The United States has killed one of the most important figures in the Iranian regime. Observers fear that the conflict between the two countries could finally escalate. The latest developments after the death of General Qassem Soleimani, the new martyr of the Iranian revolution
“We are close to you, even where you can’t imagine it”, General Qasem Soleimani said in a speech. It was a warning addressed to the United States. Soleimani was the powerful head of the Quds units, the overseas organization of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Many saw him as the second most powerful man in Iran after Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei.
On January 3, Soleimani was killed in an American drone attack on the international airport highway in Baghdad. The killing that happened at the behest of American President Donald Trump is a new, dramatic climax in the conflict between the United States and Iran. Experts fear a military escalation.
The latest developments
- After the United States’ Iraqi killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, NATO has stopped troop training in Iraq for the time being. Spokesman Dylan White emphasized on Saturday, however, that the mission basically continues. “But training activities are temporarily suspended”. NATO is monitoring the situation in the region very closely, White said. The safety of the staff is a priority. “We will continue to take all necessary precautionary measures”. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had called the American Defense Secretary Mark Esper after the latest developments.
- Israel’s security cabinet plans to discuss the implications of the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by the American military this Sunday. According to media reports, the closest cabinet around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing for possible Iranian revenge attacks on Israeli targets. Israeli television reported Friday evening that the United States had apparently warned Israel of the killing of Soleimani. It is assumed that the information was transmitted a few days before the attack. “There was a phone call between Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday night”, said Channel 13 journalist Barak Ravid. “It was the second call within two days”. However, it was unclear whether specific information had been conveyed.
- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticized the European reaction to the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Washington’s European allies were “not as helpful” as he hoped, Pompeo told Fox News on Friday. The killing of Soleimani by President Donald Trump in Iraq had been welcomed by the Republicans and Israel. Heads of state and government in the west, on the other hand, warned of an escalation of tensions in the Gulf region. The British, the French and the Germans should understand “what we did, what the Americans did, saved lives in Europe”. In contrast, the talks with the American partners in the region were “all fantastic”.
- Thousands of Iraqis took part in a funeral procession for the Iranian elite general Qassem Soleimani and the Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Saturday. They chanted “Death for America”, as a photographer from the AFP news agency reported. The funeral procession took place in the Kasimija district, where there is a Shia Mosque. A state funeral was then planned in the green zone of Baghdad, where many ministries and embassies are located. The bodies of the killed Iranians are said to be flown to their homeland on Saturday evening. A three-day mourning was proclaimed there in honour of Soleimani. He is said to be buried in his hometown of Kerman on Tuesday.
- North of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, there was an air raid on a vehicle convoy by the pro-Iranian militias early Saturday morning. Several people were killed. The attack near the Chadi camp was directed against a commander of the Al-Haj al-Shabaab militia, Iraqi state television reported. Iraqi military circles said six people were killed in the attack. Two of the three vehicles in the convoy were burned out, there were three seriously injured. The AFP news agency also reported several deaths and injuries, citing police circles. Al-Hajj al-Shaabi denied that high-ranking members had been killed in the attack. A group of paramedics connected to the militia was affected. A spokesman for the US-led military coalition in the fight against the extremist militia IS reports via Twitter that the alliance has not carried out any air strikes near the Taji camp in recent days. Iraqi state television had spoken of American air strikes. The police did not officially comment on the number of victims.
- After the targeted killing of Kassem Soleimani, the United States sends thousands of additional soldiers to the Middle East. A representative from the U.S. Department of Defense said on Friday that between 3,000 and 3,500 soldiers would be sent to the region.
- American President Donald Trump said on Friday that he did not want a war with Tehran. The United States wanted peace, partnership, and friendship with other countries. The USA also did not want to achieve regime change in Iran. The United States is doing everything it can to protect its own diplomats, soldiers, and citizens. Soleimani had been working on “dark” plans to attack American targets and was therefore wiped out. If he had been killed earlier, many lives could have been saved, the American president said.
- The coalition against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) suspends the training of security forces by the Quds and the central government in Iraq. The headquarters made a decision to protect its own forces. The operations command of the German Bundeswehr, which is involved in training soldiers with more than 400 men and women, announced this to the chiefs in the Defense Committee of the German Bundestag on Friday evening. This is binding for all participating partner nations of the anti-IS coalition.
Why did the US kill Soleimani? And what are the possible consequences?
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