On Friday the US announced it had assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani during an airstrike on Baghdad International Airport. While Iran’s relationship with the US has been troubled for some time, Friday’s events marked the beginning of escalating tensions between the two countries.
In the hours following the Pentagon’s announcement of Soleimani’s killing, ‘World War III’ started trending on Twitter. Millions have speculated the assassination of Soleimani could spark a war between the US and Iran. Traffic to the US Selective Service, the agency which would be responsible for any military draft, reportedly spiked so high on Friday that the site crashed.
Also trending over the weekend included the phrase “Wag the Dog”, referring to the 1998 film of the same name. The film centers on a fictional president, who begins a phony war as a distraction technique.
Critics of Mr Trump have leveled he is “wagging the dog”, using the assassination of Soleimani as an attempt to divert attention from his impeachment proceedings.
Is World War 3 really happening?
Presently, there has been no declaration of war between the US and Iran.
Following the US airstrikes in Iraq, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to voice his views on the recent US military action.In one tweet on Saturday, Mr Trump said the US will target a number of sites in Iran if they decide to retaliate against Friday’s events.
He said: “We have…targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. “The USA wants no more threats!”
The President has indicated, in both his actions and his rhetoric, that he would be willing to begin full-scale military operations with Iran.However, the President has been adamant the US took action to “stop a war”, not to start one.
Iranian general Esmail Ghaani, who has taken Soleimani’s place as head of Iran’s Quds Force, has also stated Iran will be taking “actions” against the US as revenge for the death of Soleimani.
Ghaani told Iranian state television on Monday: “God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly, actions will be taken.”