Martyr Haj Qasem Soleimani and Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were martyred struggling on the path of truth and justice. This matter has been manifested over the past years and in the fight against terrorism, including ISIS and the like, whether in Iraq, Syria, Iran or other countries. Another manifestation of this true, just matter is the confrontation with American domination, which is related to their use of these terrorist groups....
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): On January 3, 2020, General Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were assassinated in Iraq in a terrorist attack ordered by the then US President. In this interview, Dr. Talal Atrisi, a professor of Social Sciences at the University of Lebanon, discusses the dimensions and scope of the role and the duty of nations in relation to this crime.
Question: After the assassination of personages such as Martyr Haj Qasem Soleimani and Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, what responsibility do nations have?
Dr. Talal Atrisi: Martyr Haj Qasem Soleimani and Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were martyred struggling on the path of truth and justice. This matter has been manifested over the past years and in the fight against terrorism, including ISIS and the like, whether in Iraq, Syria, Iran or other countries. Another manifestation of this true, just matter is the confrontation with American domination, which is related to their use of these terrorist groups.
The issue for which Haj Qasem and Haj Abu Mahdi were martyred was the issue of the liberation of the nations and countries of the region from American domination, as well as their liberation from the evil of Takfiri terrorist groups. The path taken by Haj Qasem and Haj Abu Mahdi is supported by most of the nations in the region even though the Western and Arab media try to portray this fact in a different light. That is why we witnessed and observed millions of people in Iraq and Iran attended the funerals of these two martyrs and their fellow martyrs to express their support and approval of these two martyrs and the sacrifices and services they had made on this path.
Therefore, there is a great spiritual, practical, political and moral responsibility to continue on this path, and we must not allow this to stop - neither in the middle nor at the end. The purpose of the nations of the region and the groups supporting the project of Resistance adhering to this path and committing themselves to not allowing this project [i.e. the project of Resistance] to stop is to strike down the source of terrorism as well as the Takfiri terrorist groups. These are the very groups which are actually the instruments of the United States. Another purpose of this commitment and obligation is to also target US military bases in the region in various political, media and operational areas. The encouragement to fight against the US’s [military] presence in the region and to counteract them should continue so that the United States does not feel comfortable continuing its [military] presence in our countries.
Question: In your opinion, is a retaliatory response to the assassination of Martyrs Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in order to achieve justice an emotional duty or a rational duty, or should both aspects of the issue be the goal?
Dr. Talal Atrisi: The methods of fighting terrorism and countering American hegemony and domination may vary from country to country or from group to group. Some may take direct action against US forces, and others respond through cultural actions and the weakening of US allies in the region. In the meantime, some may succeed in targeting terrorism and undermining the American instruments that are used to spread hegemony and sow discord in our lands. The responsibility of the nations in the region toward Martyr Soleimani and Martyr Abu Mahdi, who played a significant role in changing the equations and creating a balance in the region, is very great and significant. When we say that America’s power and its sphere of influence in the region or even in the world has been weakened and that even Western analysts acknowledge this, we should know that this weakening of power did not happen just by chance. Furthermore, it was not because of America’s weakness. Rather, it was because of the resistance to it and its hegemonic projects in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria. Surely Martyr Haj Qasem Soleimani and Martyr Haj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis played the main roles on this path. Therefore, the nations of the region have a great political, cultural, spiritual and practical responsibility to continue this path. Fortunately it seems that progress on this path is being made. Particularly since the US government has been weakened and forced to leave Afghanistan in a humiliating manner, the nations of the region are waiting for this process of the US being humiliated to be completed by them being ousted from Syria and Iraq.
General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi were martyred in a treacherous manner as this martyrdom did not take place on the battlefield. If they had been martyred on the battlefield, the situation might have been a little different. But their assassination in this conspiratorial, treacherous manner increased the empathy between free nations and made the world abhor US policies and the bloodthirstiness of its criminal president Donald Trump. All these cases and methods of assassination have caused people to want revenge, and so they are now waiting for a reponse to the United States that would help them to feel relieved. These are the very same people who hate the United States and its policies and at the same time are fond of these two martyrs and the path they paved.
Iran responded to the assassination by firing rockets at Ain al-Asad Airbase, which assuaged those seeking revenge to a certain extent. But the problem is that any [retaliatory] response, even if it is Trump’s head, can not equal the value of personages such as Martyrs Soleimani and Abu Mahdi. One of the best answers to their treacherous operation is to thwart US projects and to expel them from the region. This is of course related to our astuteness and political strategy. However, the general public may prefer this to be done in another way and [even] consider the elimination of important American figures to be the best answer. But we should explain the importance of a strategic [retaliatory] response and the failure of their conspiratory projects against the region. It should be said that the answer we are seeking is the ousting of the United States from the region. This was one part of the goals of Martyr Soleimani and Martyr Abu Mahdi.
