The U.S. State Department issued a warning to all Americans living in Iraq to leave the country “immediately” following the airstrike that killed the military leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani.
“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, we urge U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately,” the agency wrote on Twitter. “Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.”
#Iraq: Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, we urge U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately. Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy. pic.twitter.com/rdRce3Qr4a
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) January 3, 2020
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on CNN Friday morning that President Trump ordered the airstrike that killed Soleimani on Thursday following a U.S. “intelligence-based assessment” that Iranian forces were planning an “imminent attack” in the region, without elaborating on the nature of the attack.
“The risk of doing nothing was enormous. The intelligence community made that assessment,” and President Trump acted on it, Pompeo said. The action “saved American lives, no doubt about it.”
Pompeo emphasized that the U.S. remained committed to “deescalation” with Iran and asserted that “Americans in the region are much safer today” with Soleimani dead.
The rest of the world is very nervous — as well they should be. There is no doubt that killing Soleimani was a provocative act that destabilizes the relationship between the U.S. and Iran. But Soleimani, being lionized by some as a “revered military leader, was, in fact, a brutal terrorist with the blood of innocent people on his hands. As commander of Iran’s foreign assassination unit, the Quds Force, he has planned and executed dozens of assassinations of Iranian exiles and “enemies.” The Quds Force was also active in the Syrian Civil War and has been accused of committing atrocities against Syrian civilians.
And as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s closest adviser, he almost certainly played a major role in the crackdown on recent protests in Iran that directly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent unarmed protesters. As Iran’s top military commander, he also assisted in the murder of hundreds of Iraqi protesters by Iran-backed militias.
And the decision to get rid of this piece of human excrement is being questioned?
It would be regime suicide for the Iranian government to go to war with the United States and they know it. Miscalculations are always possible, especially when the two nations are fully prepared for war. But U.S. firepower in the region has been significantly augmented in recent months — mainly in response to an Iranian terrorist attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. Since May, the U.S. has deployed another carrier strike group, bombers, fighters, amphibious assault vessels, missile defense batteries, and 14,000 additional ground troops to deter Iran. That doesn’t include long-range bombers from our base in Diego Garcia, or cruise missiles and other aircraft based in Turkey.
If Iran were to start a war, it would be a short one.