The United States has killed Iran’s top general in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport, an attack that threatens to dramatically ratchet up tensions in the region. The targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, could draw forceful Iranian retaliation against American interests in the region and spiral into a far larger conflict. The Defense Department says it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is warning that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the U.S. after the airstrike.
Iran vows ‘harsh’ response to US killing of top general
Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation” for a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed its top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East. The killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, marks a major escalation in the standoff between Washington and Iran. Iran’s supreme leader warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the U.S. after the airstrike, calling Soleimani the “international face of resistance.” The killing, and any forceful retaliation by Iran, could ignite a conflict that engulfs the whole region, endangering U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and beyond. Over the last two decades Soleimani had assembled a network of powerful and heavily armed allies stretching all the way to Lebanon and Israel’s doorstep.
Soleimani, a general who became Iran icon by targeting US
For Iranians, Qassem Soleimani widely represented the most prominent figure outside its Shiite theocracy of national resilience in the face of four decades of U.S. pressure. For the U.S. and Israel, he was a shadowy figure in command of Iran’s proxy forces, responsible for fighters in Syria backing President Bashar Assad and for the deaths of American troops in Iraq. Relatively unknown in Iran until the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Soleimani’s popularity and mystique grew out American officials calling for his killing. A U.S. airstrike in Baghdad early Friday killed Soleimani. He was 62 years old.
Oil prices surge, markets mixed after US kills Iran general
Oil prices are surging and Asian stock markets are mixed after United States forces in Iraq killed an Iranian general. Benchmarks in Shanghai and Hong Kong declined while Australia and some Southeast Asian markets advanced. Markets in Malaysia and Indonesia, both oil producers, gained. News of the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani prompted expectations of Iranian retaliation against American and Israeli targets. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Dow rose to new records, helped by technology stocks. Investors were encouraged by expectations of stronger global economic growth in 2020 and the planned signing of an interim U.S.-Chinese trade agreement.
Democrats call US killing of Iranian general ‘reckless’
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says President Donald Trump has “tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox” with the targeted killing of Iran’s top general in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. The former vice president is joining other Democratic White House hopefuls in criticizing Trump’s order, saying it could leave the United States “on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling the attack “dangerous,” while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says it was “reckless.” The Pentagon says the U.S. military killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in Baghdad Friday at the direction of Trump.