2/12/20 Monthly Meeting

The U.S-Iran Showdown: Heading for War?

On Wednesday, February 12, the Hershey Indivisible Team is honored to host local freelance journalist Robert Naeye as he presents: “The U.S.-Iran Showdown: Heading for War?” at the Hershey Public Library at 701 Cocoa Ave. The talk will begin after a short business meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m.

On January 3, a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport. This targeted assassination of a major Iranian government and military official was conducted under direct orders of President Trump, and it triggered an international crisis that has yet to play itself out.

Who was General Soleimani, and why did President Trump consider him so dangerous that he thought Soleimani needed to be killed? Why has the state of American-Iranian relations deteriorated so rapidly that the two nations stand on the cusp of war? And what will Soleimani’s assassination mean for the long-term future of the Middle East, and in particular, America’s role in this volatile region?

General Soleimani’s sudden, violent death did not occur in a vacuum. For decades, U.S.-Iranian relations have been toxic, dominated by negative headlines such as the 444-day hostage drama from 1979 to 1981, the U.S. Navy’s downing of an Iranian passenger airliner in 1988, and the recent breakdown of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. And all of this has played out amidst the backdrop of a combustible Middle Eastern political landscape, the raging Sunni-Shiite conflict, and the long-standing tension between Israel and the Islamic world.

Naeye will explain the long, tortured history of American-Iranian relations. He will disentangle the complex web of relationships that define the modern-day Middle East. He will debunk commonly held myths about Iranian government and society. And he will give some tentative predictions of what lies ahead.

As a member of the Hershey Indivisible Team, Naeye moderated town halls with Congressman Charlie Dent, State Senator John DiSanto, and State Representative Tom Mehaffie. He is a member of the Foreign Policy Association of Harrisburg and a ravenous reader of books and articles about global affairs. He traveled with Iranians in Iran for two weeks in June 2004. He remains in regular contact with two Iranian friends, both of whom now live in the U.S. 

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