relations event for its citizens while attempting to de-escalate the situation and avoid war.

    Khameni’s authoritarian regime remains under sanctions, so he ultimately still faces the same choices. Stop spending on violence abroad, or face a civil insurrection at home.

    PEACE 😇


    • Replies: @anon
  3. Anonymous[246] • Disclaimer says:

    If it hadn’t been for a large number of Iranians dying in a stampede at the funeral procession and the possibility that Iran shot down the Ukrainian airliner then Iran would have come out of this looking better than the US.

    Unfortunately the events that followed have made it difficult for even many generally pro-Iran people to support them. All Iran’s actions have resulted in so far is killing hundreds of civilians, be it directly or indirectly, which only bolsters Trump’s claims that the Iranian government is indeed dangerous as far as most people are concerned.

  4. nope. Big victory for Zion/Trump,

    catastrophic defeat for Iran. Whose military (first beheaded by Trump)

    now stands revealed as a mewling paper tiger,

    and, re air defense, tragically incompetent.

    • Replies: @john888
    , @Bill Jones
  5. Make Soleimani the Ben Kenobi of Middle East affairs. More powerful dead than alive.

  6. @Ko

    Pressuring Iran to join the Israeli based Central banking cartel, hardly seems like a sovereign based decision.
    The same goes for Syria, and North Korea.
    Those are the ONLY! nations not in the financial grip of the Rothschild controlled banking system.
    This system controls everything within member countries from Finance, Markets, Foreign policy, Military engagements.
    Bolstered by media of massive proportions, that will promote through deception, an agenda that seeks to infect non member countries.
    Any push back from these countries, is, as we can see, dealt with on many different levels.
    A campaign of misinformation designed to bring about public support, dictating foreign policy and military actions in order to bring these countries to heel.
    The fight against ISIS and terrorism, is the guise this agenda is masked under, and the attacks or ‘planned’ demolition of 3 WTC buildings on 9/11 was the trigger that brought about this false global war on terror.
    The latest actions escalating
    tensions in the region are the precursor to the final push to install this ‘New world order’ and bring North Korea, Syria, and Iran into their sphere of control.
    Don’t get me wrong, Trump is a dangerous individual, acting beyond the checks and balances
    That conventional diplomacy requires, but he is only the messenger.
    People never question the popular narrative, most just want to get through their day and vegetate at the end of it, being happy in their cognitive dissonance.
    Only a small unpopular percentage want to know the truth.. we are doing what we can to bring to public attention, the covert system that is designed to enslave the worlds most precious commodity… people. Syrians, North Koreans, and Iranians are the last bastions of the dying..
    State of sovereignty.

  7. “But Iraqi protesters, too, have had the ground cut from under their feet because US interference in Iraq has just outpaced Iranian interference. Protesters will be accused of attacking a government that is seeking to defend Iraqi sovereignty. No Iraqi leader will want to be portrayed as pro-American. The pro-Iranian paramilitaries can present themselves as staunch patriots and not as Iranian proxies.”

    I think this is very accurate. If there was any hope of sneaking in via a side door the internal unrest that existed has been dampened.

  8. Once again Paddy ingores the elephant in the room: Yiddistan.

  9. unit472 says:

    Iran is in what we would call a depression with GDP down 15% in the past two years and unemployment over 15%. Yes, there will be short term rally for the Iranian regimes popularity but the empire Soleinmani created is beyond the ability of the collapsing Iranian economy to support. Further, any actions Iran might take will keep oil prices high and that benefits the Gulf monarchies more than Iran.

  10. “as it did when making a devastating drone attack on Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais on 14 September”
    The author is sure Iran did this? Based on what evidence? We should stop handling allegation as fact.

  11. Eighthman says:

    Is this site now Israeli occupied territory? Or just overcome with hawk wishful thinking?

    This missile incident looks like a surprisingly effective demonstration by Iran. Even the Washington Post is expressing alarm over Iranian missile accuracy. And even Trump had to admit that they will have to leave Iraq eventually. Other nations are already leaving or stopping training.

    Imagine NOT leaving and every US soldier becoming a target or a possible hostage. Imagine bases in Iraq becoming useless because US forces have to stay there, away from Iraqis – and never trust the Iraqi soldiers they train ( like Afghanistan). Imagine Iraqi soldiers or base employees walking around gathering GPS coordinates for the next strike with a cell phone.

    Imagine Israel wondering if Hezbollah rockets are as good. Do they have 100, 000? Imagine trying to jam GPS while they can use Glonass or Galileo or Beiduo. Could Hezbollah devastate Israel without using nukes?

    Support for the US narrative was almost non-existent among allies. Congress might actually vote for limits on Trump’s warmaking ability.

    And by the way, there are already reports out of Iran of increases in employment by seeking autarcky, away from banned imports. And the IMF thinks Iran could be GDP positive in the next year. As with Russia, sanctions may trigger a broadening of their economy, away from oil. “What does not kill me, makes me stronger”

    • Replies: @Hillbob
    , @Sam Haysom
    , @Parfois1
  12. john888 says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    How can we talk winners and losers after 5 days? If in 24 months the US is out of Syria and Iraq, replaced by say the Chinese. Do we still look at this action as a “win”.

    • Replies: @Haxo Angmark
    , @Lot
  13. @Eighthman

    Lol look at this wish casting. So far Iran’s response has been scores of trampled dead mourners and 63 innocent travelers. American Empire isn’t going anywhere because the IQ of the people opposing it is too low. Hopefully some high IQ american patriots can come into power and end empire and deal with fifth columnist losers like you. Your wife isn’t coming back no matter how hard you root for america’s enemies. New hubby’s dick is bigger and he makes three times what you make. Youll be lucky if your kids come to your funeral.

