All-out US-Iran war not unlikely: Beg

Says Tehran has the capability to avenge Gen Soleimani’s killing

LAHORE - The future situation in the region depends on Iran’s response to the US attack that led to the death of Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, Pakistan’s former army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg said on Saturday.

Talking to The Nation, General Beg said Iran has the same missiles the US had used in the attack and also has its guards in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan, a factor that adds to its capability. He said using this technology Iran had once downed a US drone.

However, in his assessment, an all-out war would not be possible for Iran to fight because of the pressure on its economy on account of crippling US sanctions in force for long.

He was of the view that Iran would certainly avenge the killing of Gen Qassemi, for which it has the capability.

The Iranian ambassador to the United
Nations has been quoted as saying that the killing of one of his country’s top generals is an act of war. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said: “In fact (it) was an act of war on the part of the United States and against Iranian people.”

“Last night they (the US) started a military war by assassinating by an act of terror against one of our top generals. So what else can be expected of Iran to do? We cannot just remain silent. We have to act and we will act,” he said.

“We can’t just close our eyes to what happened last night. Definitely there will be revenge, a harsh revenge.”

“The response to a military action is a military action. By whom, by when, where? that is for the future to witness,” he said in the interview.

The remarks follow President Trump’s allegation that Soleimani was planning “a very major attack” and that he had been preparing multiple “attacks against Americans.”

Gen Aslam Beg said Gen Qassemi Soleimani was Iran’s most important leader after Khamenei and restraint advice on his killing was rather unthinkable. He said those offering such advice should place themselves in Iran’s shoes.

The former COAS said that at present Pakistan was not in a position to support Iran. A country that abstained from the recent Kuala Lumpur Summit because of some foreign pressures could not be expected to stand by Iran after the US missile attack.

In a related development, Jamaat-e-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq said Muslim countries should demonstrate unity to counter the US designs to impose war on them and create instability.

In a statement issued from Mansoora, he said American President Donald Trump was bent upon imposing war on Muslim world without realising the gravity of the situation.

The US war against a Muslim state, warned Siraj, would not remain confined to a specific country or region but it would engulf the entire world, resulting in death of millions of people, starvation, destruction and catastrophe.