File photo. Photograph:( AFP )
There will be counter-strikes but they may not qualify as a traditional all-out war.
The US triggered a geopolitical earthquake by killing a top Iranian General. The whole world is now bracing for the fallout.
World War 3 has been the top trend globally and not without reason. There is a threat of a major escalation.
There's no denying the situation is precarious. People over the world are concerned if there will be a war, and if their country will be sucked into it.
The killing of Qasem Soleimani is no small matter. The US may have labelled him a terrorist, but unlike other terrorists America has killed - Soleimani was a state actor.
He was part of a legitimate government - a cult figure and his killing is an attack on a government. Iran has a difficult needle to the thread and its choices are limited.
Not acting is not an option, but the action comes at a cost. And frankly, Iran doesn't have the money.
The Iranian government cannot afford a war with a country like America. The United States has the world's biggest and best-equipped military force.
The US spends more on defence than any other country in the world and it is number one in the rank of power.
Iran which is slowed by sanctions stands at the 13th position. The military budget of the US is more than six hundred billion dollars.
Iran has a military budget of fourteen billion dollars. The US has over one million active personnel as compared to Iran which has over five hundred thousand active military personnel.
So there will be counter-strikes but they may not qualify as a traditional all-out war.
Experts say Iran will go for American soft targets. As for America, it may not have the appetite for a straightforward invasion from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq.
America has failed miserably every time it has tried to capture territory. It's at best, a very effective disruptor.
The definition of war today has changed, conflicts come in many shapes and with deadlier consequences.
So to answer the question we began with - will this lead to the third world war? No, but that doesn't mean there won't be bloodshed and casualties.
(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)