Jan 3, 2020

Republicans celebrate death of Qasem Soleimani

Sen. Marco Rubio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Pentagon's confirmation Thursday night that Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander and one of the regime's most powerful figures, was killed in airstrike ordered by President Trump set off immediate shock waves throughout Washington.

The big picture: Republican hawks like Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) celebrated the assassination of a designated terrorist whose activities in the Middle East have led to the deaths of hundreds of U.S. service members. Democrats, meanwhile, warned of the potentially destabilizing effects of the operation and demanded answers about the use of force without congressional authorization.

What they're saying:

  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.): "Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question. 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?"
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.): "Qassem Soleimani masterminded Iran’s reign of terror for decades, including the deaths of hundreds of Americans. Tonight, he got what he richly deserved, and all those American soldiers who died by his hand also got what they deserved: justice."
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.): "Trump Admin owes a full explanation of airstrike reports—all the facts—to Congress&the American people. The present authorizations for use of military force in no way cover starting a possible new war. This step could bring the most consequential military confrontation in decades. My immediate concern is for our brave Americans serving in harm’s way."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) "Wow - the price of killing and injuring Americans has just gone up drastically. Major blow to Iranian regime that has American blood on its hands. Soleimani was one of the most ruthless and vicious members of the Ayatollah's regime. He had American blood on his hands. I appreciate President Trump's bold action against Iranian aggression. To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more."
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "This is very simple: General Soleimani is dead because he was an evil bastard who murdered Americans. The President made the brave and right call, and Americans should be proud of our servicemembers who got the job done. Tehran is on edge - the mullahs have already slaughtered at least a thousand innocent Iranians - and before they lash out further they should know that the U.S. military can bring any and all of these IRGC butchers to their knees."
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.): "The end of Qasem Soleimani is welcome and long-overdue justice for the thousands of Americans killed or wounded by his Iranian-controlled forces across the Middle East, and for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Iraqi Sunnis ethnically cleansed by his militias."
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.): "Qassem Soleimani was an evil and deadly terrorist with the blood of thousands, including hundreds of Americans, on his hands. President Trump was right to order decisive action to kill Soleimani to prevent further attacks and defend American lives and interests."

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper: U.S. kills top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani

Go deeper

U.S. kills top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani

Soleimani (center). Photo: Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

One of the Iranian regime's most powerful figures has been killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad's international airport, the Pentagon has confirmed.

Why it matters: Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the elite Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was as revered by Iran's proxies and supporters across the region as he was reviled by Iran's foes, who considered him the mastermind of state-sponsored terrorism.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020

Trump on killing Soleimani: "We did not take action to start a war"

President Trump claimed Friday that the U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was not intended to start a war.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020

Trump says Soleimani "should have been taken out many years ago" in first tweets on strike

President Trump said Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, "should have been taken out many years ago" in his first direct tweets on the strike on Friday.

"General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more...but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!"
Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020