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Iran vows ‘harsh’ response to US killing of top general

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    This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)

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    FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, file photo, Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, attends an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

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    FILE - In this Friday, March 27, 2015, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani prays in a religious ceremony at a mosque in the residence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Soleimani has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

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    FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo provided by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

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    This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)

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    This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)

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    This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)

Published January 03. 2020 08:27AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation” for a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed Tehran’s top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing.

The killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, marks a major escalation in the standoff between Washington and Iran, which has careened from one crisis to another since President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions.

The United States urged its U.S. citizens to leave Iraq “immediately.” The State Department said the embassy in Baghdad, which was attacked by Iran-backed militiamen and other protesters earlier this week, is closed and all consular services have been suspended.

Around 5,200 American troops are based in Iraq, where they mainly train Iraqi forces and help to combat Islamic State militants.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the U.S. after the airstrike, calling Soleimani the “international face of resistance.” Khamenei declared three days of public mourning for the general’s death, and appointed Maj. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s deputy, to replace him as head of the elite Quds force.

Iran also summoned the Swiss charges d’affaires, who represents U.S. interests in Tehran, to protest the killing. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the strike “an act of state terrorism and violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

The killing, and any forceful retaliation by Iran, could ignite a conflict that engulfs the whole region, endangering U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and beyond. Over the last two decades, Soleimani had assembled a network of heavily armed allies stretching all the way to southern Lebanon, on Israel’s doorstep.

However, the brazen killing may itself act as a deterrent, with fears of an all-out war leading Iran and its allies to delay or restrain any potential response.

Oil prices surged on news of the killing and markets were mixed.

The Defense Department said it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” It also accused Soleimani of approving the orchestrated violent protests at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.

The airport strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. A PMF official said the strike killed a total of eight people, including Soleimani’s son-in-law, whom he did not identify.

Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but sent out a tweet of an American flag.

The dramatic attack comes at the start of a year in which Trump faces both a Senate trial following his impeachment by the Congress and a re-election campaign. It marks a potential turning point in the Middle East and represents a drastic change for American policy toward Iran after months of tensions.

Tehran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone and seized oil tankers last year. The U.S. also blames Iran for a series of other attacks targeting tankers, as well as a September assault on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry that temporarily halved its production.

The tensions are rooted in in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The 62-year-old Soleimani was the target of Friday’s attack on an access road near the airport, which was conducted by an armed American drone, according to a U.S. official.

A senior Iraqi security official said the airstrike took place near the cargo area after Soleimani had disembarked from a plane arriving from either Syria or Lebanon. PMF officials said the bodies of Suleimani and al-Muhandis were torn to pieces. A senior politician said Soleimani’s body was identified by the ring he wore.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

It’s unclear what legal authority the U.S. relied on to carry out the attack. American presidents claim broad authority to act without the approval of the Congress when U.S. personnel or interests are facing an imminent threat. The Pentagon did not provide evidence to back up its assertion that Soleimani was planning new attacks against Americans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the “highest priority” was to protect American lives and interests, but that “we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions.” She said Congress was not consulted on the strike and demanded it be “immediately” briefed on the next steps.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Trump had “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,” saying it could leave the U.S. “on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.” Other Democratic White House hopefuls also criticized Trump’s order.

But Trump allies were quick to praise the action. “To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more,” tweeted South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The killing promised to strain relations with Iraq’s government, which is closely allied with both Washington and Tehran. Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi condemned the strike as an “aggression against Iraq” and a “blatant attack on the nation’s dignity.”

He also called for an emergency session of parliament to take “necessary and appropriate measures to protect Iraq’s dignity, security and sovereignty” on Saturday, when funerals will be held in Baghdad for al-Muhandis, the militia commander, and the other slain Iraqis.

Russia condemned the killing, and fellow Security Council member China said it was “highly concerned.” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab acknowledged the “aggressive threat” posed by the Quds force but urged restraint, saying “further conflict is in none of our interests.”

Iraq has been gripped by massive anti-government protests since October, partly against Iran’s influence over the country. But at least one protester, who asked not to be named for security concerns, said they “do not celebrate” the killing of Soleimani.

“America and Iran should solve their problems outside Iraq,” he said. “We do not want them to solve it inside Iraq, because this will not serve our cause.”

The Syrian government, which has received key support from Iran throughout the civil war, also condemned the strike, saying it could lead to a “dangerous escalation” in the region.

Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon, called on “the resistance the world over” to avenge Soleimani’s killing.

