Quick Catch-Up On Trump/Iran Conflict

Quick Catch-Up On Trump/Iran Conflict
Donald Trump (photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr – CC License)

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate a top Iranian general, the fallout across the Middle East and beyond continued on Sunday.

ICMYI:

• Iran on Friday vowed “severe revenge” in response to a U.S. airstrike that killed Tehran’s most powerful military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, and dramatically sharpened tensions across the Middle East.

• US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the airstrike ordered to kill top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani “saved American lives,” after Pompeo said on Twitter Friday morning that the decision to eliminate Soleimani was in response to “imminent threats to American lives.”

• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the Trump administration to immediately brief lawmakers on the U.S. airstrike and what the White House plans to do next. The strike was carried out without an “authorization for use of military force” against Iran and without the consultation of Congress, the speaker said. Today, Trump tweeted his “official notification to Congress.” I kid you not.

• The United States is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast as reinforcements in the volatile aftermath of the killing of an Iranian general in a strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

• In his first public address since the airstrike, Trump said the U.S. is “ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary” if Iran threatens American lives. “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.” But it looks like the guy who wanted to pull U.S. military out of the middle east may have begun sometime far bigger than he dreamed.

• On Saturday, the Trump administration warned members of Congress that Iran is expected to retaliate against the US “within weeks” for the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani even as they failed to convince some that the operation was merited due to an imminent threat against American lives.

• As hostilities escalate, Trump has ramped up the pressure on Iran – threatening to hit 52 sites ‘very hard and very fast.’ He also boasted about the U.S. military’s ample resources.

• Iran’s government said Sunday that it was abandoning its “final limitations in the nuclear deal,” the international agreement intended to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. The decision leaves no restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, the statement said, including on uranium enrichment, production, research and expansion.

• Lawmakers in Iraq heeded the demands of angry citizens and voted on Sunday to expel United States troops from the country, as hundreds of thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Iran to pay their respects to the slain leader of the elite Quds Force, Maj. General Qassim Suleimani.

• The eulogist at the funeral procession of prominent Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iran put an 80-million-dollar prize on US President Donald Trump’s head on live state TV. “We are 80 million Iranians, if each one of us puts aside one American dollar, we will have 80 million American dollars, and we will reward anyone who brings us [Trump]’s head with that amount,” he said, addressing a large crowd in Iran’s north-eastern city of Mashhad.

• Having done his tweeting, Trump arrived at his golf course in West Palm Beach today.