Since the killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and senior Hashd al-Shaabi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a U.S. strike at Baghdad airport, the power struggle between the United States and Iran in Iraq has transformed into a hot conflict. Washington's latest move has the potential to irreversibly up the ante in the long-standing hostilities between the two nations.
The killing of Qasem Soleimani and his close associates in an American airstrike in Baghdad Thursday night was without question one of the most significant developments in the Middle East over the last several years – significant in terms of the profile of its target as well as the unexpectedness of such an attack.
The year 2019, which set the stage for extraordinary developments, has now ended. Living the fast life must be the distinguishing feature of modern times. Over the last year, the world talked about Brexit, NATO's future, U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment, Israeli expansionism, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, protests in Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, France and Bolivia, trade wars, the S-400 deal, Turkey's local elections, the Syrian civil war, Operation Peace Spring, the assassination of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Aramco attacks, Turkey's new indigenous car, Kanal Istanbul, U.S. sanctions, economic recovery, the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya.
There will be a lot of questions about the state of global politics in 2020. The unpredictability and uncertainty of superpower behavior and instability of the international system generate a lot of question marks about the potential developments set to take shape in the coming year. Here are some of the issues and areas that we will continue to watch during 2020.
The title of my last Daily Sabah column from last year was: “Turkey in 2019: From an Emerging Economy to an Emerging Power.” The article showed how, over the course of just one year, Turkey proved that its economy was robust enough to resist the sustained economic and political attacks inflicted upon it over the last several years and that its military is strong enough to influence global multilateral platforms and sit at the negotiation table as an equal partner with some of the most influential global powers, including the United States and Russia.