In the Gaza Strip, the ruling Hamas militant group offered its “sincerest condolences” to Iran, saying Soleimani had “played a major and critical role in supporting Palestinian resistance at all levels.”

There was no immediate reaction from Israel, which views Iran as its greatest threat. Authorities closed the Mount Hermon ski resort near the borders with Lebanon and Syria as a precaution but didn’t announce any other security measures. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he was cutting short a trip to Greece to return home and follow “ongoing developments.”

Yoel Guzansky, an expert on Iran at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, a prestigious Tel Aviv think tank, said the killing restored America’s deterrence powers in the Middle East.

“I think the Iranians are shocked now, the Russians, the Chinese, no one would believe Trump would do that,” he said, adding that Iran, in the short run, was likely to retaliate against the U.S. or its allies, and possibly against Israel. But he said in the long run, the loss of Soleimani — who had also been on Israel’s radar for some time — would weaken Iran’s capabilities across the region.

For Iran, the killing represents the loss of a cultural icon who represented national pride and resilience while facing U.S. sanctions. While careful to avoid involving himself in politics, Soleimani’s profile rose sharply as the U.S. and Israel blamed him for Iranian proxy attacks abroad.

While Iran’s conventional military has suffered under 40 years of American sanctions, the Guard has built up a ballistic missile program. It also can strike asymmetrically in the region through forces like Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

As the head of the Quds, or Jersualem, Force of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, Soleimani led all of its expeditionary forces and frequently shuttled between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Quds Force members have deployed into Syria’s long war to support President Bashar Assad, as well as into Iraq in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, a longtime foe of Tehran.

Soleimani rose to even greater prominence by advising forces fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and in Syria.

U.S. officials say the Guard under Soleimani taught Iraqi militants how to manufacture and use especially deadly roadside bombs against U.S. troops after the invasion of Iraq. Iran has denied that.

Soleimani’s killing follows the New Year’s Eve protests orchestrated by Iran-backed militias at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which were not related to the anti-government demonstrations.

The two-day embassy attack, which ended Wednesday, prompted Trump to order about 750 U.S. troops deployed to the Middle East. No one was killed or wounded in the protests, which breached the compound but appeared to be mainly a show of force.

The breach at the embassy followed U.S. airstrikes Sunday that killed 25 fighters of Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia operating in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. military said the strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that the U.S. blamed on the militia.

U.S. officials have suggested they are prepared to engage in further retaliatory attacks in Iraq.

“The game has changed,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday.

Comments
Trump just gained respect for America, and at the same time, became somewhat of a hero in Iran. Soleimani has been disliked by the Iranian people for years. Trump's timing is perfect, the Russians, Chinese and Iranians just finished up Naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman.
We'll kick the snot out of all three of them, and bloodshed is not needed. $$$$$$
We'll stick it to them in the wallet. Not to say there won't be another drone attack or twenty.
When you think about the pallets of cash the Kenyan sent to Iran, and realize some of that money funded the killing of our own soldiers, you'll perhaps see the big difference between one who cares first and foremost about America, and the one who... well... I'll just stop there.
#1 see no evidence suggesting Iranians are pleased by the generals death...on the contrary the photos of mourners in the streets are pretty incredible.

#2 I need to understand the risk/reward equation that went into the decision. It looks like to me there is a good chance this will result in the US furthering it’s involvement in the Middle East. How exactly is this protecting Americans?

Given that this president has shown a willingness to conduct foreign policy as a means to furthering his political interests, and acts impulsively, we should be asking these questions.

Not to mention the disproportionate appearance of this action.

#3 the constitution requires congressional authorization to wage war. This appears to be an illegal act by our president. Authorization for further escalation should go before congress right away.
Who waged war? You've been listening to Nasty Nancy I see.
Consulting with any democrat would be like consulting with the enemy itself.
Heck, Democrats would have sent the General a few pallets of cash.
As for Iranian celebrating this? Come on Joe, they can't show emotion in countries like that. Shhh
Killing a general is waging war. We should not be playing politics when it comes to national security. You might hate democrats but US citizens put them in place to be their representative. Many of them with children in the armed services. Cutting out congress is cutting out the people.

Where do you get your info that he was hated by the Iranians? I don’t expect celebrations but so far the evidence doesn’t back your assertion. I’m happy to accept hard facts about how Iranians view their leaders and military.

