Should the missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops turn out to be the extent of Iran's response, then the operation to kill Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani will turn out to be a major victory for President Trump.
Though the Pentagon has yet to release a full damage assessment, preliminary reports suggest that Iran's action resulted in no U.S. casualties. After days of tough talk and chants of, "Death to America," Iranian officials are now claiming that they have no interest in further escalation if the United States does not retaliate. This could be it.
If this is indeed the case, there is no doubt that the U.S. dealt a far more devastating blow to Iran than it absorbed in return. Soleimani was one of the most important figures in Iran and the architect of its regional strategy to extend the regime's influence from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea. He directed global terrorist attacks, targeted U.S. troops in Iraq, aided Bashar Assad in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of his own people, supported the terrorist group Hezbollah, and fueled the civil war in Yemen by supporting the radical Houthi movement.
Analysts of all ideological stripes argued that Soleimani was irreplaceable to Iran and that his death was a devastating blow to the regime. The major debate concerned whether the benefits of killing Soleimani were worth the risks of triggering an Iranian response that would eventually escalate into a bloody war.