Jan 3, 2020

U.S. to deploy thousands of troops to Middle East following Soleimani strike

Paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division were activated and deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq. Photo: CAPT. ROBYN HAAKE/US ARMY/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will deploy at least 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East amid fallout from an airstrike on Thursday evening that killed the leader of the elite Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The news comes hours after the Pentagon confirmed Soleimani had been killed. But defense officials told NBC News the deployment is not in response to the strike, but to an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by protesters and militia fighters earlier this week.

  • The additional soldiers will join the nearly 750 troops deployed from the same unit, the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division, earlier this week following the embassy attack.
  • The 82nd Airborne was ordered to prepare for deployment if tensions escalated in the region, CNN notes.

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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

Iraqi PM denounces Soleimani strike, warns it "will light the fuse of war"

Photo: Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images)

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi denounced Friday the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis as an "act of aggression against Iraq" that would "light the fuse of war."

The latest: Mahdi, who has close ties to Iran, labeled the strike a "massive breach of sovereignty." He called an emergency parliamentary session to "take the appropriate legislative measures in a manner that preserves the dignity, security and sovereignty of Iraq."

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