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Trump: Soleimani’s ‘reign of terror’ is over

by Harvest Prude & Mickey McLean
Posted 1/03/20, 04:58 pm

UPDATE: President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday it was necessary for the U.S. military to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” he said. The president, speaking at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., said he ordered the airstrike in Iraq because Soleimani was planning “imminent and sinister” attacks on Americans. Meanwhile, Department of Defense officials announced the United States is sending 3,000 more Army troops to the Middle East.

OUR EARLIER REPORT (12:49 p.m.): A U.S. airstrike early on Friday at Baghdad International Airport killed Iran’s top military commander. President Donald Trump authorized the attack, carried out by a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone, that took out Gen. Qassem Soleimani as well as other leaders of the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. The U.S. Department of Defense said the U.S. military killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

Who was Soleimani? He headed Iran’s Quds Force, an elite division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. Soleimani also was the architect of Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East, providing Iraqi militants with training and bomb-making equipment. Such groups were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers during the Iraqi war, and the Defense Department blamed them for the New Year’s Eve protest at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, noting that Soleimani approved that attack. The Pentagon also blamed Iran’s shadow influence in Iraq on the Dec. 27 rocket attack that killed an American contractor.

What was Iran’s response? Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for three days of mourning and warned of retaliation. Meanwhile, congressional leaders responded along party lines. Republicans defended the airstrike, while Democrats questioned whether it would lead to an escalation of violence in the region. Trump tweeted that Soleimani “should have been taken out many years ago!”

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s Globe Trot report on the recent events in Iraq.

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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a political reporter for WORLD's Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Harvest resides in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @HarvestPrude.

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Mickey McLean

Mickey is WORLD’s executive editor for audience engagement. He previously was the executive editor for WORLD Digital. Mickey resides in Greensboro, N.C. Follow him on Twitter @MickeyMcLean.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 01/03/2020 02:56 pm

    “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”  Matthew 24:6 NIV

  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Fri, 01/03/2020 03:48 pm

    Soleimani “should have been taken out many years ago!”  I don't always agree with President Trump but on this one I do. 

    How much blood from our soldiers during the main years of the Iraq insurgency 2003 - 2011 is on that man's head.  He made widows and fatherless children of thousands of our finest though the roadside bombs, emps and 107mm rockets fired at us.  He knew about, ordered, provided weapons and training for those who attacked our military.  Thank God he is gone.

    I now pray the rest of Iran changes course before more blood is spilt.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 01/03/2020 10:02 pm

    I've been noticing a rather strange coincidence.  Some of the people who are saying "The US shouldn't have zapped that Iranian General, it will just cause more bloodshed,"  are ALSO the folks who were saying, "Those people should not have been carrying guns in their church down in Texas."

    Were those folks taught by their parents to always run away from a bully, rather than standing up to him?  Perhaps someone smarter than me can explain this to me.

    Posted: Fri, 01/03/2020 11:35 pm

    I don't think people should be celebrating. We should be solemn about this. 

    Everyone thought it was the end of the Taliban when Obama got Laden. But when you take a leader out another rises up to take his place. Besides I think they gave us Laden. That whole thing where we watched Obama and friends sitting around watching Laden getting taken down just didn't add up. 

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Sat, 01/04/2020 03:11 am
  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Sat, 01/04/2020 05:29 am

    Big Jim  - Please explain your link. I NEVER click on a link until I know what it is for and some certainty of its safety. This is true even when I see it in "Comments". 

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Sun, 01/05/2020 01:53 am

    Steve, I am generally careful with clicking on links as well. That’s a good policy. In this case, the link is to a clip from a movie. I have clicked on it multiple times from several different devices and it seems to be safe and wasn't intended as a malicious weapon but, in the spirit of safe practice, “click at your own risk.”

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Mon, 01/06/2020 09:55 am

    Big Jim,

    I agree with Steve Shive.  A link should complement a comment not be one.  I don't click on a link unless the comment makes me want to get further info or backup info for a comment.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 01/07/2020 01:28 am

    Personally, I thought what was said in that linked film clip was appropriate to the conversation. 

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Tue, 01/07/2020 02:33 am

    Apparently, I violated link protocol. Although I could have commented on the 5 or 6 relevant connections between this film clip, the General's demise and how it all applies to Everyman's life, I thought Clint's artful filmmaking said it best.

  • not silent
    Posted: Sat, 01/04/2020 08:24 pm

    I have to say that I'm pretty uncomfortable with drones being used to assassinate military leaders in other countries, even if those leaders are guilty of terrible things.  I mean, how would we feel if some other country used a drone to take out our military generals?  Wouldn't we consider that an act of war, even if our leaders were responsible for the deaths of some of that country's soldiers?  

    I very strongly support our military and our vets, and I realize it must be very hard to do what they do. I can't imagine what it would be like in combat or even in harm's way.  I get that we have used drone strikes against terrorist groups in the past, but assassinating a military general from a country that we recognize as a nation (as opposed to a leader of a "terrorist group") seems like crossing a line to me.

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Mon, 01/06/2020 10:00 am

    To quote the World article:
    Who was Soleimani? He headed Iran’s Quds Force, an elite division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. 

    He was both a Iranian general and a terrorist.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 01/07/2020 01:26 am

    How many American deaths would we need to verify before you felt “comfortable” about our military dealing with him?  The drone isn’t important—it’s exactly the same kind of tool as a plane dropping a bomb or a rifle firing a bullet. In fact, that drone is capable of a good deal more precision than the things we threw at the enemy in VietNam, the Korean War, WW 2, and on back in history. 

    And don’t make the mistake of thinking we aren’t in a war, but this might cause us to get in one. There’s a war going on practically worldwide, and the combatants on one side are taking their orders from people like, and aligned with, this General. Sri Lanka, Kenya, Canada, England, France, all full of peace-loving people who have NOT taken up arms against anyone, yet their radical Muslim neighbors are committing atrocities against them. And us.  

    I cant feel any remorse about stopping this man from ordering more attacks. 

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Mon, 01/06/2020 02:02 am

    In Texas, a bad guy with a gun was stopped by a good guy with a gun.  In Iraq, a very bad guy was stopped by a very big gun.  How rare it is to see people saved from terror.  In Nigeria a Christian bride and wedding party were just beheaded.  That is how things usually go.  Authorities generally make it easier for criminals.  Some day a righteous King will rule with a rod of iron.  No more shenanigans.

  • TxAgEngr
    Posted: Sun, 01/05/2020 04:31 pm

    For Mr. Soleimani and Mr. Abu al Atta in Gaza; those that live by the bomb will die by the bomb.