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Ölpreis-Schock

Noch vor Kurzem hat er Donald Trump noch unverhohlen gedroht: Seine Al-Kuds-Brigaden und er selbst „sind dein Gegner, und wir gehen nachts nicht schlafen, ohne an dich zu denken. Wir sind immer in deiner Nähe, an Plätzen, an denen du uns nicht einmal erahnst“, sagte Ghassem Soleimani über den von ihm als „Nachtklubbesitzer“ und „Zocker“ verspotteten US-Präsidenten.

Nun hat der mächtigste Mann der Welt dem mächtigsten Milizenführer der Welt laut Angaben des Pentagons mit einem gezielten Drohnenangriff unweit des Flughafens in Iraks Hauptstadt Bagdad töten lassen. Die Aktion hat ungeahnte Folgen für die Region – und auch den Westen. Ajatollah Ali Chamenei, Irans Religions- und Revolutionsführer, hat bereits „schwere Rache“ für den gezielten Drohnenanschlag auf Soleimani geschworen.

Die Märkte spiegeln diese Sorge vor einem neuerlichen Nahostkrieg bereits wider: Der Ölpreis stieg auf den höchsten Wert seit September. Die Ölsorte Brent verteuerte sich um fast fünf Prozent auf fast 70 US-Dollar, die US-Ölsorte WTI stieg auf über 64 Dollar pro Fass. Es war der größte Tagesgewinn beim Öl seit den Attacken auf saudische Ölinfrastruktur im September vergangenen Jahres.

In der Vergangenheit hatte der Iran immer wieder damit gedroht, die Straße von Hormuz zu schließen. Durch die wichtigste Schifffahrtspassage des globalen Ölhandels wird ein Fünftel der täglichen Ölproduktion verschifft. Die USA und Saudi-Arabien haben den Iran immer wieder für Attacken auf Öltanker in der Region verantwortlich gemacht. Sollten die Iraner mit ihrer Drohung ernst machen, könnte ein bewaffneter Konflikt um die Meerenge ausbrechen.

Ice cream to the death

As news broke that the US struck and killed Qasem Soleimani, President Trump was dining at his Mar-a-Lago club, surrounded by old friends and others like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

As meatloaf and ice cream were served, the Pentagon confirmed that the US was behind the strikes, the only statement from the administration throughout the night.

Putting this airstrike in perspective: The scene Friday was similar to the one after Trump gave the order for American forces to carry out the missile strike on a Syrian airfield in the spring 2017.

After that strike, Trump went into great detail about the chocolate cake he had with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was there for a summit, when he informed him about the series of tomahawk missiles.

"I said, Mr. President, let me explain something to you — this was during dessert,” Trump said at the time. “We’ve just fired 59 missiles, all of which hit, by the way, unbelievable, from, you know, hundreds of miles away, all of which hit, amazing. Brilliant. It’s so incredible. It’s brilliant. It’s genius.”

"He was eating his cake and he was silent," the President added.

Trump later described it as "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen—and President Xi was enjoying it.”

“Greatest mistake"

Iran’s top security body, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), says the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani was the United States’ “greatest strategic mistake."

“America will not find an easy escape from being held to account for this miscalculation,” the SNSC added in a statement reported by Iran semiofficial news agency Fars News.

“These criminals will face the harsh revenge of those who seek it, in the appropriate time and place.”

The SNSC went on to say that it “has adopted the appropriate decisions and hereby announces that the regime of the United States of America will bear responsibility for all the consequences of this criminal adventurism."

The Iran deal and Europe

Anna Walker, director of Europe at the consultancy Control Risk, says the airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani will force the European Union to be "highly reluctant to be drawn into any military confrontation."

"European leaders have reiterated the need for a de-escalation of tensions in the region, and efforts are likely be under way behind the scenes to both craft a coordinated response to what is the first major foreign policy challenge for the new EU leadership and to use diplomatic channels to attempt to reduce the threat of escalation," Walker told CNN via email.

Walker added that Iran has a lot of flexibility about when and where to respond to Soleimani's death. It has previously conducted, directed or planned significant attacks in Europe (such as the 2012 Burgas airport bombing).

"Europe will want to distance itself from the strike partly to avoid blowback in the EU," Walker added.

"In addition, the strike could fatally undermine European efforts to uphold the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, potentially forcing it into more alignment with the US on sanctions if Iran expands nuclear enrichment activities.

Iran’s exit from the deal could trigger the automatic reimplementation of EU and UN sanctions (US sanctions have been reinstated), which may encourage Iran to continue to remain at least partly in the deal, while using other means to respond to US strikes."