By Danny C. | DCPeriodical | 01/02/20 |
(UPDATED) – An already tense situation just got substantially worse.
Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were both assassinated — along with several other Iraqi officials including one from Kata-ib Hezbollah — in an air strike on their vehicle convoy at Baghdad airport.
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Iraq’s spokesman for the PMF right away blamed America and Israel for the assassinations:
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” said Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces umbrella grouping of Iran-backed militias.–National Post.
Since that accusation, the US has taken full responsibility.
As the Times of Israel reported earlier:
US officials told Reuters that it had carried out a strike in Baghdad on two figures linked to Iran, but did not provide details. The attack came hours after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US was ready to step up activities to push Iran-backed forces out of Iraq, including pre-emptive strikes.-TOI.
Calling it a ‘defensive action,’ the Pentagon then released an official statement specifying that at the direction of President Trump, Soleimani was targeted and neutralized to prevent ‘future Iranian attack plans.’
[The official statement] claimed that Soleimani, 62, who was the architect of Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East, had “orchestrated” attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the past few months and approved the attacks” on the US embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
These assassinations follow multiple US air strikes in Iraq last week — that left 25 Iranian-backed PMF-Kata-ib Hezbollah fighters dead — and two days of attacks by Iraqi protesters on the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Today’s attacks are sure to act as an intense provocation into escalations between the US and Iran — and the very real prospect of a vicious war breaking out; one potentially much more deadly than the Syrian, Afghani and Iraq wars combined.
Just yesterday DCPeriodical reported that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, warned the US that Iran would ‘unhesitatingly confront & strike’ anyone that threatens ‘Iranian…interests, dignity, & glory.’ The next day, here we are.
Unlike Syria and Iraq, Iran is a Middle Eastern superpower. They have a direct alliance with Russia and China.
Just this weekend Iran, China, and Russia demonstrated their aligned might to the world during joint military exercises in the Gulf of Oman.
There is no telling what devastating consequences could unfold if this game of tit-for-tat continues to increase, but one thing is for certain. They will not be good.
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