Whilst students were home with family or on vacation during the holiday break, the United States took one heck of a move on Jan. 3 . President Donald Trump authorized a drone strike that killed top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. This drone strike would, unsurprisingly, raise tensions between the United States and Iran, a relationship that has been more than rocky since the 444 day Iran Hostage Crisis from 1979-1981. This drone strike not only indirectly led to a civilian airliner being shot down, but also the media and just about every high school student in the country with internet access flipping their lids with speculations about a “World War Three.” Let’s go over a timeline, and then talk about why this “WWIII” is not happening because of this incident.
2013- Iran Nuclear Deal: Under the Obama Administration, the United States, several European countries and China signed a deal with Iran banning Iran from doing any sort of nuclear weapons testing. Iran was limited to only being able to have a small amount of uranium, allowing them to conduct tests for things such as nuclear power. Known as the Iran Nuclear Deal (IND), the deal states that technicians from the countries involved would conduct regular inspections to ensure Iran was holding up to their end of the deal.
May 2018- President Trump’s rids of the deal: Just five years after the deal was signed, President Trump and the US withdrew from the IND after they gained evidence that Iran is not upholding their end of the deal.
April 2019- The fire starts: The US labels the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), led by general Qasem Soleimani, a terrorist organization.
June 2019- Oil tanker sieges & more: Iran attacks and sieges two British oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. They also seized other tankers with Saudi Arabian, Japanese and Panamanian flags. The US, in response, unsuccessfully attempts to legally seize an Iranian Oil tanker in Gibraltar, Spain. Iran also attacks several oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Just days after, a US drone conducting surveillance over the Strait of Hormuz was shot down by a surface to air missile. Evidence arose the IRGC had conducted the shootdown.
Nov. 2019- Riots: Iranian citizens riot against increased oil prices all across the country. In an attempt to settle the rioters down, an estimated 300 people were killed (indirectly) by the government. US President Donald Trump publicly criticized the government’s way of handling Riots.
Dec. 2019- Things massively escalate when a US airstrike kills several members of an Iranian Militia, this causes outrage among the Iranian citizens.
New Years Eve- Protesters storm and break into the US Embassy in Baghdad as a result of the airstrike. Many of the protesters set fires at the embassy.
Jan. 2020- Qassem Soleimani is killed on the third day of the new year after the US launches an airstrike at a motorcade carrying top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The airstrike succeeded, and Soleimani was killed.
Jan. 8 2020- Iran retaliates five days after Soleimani is killed by launching several ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq where US soldiers are stationed. Luckily, US forces heard chatter about the strike before it happened, and no US forces were harmed in the retaliation attack. However, a civilian passenger airliner, a Ukraine International Airlines 737-800, was shot down moments after taking off from Tehran Airport. The US immediately suspects Iran shot the airliner down, and three days later on January 11, Iran admits it shot the airliner down by mistake, fearing another attack by the US. One-hundred seventy six people are killed.
This brings us to today. As of the day of writing, no further developments have come forth with the crisis. Investigation is underway with regards to the Ukraine Airlines crash. Now however, let’s talk about World War Three.
The thing is, Iran could never start, let alone win, a global war. They don’t have the technology, or the military power to do so. World War Three is a theoretical nuclear war between the US and Russia/China, as well as the respective allies for those countries, that would wipe out the world. Iran would have to get Russia or China involved for there to be a “WWIII.” However the threat of war is still there, Iran and the US have had a very rough relationship for many years, and that balloon could pop at any second. It almost did on January 8. Luckily, however, it seems as if it won’t be happening anytime soon. So, to the people freaking about World War Three, never fear. It won’t be happening as a result of this incident.