Whether he is eating ice cream or not, Trump appears to be on a rampage to recreate the end of The Godfather.
Less than 24 hours after a US drone shockingly killed the top Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, resulting in equity markets groaning around the globe in fear over Iranian reprisals (and potentially, World War III), the US has gone for round two with Reuters and various other social media sources reporting that US air strikes targeting Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units umbrella grouping of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias near camp Taji north of Baghdad, have killed six people and critically wounded three, an Iraqi army source said late on Friday.
Iraqi official media has also confirm that two vehicles were targeted north of Baghdad, carrying commanders of the pro-Iran militias in the PMUs.
Two of the three vehicles making up a militia convoy were found burned, a Reuters source said, as well as six burned corpses.
The strikes reportedly took place at 1:12 am local time.
Hezbollah’s Mayadeen confirms that an airstrike hit a moving target in Taji northern Iraqi capital of Baghdad.— Baxtiyar Goran (@BaxtiyarGoran) January 3, 2020
Mayadeen was first media outlet that confirmed the death of Soleimani and Muhandis last night.#Iraq https://t.co/cwebUoxlzA https://t.co/j5R73kZpyv
According to unconfirmed reports, a US MQ-9 Reaper drone targeted a convoy carrying several high ranking officials of PMU (Hashd al-Shaabi) in Taji, North of Baghdad. The casualties are said to be mostly among members of the IRGC-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq. It is not known whether Qais al-Khazali is dead or alive.
#BREAKING: #USAF's MQ-9 Reaper drone targeted a convoy carrying several high ranking officials of #PMU (Hashd al-Shaabi) in #Taji, North of #Baghdad. Casualties are mostly among members of #IRGC backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq. It is not known whether Qais al-Khazali is dead or alive! pic.twitter.com/CGGebcLn0M— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) January 3, 2020
Separate reports claim that Shibl al-Zaidi, a commander of Kataib Imam Ali brigades, an Iranian-backed militia and the PMU's 40th Brigade, is among those the six who were killed in the strike.
Not confirmed yet, but it is reported Shibl al-Zaydi, secretary general of #IRGC backed Kata'ib al-Imam Ali (#PMU's 40th Brigade) is among whom are targeted by the #USAF in this airstrike at #Taji, North of #Baghdad tonight! pic.twitter.com/SteN0vg5iB— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) January 3, 2020
Al-Zaidi was close (see on left) to Soleimani & Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, both killed 24hrs ago.
That said there are conflicting reports, with some noting that a Twitter account allegedly belonging to al-Zaidi tweeted that he is alive after the attack.
The twitter account, who we presume is run by al-Zaydi, tweeted this out saying they aren't dead: https://t.co/6Mh24mgjOO— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) January 3, 2020
Additionally, Hamad al-Jazairi, the deputy leader of Saraya al-Khorasani, was also reprotedly among those killed tonight.
In separate, unconfirmed reports, yet another airstrike is said to have targeted a convoy in Iraq's Nineveh governorate.
Claims of another strike targeting a convoy in Nineveh Governorate https://t.co/04l5lrOggM— David A. Daoud (@DavidADaoud) January 3, 2020
And so, with the US laying death and carnage from the sky across Iraq, reactions have ranged from the sarcastic and laconic...
Oh, I thought last night’s peace-loving strike was supposed to prevent additional warfare https://t.co/Z2S3WQaz7L— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 3, 2020
I guess the de-escalation of last night's air strike wasn't enough to fully de-escalate and stop war, so today the US has ordered another airstrike at a top Iraqi militia commander to further de-escalate and stop even more war.— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 3, 2020
... to the objectively concerned, with some wondering how much further is Iraq going to let US operate freely in country before they decide to kick their assets out? These airstrikes really make the Iraqi government look weak like they can't deal with their problems by themselves, which may or may not be true, but the point stands."
How much further is #Iraq going to let US operate freely in country before they decide to kick their assets out? These airstrikes really make the Iraqi government look weak like they can't deal with their problems by themselves, which may or may not be true, but the point stands.— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) January 3, 2020
Of course, the other point is when and how will Iran respond, as it is now clear that if Tehran does nothing it will only embolden the US to pick off its top generals one at a time, while any substantial escalation could ignite a regional war with even more dire consequences.