Many breathed a sigh of relief this week when it became clear there were no casualties caused by Iranian missile strikes on Iraqi military bases housing US troops. Some applauded Donald Trump’s ‘success’ in carrying out the targeted killing of a key Iranian military leader without experiencing immediate deadly retaliation. Pundit, professor and president of the Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer tweeted it is “impossible not to call this a win” for Trump. In Iran, state media boasted of what it described as the stunning success of the country’s retaliation against America
But the 176 people killed on Ukraine Airlines flight 752 that took off from Tehran on the night of the attacks — shot down by an Iranian missile — are casualties of these reckless escalations. These “wins.” A debate has been raging about who is more responsible. Was it Iran, who accidentally downed the plane, or the US for setting this latest round of escalation off with an assassination? On some level, it doesn’t matter, because Iranian officials and their American counterparts both behave in a way that suggests a lack of any serious concern for the lives of the people who will die as a result of their posturing and machinations. And throughout the Middle East, ruling elites and their foreign backers place zero value on the lives of everyday people as they play their deadly games of Risk.
If you’d like to know why so many people in this region are angry, it’s this. It’s because they live in a world in which seemingly no one in power cares if they live or die — nevermind whether they live with dignity. [Continue reading…]