Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) vowed to 'step in and stop' President Trump after a US airstrike killed the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, General Qassim Soleimani.
Responding to a tweet from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who asked "did American just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?" Rep. Omar tweeted:
"So what if Trump wants war, knows this leads to war and needs the distraction? Real question is, will those with congressional authority step in and stop him? I know I will."
So what if Trump wants war, knows this leads to war and needs the distraction?— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 3, 2020
Real question is, will those with congressional authority step in and stop him? I know I will. https://t.co/Fj9TMossEW
On Friday Omar's 'squadmate' Rep. Rashida Tlaib, meanwhile, ripped President Trump over Twitter as 'lawless,' adding "Congress alone has the authority to declare war, & we must reclaim our responsibility & say no to war with Iran."
We cannot stay silent as this lawless President recklessly moves us closer to yet another unnecessary war that puts innocent lives at risk at home & across the globe. Congress alone has the authority to declare war, & we must reclaim our responsibility & say no to war with Iran.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 3, 2020
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) decried Trump's decision - writing over Twitter: "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."
Soleimani was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 3, 2020
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
Former VP and presidential candidate Joe Biden, meanwhile, said that Trump had "tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox."
The strike, which occurred at Baghdad's international airport on Friday, also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis - Iran's deputy commander of Iranian-backed militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
The killing of Soleimani is a major blow for Iran. Together with the death of al-Muhandis, the attack could mark a potential turning point in the Middle East and is expected to draw severe retaliation from Iran and the forces it backs in the Middle East against Israel and American interests. -The Telegraph
According to the Pentagon, President Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani "in a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad."
"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," said the DoD.
Shortly after news of the strike broke, Trump tweeted a picture of the American Flag with no commentary after a thirteen-hour absence from Twitter.
According to Reuters, Soleimani was killed in a drone strike.
Iran, meanwhile, called an emergency meeting on Friday according to semi-official news agency ISNA.
"In a few hours, an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme National Security Council will be held to review the murderous attack on the vehicle of General Soleimani in Baghdad that lead to his martyrdom," said ISNA secretariat spokesman Keyvan Khosravi.
The ex-commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Moshen Rezaei, promised Iran would enact "vigorous revenge against America," adding "Martyr Lieutenant General Qassem Suleimani joined his martyred brothers, but we will take vigorous revenge on America."
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif, meanwhile, called the killing "an extremely dangerous and foolish escalation," adding "The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism."
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.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 3, 2020
The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.
According to The Telegraph, Solaimani was key in spreading Iranian influence throughout the Middle East, and was viewed as a potential future leader of Iran. He had survived several prior assassination attempts by Israeli, Arab and Western agencies over the past two decades.
Soleimani had been rumoured dead several times, including in a 2006 airplane crash that killed other military officials in northwestern Iran and following a 2012 bombing in Damascus that killed top aides of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. More recently, rumours circulated in November 2015 that Soleimani was killed or seriously wounded leading forces loyal to Assad as they fought around Syria's Aleppo.
The attack came amid tensions with the United States after a New Year's Eve attack by Iran-backed militias on the US Embassy in Baghdad. The two-day embassy attack, which ended on Wednesday, prompted Mr Trump to order about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East. -The Telegraph
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), meanwhile - who had breakfast with Trump on Thursday, had this to say:
To the Iranian government: If you want to stay in the oil business leave America and our allies alone and stop being the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2020