Ohio Professor Consulting With Defense Department On Iran

Jan 10, 2020

One Ohio professor has a front-row seat to the U.S. conflict with Iran.

Karl Kaltenthaler, the University of Akron’s director of security studies and an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University, has been consulting with the U.S. Defense Department since 2014. He’s part of a working group of academics and Middle East experts with the 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.

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. He 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.