This Is Possible Are We On The Way To The Another World War? — What Insider
Human history has been full of battles and wars, some are big and some are small. But if World War happens again, it might be humanity’s biggest battle yet. Advanced technology, massive troops, and a more intensive strategy would all be involved. People have talked about a possible World War 3 for decades. It almost started in the 1960s, during the Cold War between Russia and the United States, but thankfully we managed to avoid that.
But at the end of December 2019, Iranian backed militias in Baghdad attacked the US embassy in an attempt to storm it. The embassy assault came after over a dozen separate attacks on other American and coalition bases throughout the country, which had resulted in the death of one American contractor and four service members.
In all likelihood, the attack on the American embassy in Baghdad was purely symbolic and meant to ignite a frenzy of fresh attacks against American targets in the nation. Shortly after the attack on the US embassy, American intelligence tracked Iranian General Qasem Soleimani as he landed in Baghdad international airport in a private plane.
There he met with a high ranking Iraqi official, Abu Madhi al-Muhandis, and the two quickly climbed into a two-car convoy. Minutes later, a firestorm of tensions would erupt between Iran and the USA when missiles fired from US drones destroyed the convoy — but who exactly was General Qasem Soleimani? Why are these two nations at each other’s throat once more? And is this situation similar to past events that have lead to massive global conflicts including world wars?
Who Is General Qasem Soleimani?
General Qasem Soleimani is a figure well known by NATO and Israeli commanders and much-hated by both groups. Soleimani got his start during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980, where he rose through the ranks from delivering water to troops at the front to becoming a senior commander. With a keen strategic mind, by his late twenties, Soleimani was already a veteran senior military official.
He would make a name for himself inside the Iranian revolution’s new leadership not just for his ability to command troops at the front, but for coordinating raiding parties who traveled deep into Iraq. Soleimani was already displaying a talent for asymmetrical warfare- the unconventional style of warfare that makes use of terrorist, insurgent and even criminal elements to wage a non-traditional war against a traditional military power.
His abilities as a brilliant asymmetrical tactician would soon see him in command of the legendary Iran Quds Force- a military force that fights Iranian conflicts outside of the nation, with the express goal of toppling Israel and removing the US and other Western powers from the Middle East while expanding Iranian influence in the region. Labeled a terrorist organization by the US and many other nations, Quds Force operatives employ terrorists and criminal networks to conduct their operations, and for over two decades Soleimani was the brains behind the Quds Force.
Under Soleimani’s leadership, the Quds Force trained and equipped Hezbollah into a force to be let loose against Israel, and launched attacks against Israel in Lebanon and from inside Israeli territory itself. It was also Soleimani who bailed out the Syrian government, shipping millions of dollars of weapons, equipment, and cash to Damascus directly.
Now though people are asking: could this lead to a major war- potentially even a world war? Drawing a parallel to the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in World War I, the US strike against Soleimani has many worried about what might happen next.
What Iran Can Do Next?
For Iran though, the options are far more limited than they were for Austria-Hungary in World War I, mostly because Iran lacks the powerful allies that Austria-Hungary enjoyed at the turn of the 20th century Europe. Without Germany, Austria-Hungary could never have attempted to seek revenge on the Serbian government for the killing of Arch Duke Ferdinand, and thus snowball the series of diplomatic catastrophes that launched World War I.
To make matters worse, Europe was already a simmering bed of potential conflict. The Ottoman Empire was in full decline after centuries and steadily retreating out of Europe, leaving behind territories that were quickly claimed by European powers. A detente of sorts between Europe’s major powers had spurned on an arms race and the smallest of matches could ignite a firestorm as it inevitably did.
In the present day, the political situation in the Middle East is simply not similar enough to pre-World War I Europe to threaten a full-blown global war between major powers. Iran remains relatively isolated on the world stage, and not even Russia or China- the US’s traditional competitors- are too interested in risking the ire of the US by drawing close to the rogue nation.
