By Santo D. Banerjee
While Iraq President Barham Salih is worried about U.S.-Iran conflict since the killing of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, young Americans are alarmed and speak about World War III, and an OpEd says Congress failed to act to prevent Iran war. The British-educated Kurd Salih, who spent years representing his party in Washington, was elected President of Iraq in 2018 said in a Q&A with the New Yorker’s Robin Wright:
“The dynamics are dangerous—and I have to be deeply concerned that Iraq will be embroiled in yet another cycle of conflict. Iraq and its hard-won stability in the aftermath of the war on ISIS could unravel. This would have terrible consequences for Iraq and the region at large. We must do all that is possible to assert restraint and walk back from the brink.”
He added: “The last thing the Middle East needs is a terrible war, especially as the last war, against ISIS, is yet to be definitively over. Starting a war may be the easiest of decisions, but the region cannot afford, cannot tolerate, another conflict. Too much is at stake.”
He went on to say: “The Middle East has gone through cycles of violence, has literally not known peace and security for a very, very long time. The onset of the Iraq-Iran War was the end of the regional order in the Middle East. For the last forty years, Iraq has been a main domain of conflicts across the Middle East. Everyone had a proxy to fight this war on Iraqi soil, essentially using Iraqi resources and Iraqi lives. I do not want to see my country embroiled in yet another conflict, and I do not want to see another war undermining the hard-won stability that Iraq has achieved. The success in Iraq is real but very fragile. I fear that it cannot survive another conflict in the Middle East.” Read more in the New Yorker.
Young American Alarmed
Many in the generation of Americans who have grown up since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have become alarmed by the prospect of being swept up in an extended conflict, reports the New York Times.
Over high school lunch tables, teenagers speak of World War III. When they get home, they tearfully ask their parents whether they could be drafted. Social media feeds have exploded with predictions of military action and wisecracking memes about end times.
With an all-volunteer military fighting the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East that have been simmering since they were toddlers, many young men had grown used to thinking of the longstanding requirement that they register for the draft as a mere bureaucratic formality. “Now it’s like, what exactly did we sign up for?” said Adrian Flynn, a high school senior in New York who turned 18 in October.
And demonstrators took to the streets of cities across the United States over the weekend to protest the killing of an Iranian general and the possibility that it could lead to yet another war.
“Unless the people of the United States rise up and stop it, this war will engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences,” said a statement by the coalition behind the protests. That group included Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, an antiwar coalition, and Code Pink, an antiwar organization led by women.
More than 80 protests were organized, in places like Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, Miami and Philadelphia. Marchers in Times Square in New York chanted, “U.S. out of the Middle East.” Read more in the New York Times.
Congress Failed to Act to Prevent Iran War
Hassan El-Tayyab in an OpEd in Truthout says: The Trump administration’s assassination of Iranian government official Qassim Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, is a dangerous escalation of violence against Iran at an already explosive time. This reckless move by the administration is likely to set off a series of escalations of violence across the Middle East that could result in all-out war and risk the lives of millions of people.
While both the U.S. and Iran are both escalating the crisis in the Middle East through confrontations on multiple fronts, there is no question that the origins of this crisis are in the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran and then escalate economic and military pressure on Iran.
But the responsibility for this tragedy doesn’t just lie with President Trump. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution states that only Congress has the power to declare war, not the president. Congress has had multiple opportunities to assert this responsibility. But in December 2019, Congress struck language from a military policy bill that would have explicitly denied authorization for a war with Iran and would have repealed the outdated Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (AUMF), which the administration may be using to provide legal cover for this assassination. That same bill authorized $738 billion for war. Read more in Truthout.