The Republican lawmakers on Friday praised the US airstrike on Iran’s Baghdad International Airport which killed the country’s Revolutionary Guards commander General Qassem Soleimani. Meanwhile, Congress complained that it did not receive any advance notice of the strike.
“In a display of resolve and strength, we struck the leader of those attacking our sovereign US territories,” House Republican Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.
“Wow – the price of killing and injuring Americans has just gone up drastically,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a close confidant of Trump, tweeted.
Wow – the price of killing and injuring Americans has just gone up drastically. Major blow to Iranian regime that has American blood on its hands. Soleimani was one of the most ruthless and vicious members of the Ayatollah’s regime. He had American blood on his hands.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2020
The US Department of Defense issued a statement soon after the attack and said, “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more”.
Confirming the same, the White House tweeted, “At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
Meanwhile, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel said that the strike “went forward with no notification or consultation with Congress”.
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) January 3, 2020
“Soleimani was the mastermind of immense violence who has the blood of Americans on his hands. But to push ahead with an action of this gravity without involving Congress raises serious legal problems and is an affront to Congress’s powers as a coequal branch of government,” Engel said.
Former vice president Joe Biden too issued a statement and said, “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox. Iran will surely respond. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East”.
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took to Twitter and wrote, “We should be acting to deescalate tensions and protect our people in the region. Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars”.
Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.
Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 3, 2020
The killing of Soleimani could further strain ties between Iran and the US and escalate President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the former, which began with economic sanctions but has steadily moved into the military arena.
The strike also comes a day after Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper warned that the United States military would pre-emptively strike Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria if there were signs the paramilitary groups were planning more attacks against US bases and personnel in the region.
(With inputs from AFP)