When the Nobel Prize winner, Obama used cluster bombs that killed 35 Yemeni women and children, there was no outcry. There was a seventeen year old American Citizen killed in that screw up! The Obama Admin. called the young man “collateral damage.”
As for war? The Iranian regime had already declared war on us Joe.
Iran needs to back down, we'll ship pallets of bombs, not cash.
This is one thing Obama did build... yeah
New Edit:
The reason the POTUS doesn't reveal to Democrats his military plans...
"Loose Lips Sink Ships" Nasty Nancy not only has loose lips, she has one heck of a time with those loose dentures.
See page 36 of this study, including polling of Iranians, completed in October of 2019.

https://cissm.umd.edu/sites/default/files/2019-10/Iranian%20PO%20under%20Maximum%20Pressure_101619_full.pdf

82% approval rating for Soleimani making him the most popular figure in Iran.

Show me your evidence that the populace hated him.
Oh by the way, the pentagon just announced the deployment of thousands of additional troops to the Mideast. This is in addition to the troops trump has been adding to the region since election. So much for that campaign promise.
My boys were there, it could have been better, but the Commander was the Kenyan. Sometime you should talk to a veteran who served under the Kenyan's terms for engaging. This commander is much different.
Your TDS is again in fever mode. No more discussion with an enemy sympathizer. You and your Democrat friends have become an enemy of the state.
Look I haven't said if I agree or disagree with the action. I'm asking questions. You should too. Now provide your evidence that the General was hated in Iran...I provided evidence he was the most popular figure in Iran.
Challenging Joe. Taking on again Joe? There is evidence that leans both ways. The thing you need to consider is this. Truth is hard to find. The ones who continue to make stuff up and call it news, has taken America from a post Christian Nation, to a post Truth Nation. Sad to say, but you appear to be on the wrong side again Joe.
Oh, hey Joe, this board isn't here for you to challenge people. Just who are you?
M not trying to challenge, I’m asking for the evidence you have seen that backs up your assertion that he was hated in Iran. How he was seen by the populace is an important dynamic here. I provided a scientific poll, what it the contrary evidence?

Best way to assure truth is to back your assertions with evidence. You don’t seem willing or able to back your statements, who is peddling in fake new?!??
Watch how the Iranians like the regime.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rioting+in+IRan&&view=detail&mid=1CACFFD5E0E3C3E03FFA1CACFFD5E0E3C3E03FFA&&FORM=VDRVRV
Funny how puke like you pushes and pushes, then a response comes that may appear threatening, and you call out the moderator. I've seen it. Remember Rambo? Typical Democrat.... Coward No Name "Joe" who hides behind a fake user name. Takes cheap shots daily. No more time for this Joe.

Mike Meyers
Walnutport, PA

Oh... by the way, our one son who went over to fight your Radical Anti-America Arab Pals was hit by an RPG, he's fine thank God.
Glad your son is ok. Personally I would do everything in my power to prevent my son or daughter from fighting in an illegal war but that’s just me.
You progressive idiots have no clue of reality. How would you prevent an eighteen year old man from doing such an honorable thing? You'd do what Joe? Three of our Five sons went off to fight for your right to enjoy the freedoms that allow you to be the jerk you are.

Mike Meyers
Walnutport, PA
So you're saying that our Men and Woman of the Military is wrong?
You disapprove of the United States Military?
Are you a Shiite? You must be.
If you switched allegiance, move out of here.
You're a coward, enemy of the state who hides behind the name "Joe"
What's your real name? Do you have any children? Who is this "Joe", an Iranian hack trolling the TN?
Didn’t say any of those things. I’m raising my kids on push back on injustice and not be used as a pawn in a politically motivated war. I’m sad for those troops whose lives will be lost to further a political campaign.

Our peace church background has rooted us in objection to war for war’s sake. With that in mind I believe my children would decide whether to join the military based on an intelligent and moral assessment of the current leadership, commander in Chief. For example, I am confident if they were 18 now none of them would enlist under this potus. Probably not under Obama either.

For example, we have a potus who says he will retaliate by attacking cultural and public targets in Iran. To me that sounds like terrorism, especially when you don't target military targets. I would hope my children would not allow themselves to be conscripted as terrorists but unfortunately that's what potus plans to do with our good military folks.
The one hit by RPG (stepson) father passed away (cancer). His father was a Mennonite Pastor.
Raise them as you will, they are given free will Joe. You'll see.

Perhaps somebody reading this can back me up.

