House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff were both quick to criticize President Donald Trump in the hours after the U.S. airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport that killed the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Soliemani and his Quds Force were “responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more,” according to the Department of Defense.
“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.”
She complained that the president conducted the airstrike “without the consultation of the Congress.”
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region,” she said.
While Schiff said in a Thursday evening tweet that Soleimani “was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him,” he echoed Pelosi’s complaint that Congress did not authorize the attack.
“All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable and increased risk,” he tweeted.
Soleimani was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him.
But Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran.
All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable escalation and increased risk. https://t.co/Z4HTnScFg7
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 3, 2020
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, was also killed in the strike, along with eight others.
In response to the attack, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted, “The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani — THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al–is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”
The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.
The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 3, 2020
“The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” he added.
The airstrike came amid tensions after a New Year’s Eve attack by Iran-backed militias on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. After the two-day embassy attack ended 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.
The Pentagon confirmed its role in the airstrike that killed Soleimani on Friday.
“At the discretion 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 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the Department of Defense said in a statement.
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interest wherever they are in the world.”
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