Friday, 3 January 2020

Iran Vows ‘Forceful Revenge’ After U.S. Kills General

Iran’s leaders quickly promised retaliation for the general’s killing. Iraq’s Parliament planned to hold an emergency session over the weekend to address the airstrike, which Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called “a brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a blatant attack on the nation’s dignity.”

The strike, regarded by analysts as perhaps the riskiest American move in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, threatened to tip hostilities with the United States and its partners across the region into a new war.

Iranian leaders issued strident calls on Friday for revenge against the United States after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in an overnight airstrike at the Baghdad airport.

His death is a considerable blow to Tehran, and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for retaliation and for three days of national mourning.

“His departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands,” the  supreme leader said in a statement.


Iran’s security body also pledged to avenge General Suleimani’s killing in the “right place and time,” saying it had reached a decision on how to do so.

The American strike spurred mass displays of public mourning by Iran and its network of allies across the Middle East. Iranian officials said the general’s body would be taken on a funeral procession around Baghdad, and that a funeral would be held for him in Tehran on Sunday.

On Friday, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter about the strike, saying that General Suleimani “killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more … but got caught!”

General Suleimani was the head of the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the architect of nearly every significant operation by Iranian intelligence and military forces over the past two decades.

WHO WAS GENERAL SULEIMAN?

He became the face of Iran’s efforts to build a Shiite power bloc in the Middle East.

The general’s prominent role meant that his death could have a ripple effect in any number of countries across the Middle East where Iran and the United States compete for influence.


The strike was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper drone that fired missiles on a convoy of vehicles leaving the airport. Several other officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran were also killed.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon said in a statement. The United States has long been at odds with Iran over its nuclear program and influence in Iraq and other countries in the region. Those tensions have surged under the Trump administration.

The strike on Friday was the latest escalation between the two nations after a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base, believed to have been carried out by an Iran-backed militia, killed an American contractor in December.

The United States hit back with airstrikes on an Iranian-backed militia that killed 24 and prompted outrage among some who saw that attack as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Pro-Iranian demonstrators broke into the United States Embassy compound on Tuesday. The breach prompted Mr. Trump to order roughly 750 additional American troops to be deployed to the region.

The State Department urged American citizens to leave Iraq immediately following the strike that killed General Suleimani in Baghdad, citing “heightened tensions.”


Oil prices jumped on Friday after the news of the general’s death: The price of Brent oil, the international benchmark, surged in the early hours of Hong Kong trading to nearly $70 a barrel — an increase of $3.

The immediate increase in the price of oil was among the largest since an attack on a critical Saudi oil installation in September that temporarily knocked out 5 percent of the world’s oil supply.

By 11 a.m. in London, the price of Brent crude oil was at a three-month high of $69.20 a barrel. International oil companies based in the southeastern Iraqi city of Basra have begun evacuating American employees, according to Al Arabiya news outlet.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the S & P 500 each opened about 1 percent lower on Friday, while oil company shares rose, with Exxon Mobil up 1.3 percent and Chevron up 1.2 percent in premarket trading.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had spoken to top diplomats in Britain, China and Germany on Friday about what the State Department described as President Trump’s recent decision to carry out the strike  “in response to imminent threats to American lives.”


Mr. Pompeo also told his foreign counterparts that the United States was committed to de-escalation, according to the State Department. Mr. Pompeo posted several statements and a video on Twitter that he said showed Iraqis “dancing in the street.”.

“This was a man who has put American lives at risk for an awfully long time,” Mr. Pompeo said on Friday on CNN. “Last night was the time that we needed to strike to make sure that this imminent attack that he was working actively was disrupted.”

He declined to provide more details about the looming attack.

One American official familiar with the internal discussions about the drone strike said the administration was still trying to figure out what would come next.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the backlash over General Suleimani’s death could be even more fraught than the tensions after an American raid in 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, who was part of a stateless group and had no international support

Source:New York Times

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