Mike Meyers
Yes I have Joe, people like yourself come here with fake names and spew trash that creates others to regurgitate it. You my foolish friend is like that dog who always returns to his vomit.
Mike, focus on the issue being discussed. Why does it always have to go to judging me? I occasionally will take a shot but I stay on topic 99%.
No, when you delve into name calling or using ethnic slurs I point out that you give up the ability to claim being Christian.if that’s judging so be it.
You know nothing about me Joe. Don't assume my desires. I'm quite certain you know that all lives matter to me. Even the lives of your Radical Anti-America Arab Pals. You going to the Generals Funeral? You probably got an invite.
Hey "Joe"
MAGA
Soleimani said in a speech, "Let me tell you, Mr. Trump... Know that we are near you, in places that don't come to your mind. We are near you in places that you can't even imagine."
Gee, Trump has people in his own party who hate him. He certainly can imagine!
In this case? Darkness can not snuff out light. Actually, the general was... lit up, wasn't he?
Why stop with solemani? There are lots of government leaders out there who have been critical of trump or threatening. Are we prepared to kill them all?
Solemani had plenty of american blood on his hands. Did you change you national allegiance? What's with you folks? The Democrats are the enemies of the United States. You can’t negotiate with them. They lie. They manipulate. They steal. They cry when we take out a military opponent. They attack from within daily. You too are the enemy. Shame on you. Perhaps it's time you move to Iran.
Silliness. Those who are only able to see black and white are the most susceptible to this administration’s propaganda. Just because someone is threatening the US does not mean we start war. Why is Kim Jong-un still alive? Are you aware that their foreign minister told the world they have a “Christmas present for the US” following prohibited testing of ICBMs in December? Surely a country with nukes testing an icbm is a bigger threat than the general. Bad guy for sure but this doesn’t change the threat to the US in the positive at all.

The point is we need to weigh risks and rewards of starting war and that process should occur in congress among the representatives of our people. The constitution requires it.

Not ever having served, or had sons who served, you wouldn't understand, but, Kim Jong-un hasn't organized the killings of Americans to the extent that the Iranian has. The Iranian wanted to kill my sons, and did all he could to do just that. Again "Joe" whoever you are... You are on the wrong side. You are an enemy off the state. The problem is, you fight here as a coward, behind blind posts, and on the wrong side, always.

Mike Meyers
Walnutport, PA
Bull crap. I think developing an ICBM capable of delivering nukes to America (and threatening to deliver it fir Christmas) is far more dangerous than what this dude planned. Kim has killed Americans and threatens them daily.

So answer the question, why are we not trying to kill Kim?
Kim Jong-un hasn't organized the killings of Americans to the extent that the Iranian has. Read Much? Why do you side with the enemy on all things? Are you a terrorist? You side with undocumented trespassers, Radical Shiites who shout death to America, Killing Babies in the womb, Taking away the 2nd amendment, you hate the president.
Mmmm Hmmmm. Iran is only a threat to our troops placed in harms way for political gain. N Korea is a threat to the mainland of the US and has indicated it plans to send ICBMs at us. Now that trump has destroyed the treaty with Iran, they will now be looking to attack our cities too with nukes. But right now our experts believe N Korea will be able to reach the west coast soon, if not already.
The Occupant's New Gaslighting for the American Public.
I didn't order the killing of Soleimani to start a war.
Gaslighting? That term sounds familiar. Were have I heard that before?
You sympathize with the enemy to! Who else does that? You plugged in to MSNBC?
Soleimani has been warring against America for a long time. You and the Kenyan allowed it, now it's time for it to end. Try sympathizing with American families who lost sons and daughters for a change.
You are anti American
So because of this poorly thought out strike we are about to be kicked out of our bases in Iraq and Iran just announced they will be enriching uranium again to weapons production level. And since almost all of the world opposed the strike we are on our own to deal with these developments.

BTW, I smell Putin all over this.
Putin? No Brainer Joe.
They've been spinning cake for years Joe. Out Iraqi presence isn't needed anyway. Let's bring the boys home... No?
Israel has hawk eyes on the Mullahs.
Don't fret these rag head twelver's Joe, we can wipe them out in less than an hour, and they know that. I say, place the "Finger of God" on Genera Salami's replacement ASAP while he carries out his first mission of "Peace".
Let's go back to securing our borders and bringing our boys home. Let Europe worry about Europe.
Put a travel ban on while we're at it.
Let's get back to important issues at hand like... the whistle blower. Bwah ha ha ha you Democrats crack me up!
Ethnic slurs. Not what Jesus would do.

If I were to go to a church men's breakfast, it would be with those full of Christ's love, and it wouldn't be with hateful racist people. Rag head is an ethnic slur, stop repeating it.
“Every violence, against one or a million, is a blasphemy addressed to the image and likeness of God”
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