Just days after the U.S. embassy in Baghdad was stormed by Iraqi protestors furious at the bombing of a militia camp by the U.S. military, the Trump administration has decided to kick off the new year with one of the most arrogantly provocative displays of violence they could muster — bombing a vehicle convoy as it left the airport in the middle of Baghdad.
1) Guided missile struck lead vehicle of #Iraqi PMU convoy.
2) Vehicle exploded and 2nd missile hit 2nd vehicle in convoy.
3) 3rd missile struck asphalt as rear vehicle continued moving. pic.twitter.com/UCpUPjXS56
— Al Sura (@AlSuraEnglish) January 3, 2020
Reports are extremely sketchy but it appears that the leader of Iraqi militia Katai’b Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al-Mohanis, was killed in the bombing with the group’s head of protocol, Mohammed Ridha. With them was Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the man in charge of Iran’s proxy groups throughout the Middle East.
It's starting to look more and more likely that Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis was indeed killed in the drone strike tonight at Baghdad airport. 3 PMF sources confirm. He's a long time nemesis of the US, a close ally of Tehran. The rumors about Qassim Soleimani are still not confirmed.
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) January 3, 2020
BREAKING: U.S. officials confirm that they have carried out strikes in Baghdad against targets linked to Iran. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds force, was killed in the strikes – Reuters
— LIVE Breaking News (@NewsBreaking) January 3, 2020
This is a deadly serious provocation that will not only send the city of Baghdad into a paroxysm of fury at the United States but may also be the spark that ignites open conflict between the United States and Iran, which will not take kindly to the murder of one of its most senior military generals — the equivalent to killing the CIA director while on a foreign visit.
If this is true — and it appears that it is — the United States has assassinated a major military commander of a country we are not at war with, far outside of a warzone, and surrounded by civilians.
Imagine how we would respond to that.
The U.S. carried out strikes against two targets linked to Iran in Baghdad, U.S. officials tell @Reuters. An Iraqi militia spokesman said a senior Iranian commander and an Iraqi militia commander were killed https://t.co/rlWe9tknzH pic.twitter.com/Nv3y6KrHMM
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 3, 2020
Every United States soldier in the Middle East is suddenly in extreme danger thanks to the bloodlust of the Trump administration and the psychotic neocons who pull the strings behind the scenes.
Soleimani had cult hero status within IRGC and among Shia militias in the region, and was personally the most popular regime figure in #Iran. The pressure to retaliate will be immense https://t.co/HLc63QZhuS
— Vali Nasr (@vali_nasr) January 3, 2020
Words cannot adequately describe what an absolutely disastrous decision this was.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.