Details are still coming in but it is being reported by Iraqi media and others that Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has been killed in a U.S. airstrike. Almasdar News is reporting:
The head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, has reportedly been killed in a strike near the Baghdad International Airport, along with senior leaders of the Iraqi Shia militia the US blamed for the attack on its embassy.
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” said Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces, as cited by Reuters…
According to the military analyst The Saker, Russian media is reporting the following:
The Telegram channel of RIA News reports that the US has claimed that it was responsible for that attack.
So far, PressTV [Iranian state news outlet] has NOT confirmed the death of Soleimani but other media outlets have.
Middle East analyst Danny Makki explained on Twitter the significance of the killing of Soleimani:
Qassem Suleimani was more than just a General or a military leader, he was Iran’s ultimate symbol of power, strength & influence in the Middle East, rushing between Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, his assassination is not just an escalation, its effectively a declaration of war.
Two questions come to mind. First, how can Iran not treat this as an overt act of war? Secondly, how was this act by the U.S. government in the interest of Americans?
Update #1: It is now being reported that Trump personally ordered the assassination of Suleimani.
Iran expert Trita Parsi has publicly said the following:
Spoke to a very knowledgeable person about what Iran’s response to Soleimani’s assassination might be. This would be the equivalent of Iran assassinating Petreus or Mattis, I argued. No, he responded, this is much bigger than that…
Update #2: Here are a couple of videos from The Hill’s Rising morning show in which Iran expert Trita Parsi is interviewed, along with journalist Aaron Mate.