The pace of recent events in Iran and Iraq has been perplexing to both regional and international political actors. Both countries have been suffering waves of protests for months. The increased levels of violence from security forces (and alleged paramilitary groups in Iraq) and immense civilian casualties during the protests have aggravated the discontent towards the Baghdad and Tehran administrations. After facing an ever-increasing amount of pressure, the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had no choice but to resign. Not to mention the US airstrikes which targeted Iranian-backed Ketaib Hezbollah’s positions in Iraq and Syria, which were in response to an attack which killed a civilian US contractor and wounded American military personnel.

On top of these astounding incidents, the world was shocked by the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, the external wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis who was the deputy leader of Iraqi paramilitary group Popular Mobilization Units  (Al Hashd al-Shaabi)  in the early hours of January 3rd at Baghdad International Airport.

In the aftermath of the shocking assassinations, Iran vowed vengeance and in retaliation for Qasem Soleimani’s killing, it targeted US bases in Baghdad and Erbil with ballistic missiles. Iranian officials then released a controversial statement after the strikes, but the US reaction to the strikes has so far been limited. Nevertheless, it appears that the high level of tension between the US and Iran, which has been worrying actors of international politics, will continue in the upcoming months.

In order to better understand the implications of Qasem Soleimani’s assassination for regional politics, we have prepared this dossier. In the dossier, five distinguished experts from different nationalities offer their insights on the current situation, each focusing on a different angle of the perplexing killing.

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Sinan Hatahet Kamaran M. Palani Tamer Badawi Hassan Ahmadian Hakkı Uygur