Iran Retaliates

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s killing. Khamenei tweeted, “Martyrdom was the reward for his ceaseless efforts in all these years … With him gone, God willing, his work and his path will not be stopped, but severe revenge awaits the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood and other martyrs’ in last night’s incident.” Reported by i24 News. Read more…

Perhaps it was a New Year’s Day taunt by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that figured in the strike. After Trump warned that Iran would be held fully responsible for lives lost at U.S. facilities abroad, Khamenei fired back on Twitter, saying, “You can’t do anything.” Two days later Soleimani was dead. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

For his part, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said his nation would “take revenge for this heinous crime” But, speaking on Fox & Friends, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “I think the Iranian leadership understands President Trump will take action. … We made very clear that these responses would be swift and decisive. We have now demonstrated that. I hope the Iranian leadership will see that and see American resolve and that their decision will be to de-escalate and take actions consistent with what normal nations do. In the event that they do not and they go in the other direction, I know that President Trump and the entire United States government is prepared to respond appropriately” Reported by Fox News.Read more…

At least 56 people were crushed to death in crowds during the funeral ceremony for Soleimani, and more than 200 were injured. His funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands of mourners in his home city of Kerman. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

The killing sparked fears of World War III, and discussions of a widening conflict trended on social media, as well as generating several news articles. Reported by The Express. Read more…

More Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

After Soleimani was killed and Iran threatened retaliation, the U.S embassy in Baghdad recommended that U.S. citizens leave Iraq. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Reported by i24 News. Read more…

Additionally, the international coalition fighting the Islamic State suspended operations so that it could focus on protecting U.S., U.K., and other coalition troops at bases in Iraq. Ironically, the announcement came minutes before Iraq’s parliament voted to expel U.S. troops. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Iran’s military said it was prepared to use medium and long-range missiles to attack U.S. bases in the Middle East, in revenge for Soleimani’s death. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the U.S. was prepared for retaliation, telling CNN, “We’re prepared for the worst. We hope that cooler heads in Tehran will prevail and de-escalate the situation … We are not looking to start a war with Iran but we are prepared to finish one … What we would like to see is the situation de-escalated and for Tehran to sit down with us and begin a discussion about a better way ahead.” Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Iran did attempt to retaliate several days later, firing over a dozen missiles at the Al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province and the Irbil base in northern Iraq. No personnel were killed or injured in the attack. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Although the Pentagon believes the missiles fired at the airbases were meant to kill U.S. soldiers, they failed due to early warning systems. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that “I believe based on what I saw and what I know is that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft and to kill personnel.” He said that “a little bit of early warning” and “normal defensive procedures” saved American lives. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the strikes “a slap in the face” for the US. He further warned that Iran’s wider goal remained – to expel the U.S. from the region. Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, confirmed Khamenei’s sentiment, saying that the “final answer” to the killing of Soleimani would be to “kick all US forces out of the region.” Iran’s foreign minister, Javid Zarif tweeted that Iran “took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense” by striking only the bases from where the drones targeting Soleimani were launched. Zarif also said that “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.” Later, President Trump said that Iran “appears to be standing down.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Saudi Arabia condemned the Iranian missile attack on bases in Iraq, saying Tehran had violated Iraqi sovereignty. Reported by i24 News. Read more…

Speaking to the nation about the situation, President Trump took a pot shot at former president Barack Obama, saying money Obama paid Iran was used to buy the missiles fired at the U.S. bases. Speaking from the White House, Trump said, “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Sen. Ted Cruz, R., Texas, agrees with Trump. Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Cruz said the Obama administration’s policy of appeasing Iran further empowered the regime. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

A transcript of Trump’s remarks to the nation can be found here.

More Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

More Reported by Fox News. Read more…

More Reported by Reuters. Read more…

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, said Congress was not told in advance of the strike that killed Soleimani. She criticized Trump’s decision, saying “We cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions … Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.” Reported by The Hill. Read more…

To counter Trump in the future, the House began preparing legislation to further limit the President’s war powers. Reported by Fox News.Read more…

Representative voted on the 9th to approve the new bill by a vote of 224-194. Three Republicans crossed party lines to vote in favor of the legislation, while eight Democrats voted against it. The bill calls on Trump to “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran” unless Congress first approves it or enacts specific legislation approving the use of force. There was significant debate of the bill’s effectiveness, and Republicans in the Senate have called it meaningless. Reported by CNN. Read more…

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden had advice and criticism for Trump after the attacks on U.S. bases, saying, “I just pray to God as [Trump] goes through what’s happening, as we speak, that he’s listening to his military commanders for the first time because so far that has not been the case.” Biden called Trump “dangerously incompetent” and said he was on the verge of leading the U.S. into another war in the Middle East. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Trump slammed the non-binding House war powers resolution during a campaign rally in Ohio, suggesting that House Democrats would have would have tipped the media to the strike had they known about it. He also said that Soleimani was planning new attacks and looking seriously at U.S. embassies as potential targets. Reported by Fox News.Read more…

After the attack on the U.S. airbases, the Trump administration slapped more sanctions on Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, discussing the sanctions, said, “The goal of our campaign is to deny the regime the resources to conduct its destructive foreign policy.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…