The Soleimani Case: a Geopolitical Analysis

by Aurora Ceccotti

General Soleimani (L) and US President Donald Trump. Credits: Daily Express

The murder of Soleimani and its possible consequences led to a general fear of a third world war. Memes about young people getting ready to join the army have proliferated around the web.

This is however unlikely to happen. As far as concerns the involvement of NATO countries, Article 5 does not oblige the NATO allies to intervene in defence of the USA in case of attack. This prevents the majority of European countries from being forced to have any engagement in the conflict. Furthermore, other possible actors such as China and Russia do not have a significant role in the tensions between Washington and Iran. It is true, however, that they might have a common goal: to weaken the US influence. 

Iran initially opted for a non-military response, withdrawing the nuclear deal, which, however, does not necessarily mean that they will own or use nuclear weapons.  Subsequently, Iran attacked US sites in Iraq. This was a predictable move in response to the killing of Soleimani, seen as an act of war. The lack of American casualties decreased the chances of an all-out war, and both Teheran and Washington are sending de-escalating messages. 

Geopolitical events as such have a significant impact on markets.

The value of gold, being a safe haven currency, has significantly increased.

Furthermore, the price of oil increased as turbulence in the area makes oil seem to be less available, however, the de-escalation of tensions led the markets, including the oil market, to reacquire stability. 

It might be true that people’s attention has shifted away from trump’s impeachment inquiry. However, Trump has achieved support allegedly being against military actions, hence, this decision does not seem to be driven by the need for popular support. Moreover, political analysists suggest that the “rally around the flag” effect (i.e. the phenomenon in which citizens react to a crisis though strongly supporting and trusting the current president) takes place when there is bipartisan support for the President’s Actions. In this specific case, the Democrats expressed their opposition to the decision taken by Trump. Indeed, the House of Representatives is voting today on a resolution aimed at limiting Trump’s decision to employ military operations.

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