By now you’ve heard the headline...General Qassim Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have grown from an already simmering level. Cities and security officials in the U.S. have ramped up efforts in anticipation of retaliation.
Soleimani’s death was mourned angrily in Iran, where thousands rallied in Tehran and the general’s hometown of Kerman.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollaha Khamenei, said in a statement: “Revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of the other martyrs of last night's incident."
Soleimani’s killing was cheered here at home, by the administration, and former officials like John Bolton, who tweeted: “Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran’s malign Quds Force activities worldwide.”
Meanwhile, on Friday morning on CNN, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained the administration’s rationale for the strike, saying that the action was intended to help with “De-escalation.” Detractors say that’s a fantasy, and regardless, Democrats in Congress are wondering this weekend why they weren’t consulted on the move.
And that’s where the debate really is on this: Most American politicians agree that Soleimani was a threat to the United States, but does the move create instability in the region that we can’t escape? Was it worth the risk of a war with Iran? “What’s next?” is obviously the question on everyone’s mind.
For more on this, we turn to Borzou Daragahi, the International Correspondent for The Independent, covering the Middle East, Europe, & North Africa. We spoke to Borzou on Friday morning.
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