US Iran Tension Escalates as US Airstrike Kills Iranian Gen. Soleimani

In a pre-emptive action against Iran, US President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian Military General Qasem Soleimani. Pentagon said that Soleimani was responsible for orchestrating attacks on American soldiers, diplomats, and service members in Iraq. Supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah condemned USA’s attack and said: “harsh revenge awaits the criminals“.

Crux of the Matter

Deteriorating US-Iran Ties
Tensions have been escalating between USA and Iran as Iran-backed armed forces recently launched an attack on an American embassy in Baghdad. The attack was a protest against the American attack on Kataib Hezbollah. Recently, Aramco’s fields were attacked by drones, for which US has blamed Iran. US announced to deploy troops in the Gulf region to protect it from Iranian invaders. Besides that Iran has been engulfed in anti-establishment protests on account of economic hardships faced by commons. During the protests, more than 1500 civilians are reported to have been killed by the authorities.

USA Retaliates
In what is being called as harsh retaliatory action, USA, on a green signal from Prez Trump, launched an airstrike on Baghdad International Airpot on Friday, early midnight. It killed the Quds Force Leader, Qasem Soleimani and Deputy Head of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. According to the Pentagon,” The move was a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad that was intended to deter future Iranian attack plans.”. Pentagon has accused Soleimani and Quds Force of killing American soldiers, diplomats, and service member. It also held Soleimani responsible for the attack on December 27 that killed American contractors and Iraqi people.

Iran Warns of Harsh Revenge
Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei condemned the attack and declared three-day mourning for Soleimani. Vowing to take revenge for the actions of America, Khamenei said harsh revenge awaits the criminals. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javed Zarif has called this move “an act of international terrorism” and an “extremely dangerous and foolish escalation“. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said that, “the assassination of Muhandis was an attack on the Iraqi state, government and people.”. Soon after, oil prices spiked amidst concerns that oil supply may be hindered by Middle East. Brent Crude Oil rose by 4.4% and touched $69.16.

Curiopedia

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. Soleimani began his military career in the beginning of the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s. He was later involved in extraterritorial operations, providing military assistance to anti-Saddam Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq, and later Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government, a key Iranian ally, during the Syrian Civil War, particularly in its operations against ISIS and its offshoots. Soleimani also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014–2015. More Info

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was an Iraqi-Iranian military commander who headed the Popular Mobilisation Committee which is active against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group. The organisations he oversaw are reported to have close connections to the Quds Force, part of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was the commander of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia, and prior to that worked with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps against the Saddam Hussein regime. Allegations of terrorism have been levelled against him over his activities in Kuwait in the 1980s. He was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Kuwait for his involvement in 1983 Kuwait bombings. Muhandis was on the United States list of designated terrorists. More Info

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