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Usually a few days before the New Year I always wonder what the new year will bring for me personally and for us as a family and then for Canada and the world. It seems that if our domestic life continues apace and no great event changes our lives beyond what is to be normally expected, the situation in the world is a vastly different matter.

I have come to expect some kind of disaster, natural, man made or other. In 1990 while in the Middle East, I and my colleagues knew was imminent with Iraq for invading Kuwait and the oil fields. So that Christmas in Cairo, my boss at the time told me to take my little puppy Bundnie with me to Canada because I might not be able to return and it was best not to leave her behind. I did return in the New Year but Bundnie was safe at home in Canada. The first Gulf war was short really, the Iraqi army was not professional and ill equipped for any war against a Western army. Other years brought other terrible events. So why would 2020 be any different.

The Middle East has been since 1914 a huge trouble spot and a play ground for the great powers, Britain, France, USA, Russia and now China. The people of the region do not count for much in the final analysis. Much racism and bigotry at play. Trump’s decision is one of a man who has NO understanding of the world and history or international commitments for that matter. His mistake has given Iran a victory today.

The Iraqi Parliament today has voted to oust all USA troops from Iraq. The domino effect is that the NATO mission to train Iraqi soldiers is at an end, they too will have to leave. Iran becomes de facto the only power to control the militias and political life in Iraq.

All NATO operations against ISIS are also at an end. ISIS will probably make the calculation of now attacking only Western forces, siding with Iran because it is convenient for them. Russia is also winning with the USA out of the way. Iran is also re-starting its enrichment of Uranium program.

The assassination of Qassim Suleimani was a terrible mistake and it is difficult to understand how the State Dept, The National Security Council, experts and advisors could not point out the obvious to Pres. Trump. Suleimani was similar to Iran killing the US Secretary of State or the Chief of the Defense Staff. It reminds me of a story involving the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo. Prior to the battle as was custom at the time generals would go up and down the line to harangue soldiers prior to the battle.

Wellington did it and so did Napoleon on his white horse. An Officer pointed out to the Duke that it would be very easy to simply shoot Napoleon prior to the battle and that would be the end of that, Wellington said NO, we do not do that, it would be beyond the pale and contrary to the rules of engagement. If Napoleon dies during the battle fine but not prior to hostilities.

The killing of Suleimani is contrary to International Law, since there was no declared war between Iran and the USA. Despite the media depicting him as a terrorist etc. still no previous president or anyone else suggested killing him out right. Now we see the result, Iran is now at war with the USA. The Americans are loosing ground and outside of the UK it is very unlikely that any other ally including Canada will want to get involved in an un-winnable war.

Iran is not Libya or Syria or Iraq, it is a power in the region and has the capacity to wage a war, its soldiers are committed to a cause they believe in, can’t say the same for a Western soldier who may not see the point of fighting a war far from home for what goal exactly and for a President who has been impeached. Vietnam was lost because the Vietcong believe in what they were fighting for, not so on the American side.

Iran is a country in Western Asia. With 82 million inhabitants, Iran is the world’s 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km², making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. An ancient culture, a highly educated population. What we see today is a failure of US diplomacy, since 1979 unable to resolve issues because the US administration has always treated Iran as an inferior. Then again Cuba comes to mind, another long standing failure of US diplomacy since 1959.

Now Pres. Trump wants to target specifically Iranian Cultural sites which are in most cases important to all humanity and some are protected under UNESCO. It seems that Trump wants to be declared a war criminal, what a distinction for a US President.

We live a very difficult moment in the world and none of this will make America great as Trump wishes, what a way to start the new year.