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After the Assassination – The Possibility of An End to The Violence

By Marvin Zonis

Iran’s Muslims observe a forty-day mourning period. On the 40th day after the death, intense mourning rights are held. Then the mourning period is over.

The forty-day mourning rights for General Suleimani will be held on February 12.

Then the Iranians are likely to seek their revenge.

The nature of that revenge will determine the immediate future of U.S.- Iran relations. If the Iranians target physical objects – shipping in the Persian Gulf or Saudi or other Gulf oil installations, for instance – the U.S. response is likely to be muted.

But if the Iranians target American citizens – military or civilians – President Trump is likely to respond with missile strikes against Iranian targets. The result would be a serious escalation of violence and the almost certain guarantee of further violent escalation.

*Since the U.S. can inflict more brutal violence on Iran than Iran can      inflict on the U.S.;

*Since Iran does not wish to enter into a war with the U.S.;

*Since President Trump does not wish to enter into a war with Iran;

*Since a new head of the Quds Force has been appointed – General Suleimani’s deputy – Iran may be able to maintain control of its Shiite militias in Iraq;

*Since a forty-day mourning period in Iran offers time for the most sober reflection --

Therefore. It is entirely possible that the assassination of General Suleimani will not result in any major escalation of violence.