    • Replies: @Hillbob
    , @Eighthman
  14. Hillbob says:
    @Sam Haysom

    Bigger dicks seem to be your thing…well , your puerile insults are now understandable….disappointment at your inward er navel gazing. Hence, your loving gaze at the neocons who runs your democracy and fits your bill for extravagance of certain parts of the anatomy i.e big dicks

  15. Eighthman says:
    @Sam Haysom

    Reading your post makes me very surprised that you would bring up the subject of IQ.

  16. Hossein says:

    The persian Mullas are seeing more resistance from ordinary Iraqis,Shiat, Sunni and Christians against their imperial ambitions in that wounded country than any other power. The Mullas have even the nerve to call Bagdad their Imperial capital and brag about Iraq being another province of Iran Naked colonialism at it’s best just like the Zionist colonial plans.

    Suleimani was in Iraq coordinating the assasination and disappearance of Iraqi protesters .
    600 have been killed and many have disappeared due to the activities of sectarian death squads ,organized ,armed and paid by the Mullas.

    At the end Suleimani not only was not able to quell the anti Iranian protests but lost his life too.
    The nonsense aboutht them gaining political influence after the demise of their colonial governor is a joke for Trump regime was succesful in clipping their wings by eliminating their colonial governor in Iraq.

  17. @john888

    so long as the Zionist wing of organized Jewry rules America,

    ‘Murkan military will all over the Middle East. If, in 24 months,

    ZOG no longer rules America, we’ll see what develops. Meanwhile,

    Zion-stooge Drumpf won Round I and won big. And the revelation

    of an abysmal Iranian military incompetence – on offense and defense – will

    set up Round II.

  18. @Haxo Angmark

    You missed the point. Iran demonstrated the range of their attacking capability.

    The Pentagon has undoubtedly drawn a big circle and highlighted all the US bases and Saudi oil production facilities within range.

    That’s what’s behind Trump’s climb-down.

    There will be no attack on Iran.

    You neocon clowns here are depressingly stupid.

    • Replies: @Peripatetic Commenter
  19. @Bill Jones

    You missed the point. Iran demonstrated the range of their attacking capability.

    They certainly seem to be good at shooting down airliners.

  20. I guess one set of confidential sources are as good as another set of confidential sources:

    IRAN ROUNDUP for January 4th thru 9th – General Soleimani was betrayed by fellow IRGC members!

    • Replies: @Crawfurdmuir
  21. @Peripatetic Commenter

    Very interesting to read.

    Mark Twain observed that “History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” The piece of history that may be rhyming here is the decline of Cromwell’s Protectorate. It was, like the Iranian revolution under Khomeini, a theocratic state. Cromwell deposed Charles I; Khomeini deposed the Shah. But after Cromwell died, his successors lacked his abilities and eventually one of the Parliamentary generals (Monck) defected to the other side, and restored Charles II to the throne.

    Khomeini’s successors have held on longer than Cromwell’s did, but there is widespread popular discontent in Iran with the regime of the mullahs, and some nostalgia for the relative peace and prosperity of the days before the Islamic Republic. Anti-regime demonstrations (some calling for restoration of the Pahlavis, others even for bringing back Zoroastrianism) have been going on for several years.

    Could there be a George Monck somewhere in the Iranian military, who might see some opportunity here for himself to overthrow the mullahs, and if not to restore the Pahlavis, to install himself?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  22. Patrick, does it bother you to know that, despite the fact that you are just as exactly as smart and charming as you think you are, as anyone is, does it bother you to know that you are a fool?

    When you were reading all those foreign policy books, and excitedly accepting all those commissions as a young commenter, in your cozy little world of connections of clueless journalists, did you foresee the great impressive idiocy into which you would wander in your later years?

    Of course you didn’t. Wake up.

  23. Anonymous[140] • Disclaimer says:

    There is also some nostalgia for the USSR/pre-1989 conditions in much of the former USSR/former Eastern bloc. It probably isn’t going to result in actual restoration of these polities.

    Saudi Arabia has never been anything but a near-theocracy controlled by the House of Saud, which nobody elected but since it has been a US force multiplier since at least 1945 the regime change bandwagon has never targetted it, despite some internal discontent.

    The Monck parallel is probably invalid, but in any case English monarchs were never able to go back to pre-Civil War conditions and the Stuart dynasty was completely gone after a few decades, except as Pretenders. The Bourbon dynasty was put back back on the throne in France in 1814-15 but with foreign bayonets, and it too was gone after a few decades, with Napoleonic nostalgia and even some Jacobin sentiment remaining a factor in French politics for much of the 19th century.

  24. Lot says:

    “If in 24 months the US is out of Syria and Iraq, replaced by say the Chinese.”

    Sounds great but we aren’t that smart and the Chinese aren’t that stupid.

  25. @Ko

    Is “enjoy Fords and Chevys” one of the promised “new sanctions”?

  26. Parfois1 says:

    Is this site now Israeli occupied territory? Or just overcome with hawk wishful thinking?

    Indeed, some contributors are of dubious loyalty to the Resistance and peddle the official dogma while pretending to pay lip service to “alternative” narratives by dressing up strawmen.

    Iran has proven two things in the last few days:

    1 . It does not fear Usrael;
    2. It can hit its enemies with precision-guided missiles.

    A new chapter of Middle East history has begun.

  27. So, how are things going in Tehran?

    Lol. “Looking good, Patrick!”

  28. Voltara says:

    The claims in this article were dubious on the 8th of Jan, now they are shown to be completely wrong. Plenty of continued conspiracy peddling in the comments, but with the admission by the Tehran government the facts are now clear and the author’s various contentions are false.

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