The attack that ended the mysterious Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard, has been ordered by Donald Trump himself
Iran’s supreme leader, Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, has threatened the United States this Friday with a “hard revenge” for the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, mysterious leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of the country and man Tehran’s key to maintain control in the region after a selective bombing claimed by Washington at the Baghdad airport.
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.
Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP pic.twitter.com/kL36KJAUam
— jmarine (@jmarine) January 3, 2020
“A hard revenge is waiting for criminals who have their hands stained with their blood (that of Soleimani) and that of other martyrs of the incident”, Jamenei warned in a statement broadcast on Iranian state television, IRIB. Ayatollah Khamenei blamed the “cruellest people on earth” for the murder of the “honourable” commander who “fought bravely for years against the evils and bandits of the world”.
The Iranian leader has also praised Soleimani and declared three days of mourning in the country. The United States has claimed on Friday the death of Soleimani in an attack at the Baghdad airport “to protect US personnel abroad”.
General Soleimani is the Iranian officer who has been reshaping the Middle East to fit Iranian interests, including the wars in Syria and post-Islamic State Iraq. He is the person in charge of the operations outside Iran of the Guardians of the Revolution and has been present on the ground in Syria and Iraq, supervising the militias backed by Tehran in both Arab countries.
The Pentagon, which has specified that it was the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who led the attack, explained in a statement that Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack US diplomats in Iraq and throughout the region”. Washington has thus referred to the demonstrations that have taken place at the US Embassy on Tuesday and Wednesday, motivated by US bombing in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah militia. According to the statement, “Soleimani approved the attacks on the US Embassy”.
Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more. pic.twitter.com/huFcae3ap4
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020
For his part, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohamad Javad Zarif, has branded the US attack of “silly escalation” and “extremely dangerous” because, as he said, Soleimani led “the most effective force fighting against Islamic State, the Against Nusra and Al Qaeda“. “The United States is responsible for all consequences”, he has settled through his Twitter account, where he has also called the event “international terrorism”.
In addition, the former Iranian military commander Mohsén Rezaí has assured in the same social network that Iran will take revenge “with forcefulness” of Washington.
Tension in Baghdad
The situation in Baghdad has worsened following the demonstrations that took place at the US Embassy on Tuesday and Wednesday, which forced the temporary evacuation of US diplomats from the diplomatic delegation building and the security forces to employ tear gas to disperse them, while the crowd chanted “Death to America”. Some areas of the facility were set on fire and some protesters tried to climb the enclosure wall.
In this context, United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned Wednesday that the United States would initiate “preventive actions to protect US forces.” “They will probably regret it, and we are prepared to exercise self-defence and stop more offensive behaviour by these groups, all of whom are backed, directed and financed by Iran”, Esper said in a meeting with journalists.
The protests took place in response to US bombings in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah militia, which is accused of being behind the death of an American citizen last week in an attack.