The Proportionate Response: How Iran’s Retaliation Has Affected Trump And The USA

The Al-Asad airbase in Iraq.

On the night of January 5, when the world slept peacefully, the US airbase Al-Asad was hit by a series of ballistic missiles. According to sources, the strike took place at the same time that the USA assassinated General Qasem Soleimani.

Some time after the missile attack, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei took to Twitter to call it a “slap on the face.” Trump, after he was briefed, took to Twitter to write “all is well.”

Few days after the attack, upon assessment of the situation in and out of the States, we can conclude that certainly all is not well for the USA, especially for Trump.

The Effect And Impact Of The Missile Attack

CNN reporter, Arwa Damon, reported after seeing the base that the missiles were precise and did not miss their mark as it was being suggested and assumed. The missile hit the barracks and sleeping chambers of the soldiers.

Although, no US-based media house or channel, has said that there were any casualty but Al-Jazeera and some other international news agencies did report about the casualties. Some of these reports were, although, later deleted. The Iraqi state news agencies and the Iranian state news agencies said that  80-120 casualties have taken place.

The report from CNN said that the base was hit at 01:34 AM, which signals that the troops were either in the bunkers (which is less probable considering the time of attack and uncertainty over which base would have been attacked), in the sleeping chamber, which were directly hit, or on guard outside the bunkers and the chambers, which certainly means casualties as the base was hit, not by one but more than a dozen missiles.

It has also raised questions over the iron dome defense technology which the US has not only boasted about but also sold to various countries. Considering that the Al-Asad was the biggest and most heavily guarded base in Iraq, this lack or failure of defense technology is worrisome beyond measure for USA and its allies.

The effect of the missile attack
The destruction on the airbase as visible from satellite images.

Inside USA, the situation is as unwell as it is ‘well’ in the tweet. Defense officials, ex-senate members and current parliamentarians have all been accusing Trump of two things.

First, Trump is being heavily condemned on the assassination of General Qasim Sulaimani, which is not only an international war crime as it violates the sovereignty of Iraq, but also an act opposed to Trump’s own policy of non-intervention and pull-out of Middle East. It was lately that Iraqi Parliament had passed a bill asking the American forces to withdraw from Iraq which the USA has paid no heed.

Now, after the missile attack the same suggestion comes in form of a warning from Iran, which says that it will attack Israel and other American bases in the Middle East in case the American forces don’t withdraw.

Pelosi introduces War Powers Resolution to limit Trump’s military powers.

The second charge that heavily lies on the US President is of being an inefficient planner and of having a diabolical attitude towards the US military. His morning address also, seemed to highlight the same aspects when he said that it was a happy moment for the USA that there were no casualties, while he didn’t mention the failure of the defence system or what was the decision that he was going to take with regard to the American presence in Iraq.

He went on to boast about the military equipment and how he would be merciful to Iran and not use them for war. He is still being accused of high class hypocrisy for his statement that he wishes for a “great future for Iran” because minutes later he declared that he is imposing new sanctions on Iran. If everything is well and if he really wishes peace and prosperity for Iran, then his move certainly worries the world, and moreover infuriates Iran.

What Now?

The European Union and its decision to salvage the Nuclear Deal, marks the third failure of the United States.

Richard Johnson, senior director, Nuclear Threat Initiative, said, while speaking to CNN, that the new sanctions which the Trump administration is looking forward to apply on Iran are most likely to fail due to multiple reasons, biggest being the lack of international support from European Union and the United Nations.

The belief of Trump that it was the sanctions that brought Iran to the table are misleading. The Obama administration first began an international discussion with countries and also gave a huge sum to Iran for domestic developmental projects. The allegations by US President regarding the sum being 150 Billion is as false as his claim of this sum being spent by Iran on warfare in Middle East.

The sum was much more smaller and it was spent purely on domestic infrastructural developmental projects as the expenditure of the sum was closely monitored by the US agencies. The cacodaemoniacal move of assassination and the ballistic response from Iran has shook the world and has aided in clearing away the cloud of confusion from the head of European Union.

Qassem Soleimani: At least 35 mourners killed in stampede at burial ceremony for Iranian general ...
General Qasim Sulaimani’s funeral saw a huge turnout on streets in Iran.

The call to Zarif, is another news that might cause sleeplessness to Trump. The Iranian patience has, it seems, paid off. With the beginning of betterment of economic conditions, the public which has developed a sense of dissatisfaction, will regain its trust in the government in Iran which again will weaken the agenda of Trump to being about a change of power in Iran.

The Ukrainian flight accident, that the US based media houses are trying to tap on, has certainly failed to put Iran under a darker shadow than the USA. Iran has admitted the mistake and is willing to recompense for the loss to Iranians as well as to the families of passengers of other countries that were aboard.

The call to experts from Boeing was almost immediately sent and the black boxes were sent for inspection. The comments from the President, Military General and the Foreign Minister have all been about acceptance and repentance which is earning them respect at its best and forgiveness at its least.

Considering the full picture in wide angle, the situation seems to favour Iran and certainly has made things difficult for the Trump administration to handle. General Qasem Soleimani has turned from a living nightmare to an invisible spectre for Trump that will haunt him for long long time.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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