How might Iran seek revenge for US killing of top general Qassem Soleimani? | ITV News
The US and its allies seek to calculate a possible Iranian response to the assassination of Soleimani
Most analysts believe Iran’s targets will be Americans in the Middle East and Afghanistan
No one knows where Iran might strike to avenge the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, but few doubt Tehran’s response will follow. Analysts point out Tehran has a huge range of targets, as well as puppet forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen that could be tasked with retaliating..
American allies, including those who regret not being warned about the plan to eliminate Soleimani, are developing contingency plans. President Donald Trump has warned that the United States will strike “a very quick and powerful” strike against Iran if Tehran retaliates. Trump said the Pentagon has identified 52 Iranian targets, including “very high level” cultural sites.
British military leaders recommend Downing Street send additional military contingent to support 400 troops already in Iraq and more than a thousand stationed in the Persian Gulf.
So far, instead, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered to equip British troops in Iraq with heavier weapons and switch their mission from training local forces to protecting British diplomats from possible retaliatory attacks from Iran..
France and the Netherlands followed the US example and ordered their citizens to leave Iraq. Washington’s European allies expressed disappointment with the strike against Soleimani, although they admitted that he was directly involved in terrorist activities.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that Britain and other European allies were “not as responsive” as he would have liked..
“The British, French and Germans must understand that we have saved lives in Europe as well,” he said..
Israeli military leaders strengthen defenses and prepare for Hezbollah retaliatory actions.
A spokesman for Lebanese Hezbollah, like other Iranian clients, said on Saturday that the response of the Iran-backed “axis of resistance” will be decisive..
Most analysts believe that Iran will target the Americans in the Middle East and Afghanistan, where Tehran has entered into a kind of “marriage of convenience” with the Taliban. Suleimani manipulated Iranian-backed forces in the region and tried his best to increase the number of casualties among the US military in the Middle East in an effort to reduce US resolve to combat..
The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Kerman province, General Golyamali Abukhamze, allowed the resumption of operations against oil ships in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday.
He also painted a bleak picture of responses across the region..
“Iran has identified vital American goals in the region for a long time. About 35 American targets, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach, “he said..
Iraq is likely to be the arena for the first response. Tehran and its Shiite forces in Iraq are already demanding that American troops leave the country..
“The response is likely to focus primarily on Iraq,” says Toby Dodge, Middle East expert at the London School of Economics..
However, Western officials fear that Western troops stationed in the Kurdish regions of Syria may also be vulnerable to attacks by Shiite militias commanded by Iran..
The list of possible targets outside of Iraq and Syria is also extensive. Military and intelligence services on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to assess where and when a likely Tehran strike could occur. Western companies operating in the Persian Gulf are restricting travel of their employees to the region, security consultants say.
US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN they see signs of increasing Iranian readiness to launch short- and medium-range ballistic missiles..
Other analysts suggest Iran will also seek to attack American allies in the region to make their support for Washington as costly as possible..
“At this stage, Britain will probably be singled out among the European allies,” a British intelligence official told Voice of America. – I don’t think Tehran will want to strike at other European states. Iran is more interested in deepening the transatlantic rift between Washington and the Europeans “.