Nikki Haley has joined those praising President Donald Trump’s decision to launch the airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
“Qassem Soleimani was an arch terrorist with American blood on his hands,” the former ambassador to the United Nations tweeted. “His demise should be applauded by all who seek peace and justice. Proud of President Trump for doing the strong and right thing.”
Qassem Soleimani was an arch terrorist with American blood on his hands. His demise should be applauded by all who seek peace and justice. Proud of President Trump for doing the strong and right thing. @realDonaldTrump 🇺🇸
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 3, 2020
Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, were killed, along with eight others, in the drone strike at Baghdad International Airport.
Haley has been an outspoken critic of Iran, saying in a 2018 speech that the regime “has existed outside the community of law-abiding nations.”
“The Iranian regime has backed dictators who gas their own people. It stokes conflict. It funds foreign fighters and terrorists. It transfers missiles to militants. It acts against the interests and policies of this Security Council, time and time again,” she said.
“Across the Middle East, Iran has trampled on the sovereignty of its neighbors. In Lebanon. In Syria. In Yemen. And the Iranian regime has shown a total disregard of the sovereignty of a country that is at a critical stage in its political development: Iraq.”
On Wednesday, Trump ordered about 750 soldiers deployed to the Middle East, The Associated Press reported.
The breach at the embassy followed U.S. airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters of the Iran-backed militia in Iraq, the Kataeb Hezbollah.
The U.S. military said the strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that the U.S. blamed on the militia.
In a statement late Thursday, the Pentagon confirmed its role in the airstrike that killed Soleimani.
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the department said.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
Many Democratic politicians have criticized Trump’s decision to launch the attack, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday. “America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”
In televised remarks on Friday, Trump defended his decision and said, “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”
“The future belongs to the people of Iran, those who seek peaceful co-existence and cooperation, not the terrorist warlords who plunder their nation to finance bloodshed abroad,” he said.
“The United States has the best military by far, anywhere in the world,” the president added.
“We have best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary.”
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