After news that one of Iran’s top military commanders was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, several Democrats voiced their concern that the move could further escalate tensions with Tehran and increases the risk of armed conflict.
On Thursday, Qasim Soleimani — the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force — was killed in an airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
The strike comes two days after hundreds of protesters stormed the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, and vowed to stay camped outside the compound until American personnel left the country. But they shortly left without accomplishing their goal.
In the aftermath of the protests at the embassy, the Defense Department sought to deter any future attacks on American personnel or interests.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Thursday morning that the U.S. is “prepared to do what is necessary to defend our personnel and our interests and our partners in the region,” as IJR has previously reported.
While some Congressional Republicans cheered the news of Soleimani’s death, Congressional Democrats and presidential contenders voiced their concerns about the potential fallout of the strike.
Check out the reactions below:
My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/4Q9tlLAYFB— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 3, 2020
Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.
Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 3, 2020
The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?
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
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
After the strike, Iran vowed to seek “severe revenge” for the death of Soleimani.