World War Worries


Ameer Al Mohmmedaw/Picture Alliance, via Getty Images

The American Embassy compound in Iraq burns after an Iranian-backed attack.

Alyssa Buchheit, Editor in Chief

On Friday, President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike in Iraq targeting Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top general. Widely considered to be the second most powerful political figure in Iran, U.S. officials say Soleimani was planning “imminent attacks” against American facilities in the Middle East. Millions in both Iran and Iraq are mourning his death, and their governments vow revenge against the United States, creating concerns of whether or not the next world war is on the horizon.

The U.S. airstrike was delivered in response to Iranian-backed attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Dozens of people surrounded an entrance to the compound and proceeded to smash doors, spray paint anti-American graffiti and set fire to parts of the compound.

Needless to say, tensions between the U.S. and Iran are skyrocketing, along with tensions in the rest of the Middle East. On Monday, mourners of the revered Soleimani took to the streets clutching pictures of him and shouting “death to the U.S.A.” while ripping American flags.

Contrary to popular belief, Iran itself did not actually place a $80 million bounty on the head of Trump, but a eulogist at Soleimani’s funeral suggested the idea on live state T.V. However, Iran did threaten “harsh retaliation” and pulled out of part of a nuclear deal commitment, stating that they will no longer restrict uranium enrichment.

President Trump says that the U.S. has picked out and is ready to strike 52 Iranian sites if Iran attacks Americans or U.S. assets. He also threatened to impose sanctions on Iraq when the Iraqi Parliament voted to end the presence of “all foreign troops on Iraqi soil.”

Because of these events, many haven’t been able to scroll down their Twitter feed the last few days without seeing jokes and memes about “WWIII” and being drafted into the army. Realistically, there hasn’t been a draft since it was abolished in 1973 after opposition to fighting in Vietnam, so for drafting to actually occur, Congress would have to pass a law reinstating the draft. This would only be possible if it garnered broad political support, which is hard to do.

However, current U.S. service members are directly impacted by the tensions, as more than 3,000 of them are set to be deployed to the Middle East because of the recent events.

Yesterday, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases which housed U.S. and Iraqui troops. There are no initial reports of any U.S. casualties, but an assessment of the impact is underway. There is a growing belief that Iran may have deliberately missed areas populated by Americans, but they have threatened to attack inside America if the U.S. responds to this specific assault.

Nobody is sure what the next moves by either side of this conflict will be, but we can all pray for peace and the well-being of everyone affected.