If Iran chooses to retaliate militarily against the US for the killing of Soleimani, then it would do so completely on its own, and that would be tantamount to national suicide. Instead, Iran will seek to attack the US and its allies covertly, using its wide array of unconventional forces and terrorist, insurgent and criminal allies- many of which were groomed into Iranian service by Soleimani- to attack Western interests indirectly. What we should expect to see is a wave of terrorist attacks against American and NATO targets in the region, along with attacks against Iran’s long-time adversary and US ally, Saudi Arabia.
In War Situation Is Russia Support Iran?
The true risk of a global war doesn’t come from the Middle East, as in this region of the world the only American adversary with any influence in Russia and even that influence is quite limited in scope.
Russia for its part is happy to continue its strategy of slowly subverting the West by attacking its democracies and with President Trump giving Syria up to Turkey and Russia by withdrawing US troops and abandoning America’s longtime Kurdish allies, Russia’s Putin is more than pleased to continue challenging the US indirectly and instead simply seize greater influence small piece by small piece. With Syria being delivered to Russia on a silver platter, the struggling former superpower is more than happy with restoring its ability to influence the Mediterranean via naval bases in Syria.
China can start world war With the US?
The only true risk of a major war comes from China’s violation of international agreements in the South Pacific. Starting in the early 2000s, when China thought that the US was distracted by Iraq and Afghanistan, the Chinese began to build up small atolls in the South China sea into full-sized islands that could house Chinese military forces.
This was an attempt by China to secure the majority of the South China Sea and its vast mineral, oil, and fish wealth, for itself by claiming all the waters around the artificial islands- despite them being more than a thousand miles away from mainland China. Soon, Chinese national oil companies had towed oil barges into waters that traditionally belonged to Vietnam and other South Asian nations and even built a fleet of unarmed coast guard vessels equipped with water cannons to bully fishing boats from other nations out of the South China sea.
China claimed that it was merely enforcing its territorial claims to the waters, and deferred to an ancient map of Chinese territory known as the ‘seven-dash-line map’. This map was internationally unrecognized, and China’s claims officially shut down in the international court at The Hague. Despite this, China continued its process of converting small atolls into full-fledged islands via dredging operations then began to base military equipment on those islands.
The US’s President Obama responded by greatly increasing America’s naval presence in the South China Sea, and transferring naval firepower from its Atlantic fleet to its Pacific fleet. China agreed to seize the reclamation of islands across the region, but to this day refuses to tear down existing military structures and has actually taken steps to reinforce those military positions. In response to this buildup, the US has regularly sent military vessels on freedom of navigation exercises through waters that China claims.
According to international law when a foreign military vessel moves through another nation’s waters, it must do so as expediently as possible. Instead, the US works to make China’s claims illegitimate by sending its ships on slow, zig-zagging courses through the waters around the disputed islands. Every time that a US naval vessel enters the disputed waters, the Chinese navy responds and warns the American ship to leave the area- a request which is promptly ignored by the American navy.
While international opinion is against China, and the world’s support is behind the US’s freedom of navigation exercises, there is nonetheless a major risk of conflict between the two nations during these operations. Should a Chinese military official feel particularly aggressive one day and order a US vessel to be fired on, the retaliation by the American navy would be swift and overwhelming, leading to a full-blown state of war between the two nations.
Most of China’s trade takes place through the sea and most of that trade has to pass through several choke points across island nations in the South Pacific that China can’t reach to defend from American vessels. To make matters worse, most of these nations have dispositions favorable to the US. While China has tried to circumvent this national weakness by its belt and road initiative, which saw it build trade infrastructure across the Asian continent which included rail and highways, it is still critically vulnerable to an American blockade. In short, a war between the two powers would be bloody but very short, with China starved into submission as it’s unable to protect its vital trade arteries.
Result of the World War?
The truth is that the overwhelming firepower of the American navy and the world’s slow pivot to democratic ideals makes a world war almost impossible. Most nations today align ideologically with NATO’s democratic ideals, and the only two powers capable of launching major military campaigns against the US are themselves isolated on the world stage.
Of course, a world war isn’t necessary for plenty of death and destruction to occur, but it’s encouraging to know that at least for now, the world won’t be seeing the massive violence between modern nations that scoured the first half of the 20th century.
Originally published at https://whatinsider.com on February 11, 2020.