Generational Dynamics: Modern Generational Theory Generational
 Modern Generational Theory


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 4-Jan-2020
4-Jan-20 World View -- Iran faces tough choices after Soleimani assassination

Web Log - January, 2020

4-Jan-20 World View -- Iran faces tough choices after Soleimani assassination

Iran's disastrous miscalculation after 40 years of war

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Iran faces tough choices after Soleimani assassination

Gen. Qassim Soleimani (when he was alive) (AP)
Gen. Qassim Soleimani (when he was alive) (AP)

On Friday, BBC reporter Rebecca Kesby interviewed Ghanbar Naderi, political editor for Tehran-based Kayhan International newspaper. During the course of the interview, the following exchange occurred:

Rebecca Kesby: "You say this is uncharted territory. But surely the Iranian authorities would have been prepared for this. He [Qassim Soleimani] must have known himself that he was a target."

Ghanbar Naderi: "Rebecca, nobody took president Trump seriously. They never thought that when he said he threatened Iran he was going to make good on his threatened promises, but that's exactly what he did. And they were all caught off guard. They never expected General Soleimani to be assassinated in Iraq."

In my previous article, I included a narrative of Iran's actions leading up to Iran's attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. ( "1-Jan-20 World View -- US sends troops to Baghdad to defend embassy from Iranian rioters")

As I explained in that article, this was right out of Iran's playbook, ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution civil war, in which they were propelled to success by the "American Hostage Crisis," taking 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days. Since then, the hardline government in Iran has been trying to duplicate that success although, as I've explained many, many times over the years, what works in a generational Crisis era in 1979 will not work in a generational Awakening era today.

Iran's government is in serious trouble. The economy is crippled, and most young Iranians blame that on the foreign military adventures by the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), headed by General Qassim Soleimani. There have been months of massive anti-Iran riots and demonstrations in both Iraq and Iran, and in Iran, Soleimani has overseen the torture, rape, jailing and slaughter of thousands of peaceful anti-government protesters in Iran. So the takeover of the Baghdad embassy was a desperate attempt to repeat the 1979 success, and unite the country against America.

But the takeover was a flop from the start. Some fires were set and some property was damaged, but it fizzled quickly, and within 24 hours the Iraqi armed forces were guarding the US embassy from the Iran-backed attackers. In my last article, I said that this would be the most likely outcome, during a generational Awakening era.

Iran's disastrous miscalculation after 40 years of war

So Iran's entire US Embassy attack didn't last 444 days, but was a failure and a flop within 24 hours.

But it quickly got a lot worse, because Iran made a disastrous miscalculation. As was revealed by the BBC interview with Ghanbar Naderi quoted above, and by other sources as well, the Iranians never took Trump seriously and never believed he would respond and kill Soleimani.

Iran had good reason to believe that Trump would not respond. For 40 years, Iran has been conducting asymmetic warfare against the US and Israel, using its proxies, like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis, and its allies in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, to attack America and its allies with impunity, while claiming deniability.

Here's a list of some of the most recent attacks in just the last few months:

In each case the Iranians were warned not to repeat these actions, but the warnings were never followed up with actions, and the Iranians came to believe that they could continue such attacks with impunity, and Trump would never respond. As Ghanbar Naderi said, "Nobody took president Trump seriously."

US airstrike kills IRGC leader Soleimani

Gen. Qassim Soleimani, Iran's most important military figure, and head of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed by an American airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport on Tuesday.

The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi military figure, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq.

So the Iranians had every reason to believe that the attack on the US Embassy would be met with words and no action. This turned out to be a major miscalculation.

Not only was Soleimani killed, but in fact the entire operation has failed in that it did nothing to unite people the way the Iranian Hostage Crisis did in 1979. In Iraq, the anti-Iran protesters are celebrating and cheering the killing of Soleimani.

In Iran, the feelings are mixed. Soleimani was a hero of the Iran/Iraq war, which killed 1.5 million people, and Soleimani was responsible for killing many Iraqis. Like any war hero, Soleimani is revered by Iranians who lived through that war. But Soleimani has also been responsible for the torture, rape, jailing and slaughter of thousands of peaceful anti-government protesters over the years, and those victims are cheering his death.

So it's hard to see this as anything but a disaster for the Iranians. It resulted in the death of a top general, and did not achieve its objective.

However, the United States has gained quite a bit, and not just from the death of Soleimani. Donald Trump has proven (again) that he's willing to back up his words with actions, something that's almost unheard of from politicians, and that's a message that will be heard 'round the world, especially in North Korea and China.

Iran plans for retaliation

Pundits and analysts are saying that Iran must now retaliate, and everyone is wondering how they will do that.

They could repeat some of the actions that I listed above -- attacking oil tankers, launching artillery attacks, etc. -- but that would be more of the same, and would not really impress anyone.

The speculation is that Iran will be planning something spectacular -- perhaps blowing up an American embassy or business or something in some other country, or a European target in Europe.

One analyst said that Iran would have to walk a very difficult line in such an action. It would have to be large enough to count as retaliation, but not so large that it would provoke a heavy military response by the United States, perhaps destroying Iran's oil fields.

One other problem for Iran is that various officials in other countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon -- are expressing the hope that Iran will not retaliate on the US in their countries, and any Iran attack on America in one of their countries would violate that country's sovereignty.

Some speculation is that Hezbollah will conduct some terrorist attack against America and Israel. Hezbollah is already poor, because of the anti-Iran sanctions, and crippled from having fought for years in Syria. At any rate, America and Israel claim that they are always ready for a Hezbollah terrorist attack.

Another speculation is an Iranian cyber attack. The US is under constant cyber attacks from numerous countries, so it's hard to see how this would be different.