Responding to assassination operations is our duty in any situation, whether considering this based on the logic of justice which says that you should respond to whomever has wronged you in the same way as they have done, or based on the rational logic which says that you should retaliate in response to those who transgress against you, or based on political, strategic, spiritual and psychological matters that emphasize you must respond to the enemy so that he does not feel you are in a position of weakness and repeat his crimes. Therefore, responding to the assassination of Resistance commanders is necessary, logical and in accordance with the public demand. As we mentioned, Iran responded to this crime by raining rockets on Ain al-Asad Airbase. This showed that Iran will not stay silent [in this regard] and has the power to respond. But the response to this operation has many facets, and the nations of the region want a strong revenge that will shake the United States and its president. This response needs to restore the confidence of the people, not only in the Arab and Islamic countries, but throughout the world - all those who are tired of American domination, economic blockades and coercion and want the United States to receive a strong slap in the face.
Today, the United States receives many soft slaps, but people want it to be treated the way it treats others. So the issue of retaliation is not just something emotional. The emotional aspect is important and is a response to people's feelings. But retaliation is also strategically important and adds to the power to deter. That is, our response must be such as to prevent the United States and the Zionist regime from even thinking of a new aggression or a new crime.
Question: In your opinion, what are the security and cultural consequences of not responding to such crimes for the nations in the region?
Dr. Talal Atrisi: Yes, not responding [to such crimes] has two important consequences. One dimension concerns security, deterrence and strategy, and the other concerns culture. Considering the dimension of security, if there is no response, the United States or any other party such as the Zionist regime may continue their aggression and feel that the other side is weak and unable to do anything. This would mean a change in the equation of deterrence and increase the probability of the aggressor continuing aggressions and crimes in the future. The cultural dimension is also related to the dimensions of security and deterrence such that not responding to the aggressor may create a sense of frustration, desolation and disappointment among the nation that has been attacked and assaulted. Not responding means that there is an aggressor whom no one can answer, and no one has the power to take revenge against them to teach them a hard lesson. There is a similar culture and feeling of despair in some Arab countries since the Zionist regime invaded and occupied the territory of the Arab countries, and there was no one to stand up to them. This became a culture in the eyes of Arab politicians and political circles that we do not have the power to confront and fight Israel. At the same time, the military doctrine of the Zionist regime took advantage of this way of thinking of the Arab politicians. They said that they would launch a blitzkrieg and stagger the other side so that it would not have the ability to even think of retaliation. Therefore, not responding to such crimes will lead to feelings of despair and frustration among the nations that support the Resistance. The missile strike on Ain al-Assad Airbase in response to the American crime was a surprise to many, because no one thought Iran would respond to the US crime at this level and attack its military base. So the attack on Ain al-Assad, in addition to the dimensions of security and deterrence, also had a cultural dimension. It highlighted this culture that whooever assaults Iran will definitely be answered. Today, even Israel and the other enemies of Iran in the region are sure that Iran will respond.
Question: Do you think answering this crime of the United States and taking revenge for the assassinations of Martyrs Soleimani and Abu Mahdi are only the duty of the nations of the region, or can this [retaliatory] answer be given by other nations from around the world?
Dr. Talal Atrisi: In my opinion, the answer to this American crime lies primarily with the nations of the region. Nevertheless, there is hostility and opposition to the United States all over the world, including Latin America, Russia, China, many African countries, etc. This is a common ground due to the United States’ policies of aggression, looting, sanctioning, arrogance and creating sedition. But in the region, we are dealing with direct military confrontations. This situation does not exist in other regions and countries of the world. For example, China and Russia deal with this through the economy, media and the Security Council. However, we deal directly with US sanctions, aggression, occupation, crimes and its terrorist instruments in the region. Therefore, it is expected that the response to the United States should come from the nations and governments in the region. As we can see in Iraq, Resistance groups are pushing for the expulsion of American forces. Efforts are being made in Syria to expel the occupiers, and it is predicted that American forces will soon be forced out of there.
The other nations of the world support the nations of our region in their confrontation with the United States. Those nations may not be able to confront the United States militarily, but they can support our nations through the media. We are unswervingly fighting the United States in the region. This is part of the project for the liberation, independence and strengthening of our national sovereignty, for which Martyrs Soleimani and al-Muhandis were martyred. Consequently, expelling the occupiers and stopping their domination in the region are the duties of all of us. Victory on this path is certain no matter how long it takes, and it will affect other countries in the world. Our nations have played a significant role in reducing the level of American influence and power due to our countries direct involvement in countering it. Other nations in the world have also benefited from this reduction in America’s power. The world today is moving toward multipolarity, and the era of American unilateralism is over.