Editor's note: Michael Ware is a former Time magazine and CNN correspondent who was based in Baghdad from 2003 to 2009. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.
President Donald Trump says he ordered the killing of Iranian top general Qasem Soleimani "to stop a war." But that's simply not true.
Rather than stop a war, Trump just called Tehran's bluff and wagered all in with the single most daring American act in a conflict that's been raging for years.
Decades-long war: The war between the United States of America and Iran dates all the way back to 1953, when the US staged a coup d'etat in Iran to take down a popular, secular and nationalist prime minister.
This coup then led to the 1979 revolution that placed an ayatollah on the throne and the rule of the mullahs still in power today -- the very same mullahs that Soleimani served.
When the Iranians revolted, they overran the US Embassy in Tehran, taking dozens of American diplomats and Marines hostage, as seen in the 2012 movie "Argo."
That is when this war began. Not with this week's drone strike.
Soleimani's significance: Soleimani did more to shape then re-shape the region than any king, prince, sultan, president, or prime minister.
For more than 20 years, he commanded the Quds Force -- arguably, the most elite special forces outfit in the region, if not the world. They are spies, soldiers and technical experts. In Western terms, they are a hybrid of Green Berets, SAS commandos and Delta Force operators all fused into one.
Washington understood his value -- that is why Trump ordered the drone strike.
Will his assassination alter Iran's strategic ambitions? No. But will it slow them down? Maybe.
Read the full op-ed here.