Threats of war between Iran and America

There will NOT be a war between American and Iran.

This is despite the fact that the media have been filled with screams by hysterical, apoplectic left-wing politicians who claim that we'll be at war by Monday. Any clash would fizzle quickly. Some have said that Trump will be involved in something worse than the Vietnam war and it would last for years. Such is the idiocy of the left. They should spend more time fantasizing about girls, rather than wars.

Almost all reporters and politicians making such claims are so ignorant that they couldn't find Iran on a map, and certainly know nothing about Iran's history.

As I described in my book on Iran, Iran's 1979 civil war was triggered generationally by the 1890 Tobacco Revolt, the 1905-09 Constitutional Revolution, and the 1963 White Revolution in which Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was exiled. During all this time, the UK, Russia and later America were bogeymen that various Iranian politicians blamed for their own failures.

As I described in my book on Iran, Iran suffered major humiliating defeats in nationalistic border wars during the 1800s. As a result, Iran takes pride in saying that it no longer invades anyone, and points to the Iran/Iraq war as a case where it was invaded.

However, under the insanity of the Islamic republic, Iran now serves its nationalistic drives not by invading anyone, but by funding other groups to conduct proxy wars, as previously described.

The problem is that, just as the 1800s border wars failed spectacularly, the new proxy war strategy is also failing spectacularly. Instead of getting soldiers killed in foreign wars, Iran is spending huge amounts of money to pay other groups to get their soldiers killed in proxy wars.

This has caused enormous economic problems in Iran, and a lot of people are furious at wasting money on the foreign proxy wars. But Iran's main problem is that the older generations have a hate-America foreign policy, while the younger generations love the West and America, and the size of the younger generations is growing every day.

Iran's last generational crisis war was the 1979 Islamic Revolution civil war, combined with the 1980s Iran/Iraq war, and now the hardline geezers are paying the price for their democide policies following both those wars. Both Iran and Iraq are close to Awakening era climax events, and looks like the most likely result will be for Iraq to eject Iran, and for Iran to eject the hardline geezers. But this is speculation, and it remains to be seen.

However, one thing is certain: Iran cannot now abandon its centuries-old policy of avoiding foreign wars and sponsoring proxy wars.

Some known unknowns

During the Iraq war, Donald Rumsfeld liked to say that "unknowns" were broken up into two groups -- "known unknowns," where you know that you don't know something, and "unknown unknowns," where you don't have any clue at all.

So it's worth pointing out that there are some known unknowns in the current situation that will reveal themselves in the next few days, and readers may wish to watch for them.

Of course, the biggest unknown is how Iran is going to retaliate. And that will probably remain unknown until it happens.

The future of Iran

Iran's future is dominated by the fact that the old hardline geezer survivors of the 1979 civil war are dying off, and the younger generations are pro-American and pro-Western.

At some point, there will be some kind of "regime change," a generational Awakening climax where the younger generation takes control of the government. However, this "regime change" cannot be rushed by Trump or any outsider. It totally depends on internal generational forces.

As regular readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that there is an approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, pitting the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Part of it will be a major new war between Jews and Arabs, re-fighting the bloody the war of 1948-49 that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The war between Jews and Arabs will be part of a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other.

The exact scenario that will lead to this world war, but it's always possible that the current crisis will turn out to be a step on the way.

John Xenakis is author of: "World View: Iran's Struggle for Supremacy -- Tehran's Obsession to Redraw the Map of the Middle East" (Generational Theory Book Series, Book 1), September 2018, Paperback: 153 pages, over 100 source references, $7.00,


As I'm writing this late on Friday evening ET, there are reports over airstrikes on a convoy in northern Baghdad. The reports are confusing since some reports indicate that it isn't an American operation.


Note: The following articles are useful for facts, but they're all pretty idiotic as far as analysis is considered, since they're almost all predicting a war, which won't happen for the reasons that I've given. Most of the analysis is written by people knowing less than nothing about the history of Iran, and probably couldn't find Iran on a map. In other words, most (though not all) of these articles are written by idiots.

Note: Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Institute, is referenced in the Fox News article below. O'Hanlon is the only analyst that I know of in Washington who knows what he's talking about, and this has been my opinion for over a decade. He's sometimes anti-Trump or pro-Trump, but he always talks sense -- which no one else does, ever.

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Jan-2020) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2020
Web Log Summary - 2019
Web Log Summary - 2018
Web Log Summary - 2017
Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2020
Web Log - November, 2020
Web Log - October, 2020
Web Log - September, 2020
Web Log - August, 2020
Web Log - July, 2020
Web Log - June, 2020
Web Log - May, 2020
Web Log - April, 2020
Web Log - March, 2020
Web Log - February, 2020
Web Log - January, 2020
Web Log - December, 2019
Web Log - November, 2019
Web Log - October, 2019
Web Log - September, 2019
Web Log - August, 2019
Web Log - July, 2019
Web Log - June, 2019
Web Log - May, 2019
Web Log - April, 2019
Web Log - March, 2019
Web Log - February, 2019
Web Log - January, 2019
Web Log - December, 2018
Web Log - November, 2018
Web Log - October, 2018
Web Log - September, 2018
Web Log - August, 2018
Web Log - July, 2018
Web Log - June, 2018
Web Log - May, 2018
Web Log - April, 2018
Web Log - March, 2018
Web Log - February, 2018
Web Log - January, 2018
Web Log - December, 2017
Web Log - November, 2017
Web Log - October, 2017
Web Log - September, 2017
Web Log - August, 2017
Web Log - July, 2017
Web Log - June, 2017
Web Log - May, 2017
Web Log - April, 2017
Web Log - March, 2017
Web Log - February, 2017
Web Log - January, 2017
Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2020 by John J. Xenakis.