The United States should expect a massive retaliation from Iran’s proxy allies in “different guises” after the death of Qasem Soleimani, a former U.S. ambassador, said in an interview.
Soleimani is a high-ranking Iranian general who has been killed after a strike in Baghdad last week from the United States after the authorization of President Donal Trump. He is one of the most important military officers in Iran as he led the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, the Iran’s special-operations forces abroad.
He is also a revered figure in the proxy forces of Iran across the region, including in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. His death prompted Tehran to vow for retaliation immediately.
“It’s not only Iran, but it’s also not only Quds Force,” Gerald Feierstein, who served as U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2010 to 2013, told CNBC.
“They have allies, Hezbollah … and other organizations (such as) Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen and possibilities outside,” he said. “I don’t think we should only look for Iranian responses in the Middle East.”
Feierstein predicts that a regional retaliation will come in different forms and different places.
“The Iranian response, which I think will almost certainly come, could come in many different guises, many different places at any time,” said Feierstein, who is currently a senior vice president at the Middle East Institute. “This is going to keep the world on edge, I think, for quite a long period while the Iranians think through their strategy.”
Meanwhile, Wall Street shrugged off rising tensions in the Middle East on Monday, even as oil prices rose and stocks outside the United States sank.