Donald Trump thought that liquidating Iranian General Qasem Soleimani would solve a lot of America's problems.
It has actually backfired; putting America on shakier ground in the Middle-East as the latest Iraqi parliament resolution to expel US troops from its soil proves.
Earlier, another American president, George W Bush Jr, had thought getting rid of Saddam Hussein – on the false pretext that he had weapons of mass destruction – would solve America's problems (or rather, Israel's and Saudi Arabia's).
The calculation has gone woefully wrong. Iraq is now more pro-Iranian than ever before, with Shiites in the ruling majority. This means that Iraq is today more anti-Saudi and anti–Israel.
The Iraqi parliament's immediate and unanimous, decision to expel American troops after Soleimani's killing signals this. Earlier, the Iraqi prime minister, himself, called on the parliament to make a decision on ousting foreign troops.
Is this not what Iran had wanted for years since the Iraq invasion – to push US troops out of its abutting neighbor?
That Soleimani was in Iraq dealing with pro-Iranian militias, and that he was at the international airport when US drone attacks killed him, also shows how much ground Iran has gained in Iraq's politics. It is said that the slain Iranian general had been pivotal in running Iraq's government.
The Iraqi foreign ministry's statement following the killing of Soleimani was interesting and almost comical.
"The airstrikes were a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty," the Iraqi foreign ministry said.
Interesting because it was a partial condemnation of Soleimani's killing. Comical because those who are now running Iraq did not flinch when American planes bombed Baghdad in waves of sorties when the US invaded Iraq.
Such facts are quite unpalatable for the US-Saudi-Israel axis which, for a long time, have been worried about a strong Iran or an Iran-leaning Iraq for that matter. Remember, Israel flew its planes low, to Iraq, to bomb what it called Saddam Hussein's nuclear facilities. And, remember Saudi Arabia allowed Israeli planes to use its airspace to make that daring sortie. And forget not that the Saudis banned Iranians from the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
This all shows how convoluted the history of the Middle East is.
In addition to the Soleimani lash is Iran's decision to enrich uranium without restriction. In their bid to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions, the five UN permanent member countries, plus Germany, had coaxed Iran to sign a pact under which it would not enrich uranium to weapons-grade quantity. Note that Israel was part of no such deals and is estimated to have anywhere between 80 to 400 nuclear bombs.
Iran, in return for the deal, got some breathing space from the crippling economic embargo thrust upon it – with the lifting of sanctions.
However, now Iran is liberating itself to do whatever it wants, and the threat will unlikely be accepted by Israel with a smile.
All these flames, stoked with American adventurism in the region, will be felt from far away; the smoke that will billow out of it may engulf many other countries, even across continents.
As was the case with the Iraq invasion, killing Soleimani entails a moral hazard because Trump's defence – that Soleimani was planning to attack US interests – has razor-thin evidence.
And so, the spectre of militancy returning centre-stage is very possible now, and some of its shadows are cast over Kenya, too, where Islamist outfit al-Shabab has attacked a US military base.
Now, against all this analysis, how does the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's pronouncement – that the world is a "safer place" after Soleimani's death – sound?
His assumption will, at best, be reviled on the street.