SOUTH FLORIDA – Earlier this week, the United States urged nationals in the Caribbean and elsewhere to be cautious as a result of the “heightened tension in the Middle East” as Washington continued to defend its targeted missile strike that killed senior Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week.
However, Caribbean Americans in South Florida did not need to get this cautionary message from the US government to be cautious at what could be a serious conflict with global repercussions from the increase in military tensions between the US and Iran.
Although many Caribbean Americans have admitted to not knowing who Qassam Soleimani was, or of the atrocities he was involved with in targeting Americans and American interest in the Middle East, most expressed to CNW that they believe killing the Iranian general was “bad timing.”
“If this man was such an influential, and beloved leader in Iran. I think much more thought should have been giving by the administration in assassinating him. Killing him was bound to result in drastic action from Iran, in an already tense US-Iran relationship,“ said Bridgette Mosely, international relations post-graduate student at Florida International University.
PRAYING PEACE PREVAIL
On Wednesday morning, following news of Iran’s retaliatory launch of missiles, on US-occupied bases in Iran, Lesline Auguste, Trinidadian-American registered nurse at Baptist Hospital in West Kendall, told CNW she is weary of “war and the threat of war every” since living in the US over the past 18 years. “I arrived in America to the news of war. It was the day US troops were leaving for Iraq, following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York. Since then war has haunted my family. My husband and two brothers and a nephew are in the military and has been assigned at different times in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. Thank God they all came home safe, but I am tired of being haunted by war. I pray that peace will prevail, and this Iran thing doesn’t blow up.”
WEARY OF ECONOMIC IMPACT
Several other Caribbean Americans in the region have expressed concern about the impact an extended military conflict in Iran, and the Middle East in general, could have on their personal pockets, and the American economy.
“There is very likely to be an increase in oil prices if there is prolonged conflict in the Middle East,” said Brian Ridley, an economic planner with the City of Miami. “And whenever there is an increase in oil prices, it follows that gas prices and the price of other oil-related products will increase. These price increases will also influence transportation cost, and the price of most consumer goods. No; a war in the Middle East is not good for neither the US nor the global economy.”
Underscoring Ridley’s comments, on Monday the American Automobile Association (AAA) issued a statement that there were indications that as tension grew in the Middle East gas prices were rising. It indicated gas prices in Florida rose an average of 7 cents in three days since the tensions heightened with the assignation of Soleimani.
Another Caribbean American post-graduate student at FIU, Jason Tapper, said while he doesn’t mourn the assassination of Soleimani as he was the “essence of hatred for America” he is nonetheless weary that the conflict with Iran could escalate into a major war. “The reason for my opinion is that I am not at all convinced in the calibre and experience of the defence and national security team advising President Trump. I am afraid these people maybe not bold enough to give him the best objective advice, or restrain him in making the appropriate military decisions.”