Local Professor Consulting With Defense Department On Iran

A protester waves the national flag while demonstrators set fire to close streets near Tahrir Square during a demonstration against the Iranian missile strike in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Iran struck back at the United States early Wednesday for killing a top Revolutionary Guard commander, firing a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house American troops in a major escalation between the two longtime foes. [Khalid Mohammed / AP]
A protester waves the national flag while demonstrators set fire to close streets near Tahrir Square during a demonstration against the Iranian missile strike in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Iran struck back at the United States early Wednesday for killing a top Revolutionary Guard commander, firing a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house American troops in a major escalation between the two longtime foes. [Khalid Mohammed / AP]

One local professor has a seat that’s even close than the front row for the continuing conflict with Iran.

Karl Kaltenthaler, the University of Akron’s director of security studies and adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University, has been consulting with the U.S. Defense Department since 2014 as part of a working group of academics and Middle East experts with the defense department, specifically the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Central Command, on Iran, Iraq and more.

Despite concern over the fluidity of the conflict and Americans in the Middle East, Klatenthaler said he was happy the Iranian response to the U.S. killing Gen. Qassam Solemaini was a telegraphed rocket attack on U.S. bases in Iraq.

"What Iran chose to do was basically go through a gesture of retaliation with the United States, gave forewarning through third party channels that they were even going to attack these bases so the Americans knew essentially this attack was coming," Kaltenthaler said.

Karl Kaltenthaler / University of Akron

A common misconception among Americans is that Middle Eastern countries act rashly or don't consider their options before an attack, Klatenthaler said.

"A lot of that violence comes out of a position of weakness, that these are not governments or people who feel like they have much strength to protect their interests or to further their interests," Kaltenthaler said, adding that doesn't excuse the use of violence.

Iranians overall are more supportive of the United States than many U.S. allies, such as Egypt, and the "Death to America" chants are merely propaganda, Klatethaler said, and pointed out Iranians are fed up with their own leadership.

"It's not brought better living conditions," Kaltenthaler said. "It's brought a lot of misery. They look at a lot of corruption in the regime. So, you know, those chants, Americans have to look at that and say 'Okay, that's orchestrated’.”

Kaltenthaler added Solemaini’s death has prompted a huge effort by Iranians to get American forces out of Iraq and that could still be an unintended consequence of the airstrike.

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