Daily US Times, Washington: In the tense aftermath of killing key Irani General Qasem Soleimani, the Pentagon braced for retaliation by sending 3,000 more troops to the Middle East.
Democrats complained that President hadn’t consulted Congress, and some worried that the strike made war more likely, but the President claims he ordered the killing of Soleimani “to stop a war,” not start one.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed the attack on Soleimani was a necessary act of self-defence. He said, Soleimani was plotting a series of attacks that endangered many American troops and officials across the Middle East and by eliminating him from the battlefield, many Americans lives are saved.
Iraqi politicians called the US airstrike which also killed an Iraqi general, a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and questioned whether U.S. forces should be expelled. The U.S. has about 5,200 troops in Iraq, mostly to train and advise Iraqi forces fighting IS. The ramifications could include an end to the U.S. military partnership with Iraq in fighting the Islamic State extremist group.
In a short brief to the nation, President Trump said the Iranian General been plotting “imminent and sinister” attacks. ”We take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over”, he added. Pentagon said they had “compelling, clear, unambiguous intelligence” of Soleimani plotting violent acts.
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff added ”it might still happen”.
Trump warned Iran of further retaliation saying U.S. military has Iranian targets “fully identified” for counter-retaliation.
Gen. Mark Milley also commented about the Iranian retaliation. He said, ”There is a range of possible futures here, and the ball is in the Iranian court.”
Reactions coming from every corner of the globe. Iran vows ‘severe revenge’ over the killing.
Russian condemns the killing as ‘reckless step’. The country’s foreign ministry has said it views the “murder of Soleimani by a US strike as a reckless step that will lead to a rise in tension in the whole region”.
US democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden described the attack as a “hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region” and said President Donald Trump had “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox”.
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif tweeted: ‘The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation. The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
Who was Qasem Soleimani?
Soleimani was a major figure the US has been long hunting for. Since 1998, Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani led Iran’s Quds Force – an elite unit in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. His force handles clandestine operations abroad.
He first came to prominence in his country serving in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and later played a vital role bolstering Bashar al-Assad’s Iranian-supported government in the Syrian Civil War, and in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq.