Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali KhameneiReuters

Five days after the US military assassinated Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Iran, a clearer picture of how Iran could revenge Soleimani’s death and that of Kata’ib Hezbollah commandant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis emerges

Both sides are currently involved in a war of words and psychological warfare but it’s for sure it will not end there this time.

After Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei bragged that Trump “couldn’t do a damned thing” and later vowed a “harsh, proportional, and direct response” to the American drone attack that killed Iran’s second most powerful leader, Trump has set aside his initial restraint.

On Saturday night, POTUS fired off a couple of tweets warning the Iranians against any attempt to target US forces or citizens.

After explaining why it had become necessary to eliminate Soleimani Trump wrote this:

“Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”

The warning came after IRGC commanders announced Iran had selected more than twenty American targets for a revenge attack against the US and amidst fresh deployments of US forces in some of the Gulf countries.

On Sunday, the US President repeated his warning that any Iranian attack on “any US person and target” will lead to a quick, full and disproportionate response by the US army after the Iranians announced they had asked for contributions to put a $80 million bounty on Trump’s head and threatened to attack the White House.

Khamenei’s military adviser Maj. Gen. Hossein Dehgha, the former Iranian Defense Minister, later made remarks indicating the Iranian response to Solemeini’s killing would be directed at military sites and would not involve the use of Iran’s proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.

“It might be argued that there could be proxy operations. We can say America, Mr. Trump, has taken action directly against us -- so we take direct action against America," Dehgha said in an interview with CNN.

"Our reaction will be wise, well-considered and in time, with decisive deterrent effect," the Iranian official added.

Dahgha’s remarks came after he engaged in a war of words with Trump on Twitter.

"If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!" Trump tweeted while later adding that the Iranians would be hit harder than ever before if they dared to launch revenge attacks.

Dahgha also made clear that a diplomatic solution to the current stand-off had been ruled out by Iran “there is no point for negotiations or relations. It's impossible," the adviser of Khamenei said.

English media later confirmed Khamenei had ordered direct Iranian attacks against US interests and cited IRGC Commander Hossein Salami who said Iran has lined up 13 ‘revenge scenarios’ against the US and its allies who Salami said would be “set ablaze”.

On Monday, Khamenei did something he rarely does. The Iranian leader reportedly attended a meeting of the Iranian National Security Council where he demanded Iran’s forces, not proxies, would directly carry out “any retaliatory action against the US.”

If true, this would be a major shift in Iran’s strategy against its enemies which was solely based on proxy wars.

Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s successor as commander of the Quds Force, later revealed how he views the current stand-off with the US when he said he would continue in his former boss’ path and would work to “remove all US presence from the region” and “to bring about the rule of the Hidden Imam (so-called Mahdi-YV).”

“A promise of revenge . . . The promise to avenge his death was given by God. The main avenger is God. Obviously, some actions will be taken,” Salami added.

By making these comments the new Quds Force commander indicated he belongs to the IRGC’s so-called ‘Twelvers’.

Twelvers’ are Shiites who believe in an ‘end of days’ vision that envisions the return of the so-called Hidden Imam al-Mahdi who will rule the world after the final war against Al-Masih ad-Dajjal.

Al-Masih ad-Dajjal is an evil figure, a false messiah, a liar, a deceiver who’s trying to derail the coming of the Mahdi and is comparable to the Christian anti-Christ or to Judaism's figure of ‘'Armilus haRasha.”

Iraq plays a central role in the Twelvers doctrine because it will be Baghdad where al-Mahdi will reside and that will become the capital of the world-wide Twelver Caliphate.

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was President of Iran his regime produced a video(2011) which accurately predicted events in the Middle East that would occur prior to the coming of al-Mahdi.

Saudi-Arabia and Yemen, for example, would become the scene of war and chaos the documentary learned.

The destruction of Israel is another event that will occur prior to the coming of the Shiite messiah, according to the documentary.

“The annihilation of the Zionist regime and the conquering of ‘Beitol Moghadas’ (Jerusalem) is one of the most important events in the age of the Coming,” the voiceover in the movie says.

From here it is easy to understand why Iran is now pushing for the removal of all US troops from Iraq and is threatening to bomb Israeli cities while at the same time heating up the clash between the Iran-led coalition of proxies and pro-Iranian regimes and the US Israeli-led anti-Iran coalition.

The Shiite majority in Iraq’s parliament voted on Monday 170 to zero on a motion that called upon the Iraqi government to expel all US troops from the country.

The vote wasn’t attended by non-Shiite lawmakers, another indication Iraqis are split on the issue of the American presence and the Iranian entrenchment in their country.

The US reacted to the news about the vote in a confusing way with the army saying they would move forces out of Iraq and the Trump Administration denying this.

There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said adding “there’s no decision to leave, nor did we issue any plans to leave or prepare to leave.”

Leaving Iraq now would probably have the same effect (or worse) than the pull-out former President Barack Obama ordered in 2011. It would mean that the US gives green light to Iran’s plan to create a mighty Shiite Crescent and would invite more Iranian aggression to the Middle East.

Iran’s actions in the region over the past few months have learned us that retreat and passivity on the side of the anti-Iran coalition is used by the Mullah’s to push further forward with the project Soleimani designed: the creation of a new Persian Empire.