No American paid a price for President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iran’s Qassem Soleimani. But it looks like 176 other people did, including 63 Canadian citizens and many more Iranian nationals en route to Canada.
As of mid-day today, a horrible new chapter of the story has been posted for all to see. Iran retaliated for the killing by firing a barrage of weapons at bases inside Iraq. That barrage did little harm. The Iranians may not have known that when, two hours later, they perceived a large moving object in their skies. It seems they fired anti-aircraft missiles and brought down a civilian airliner, killing all aboard.
Now the harrowing stories of the lost—students returning to university in Canada, newlyweds, children—are filling Canadian media, and will soon claim the attention of the world.
These stories point an accusatory finger, first, at the Iranian government. Iranian military authorities apparently fired at a plane cleared to fly in their airspace that had lifted off only minutes before from the Tehran airport. It was the Iranian authorities, too, who set in motion the cycle of attack and response that culminated with the destruction of a civilian airliner. On December 27, Iranian proxies fired rockets at a U.S. base in Kirkuk, Iraq, killing a U.S. contractor and injuring four American service members and two Iraqi security personnel.* The United States struck back on December 29 with an air raid against Iranian-sponsored militias in Syria and Iraq, killing an estimated 25 people and injuring many more. Iranian-backed forces mobbed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on December 31—and it was this that prompted the killing of Soleimani and all that followed.