THE US Embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad has urged all American citizens to run for it and get out of Iraq.
This is after the US’ cowardly assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, which was carried out by US forces on Friday morning on the orders of President Donald Trump, left its citizens in Iraq open to reprisals.
The US embassy urged on Friday: ‘Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the US Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately.’
It added: ‘US citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land.’
The statement also warned US citizens ‘not to approach the embassy’, adding that the US consulate general in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, would be open for appointments.
Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), were killed in US airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad early on Friday.
The IRGC confirmed in a statement that Soleimani and al-Muhandis were martyred in the attack carried out by US helicopters. The Iraqi pro-government group also confirmed the incident.
The US Defence Department confirmed the strike, saying it came ‘at the direction of the president’.
US Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress expressed outrage over Trump’s ordered strike, saying the Republican president did not obtain congressional approval.
US Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has condemned Trump for ordering the assassination, warning that the killing will destabilise the region and puts the US on the path to another war.
‘When I voted against the war in Iraq in 2002, I feared it would lead to greater destabilisation of the region,’ Sanders tweeted on Thursday. ‘That fear unfortunately turned out to be true.’
‘The US has lost approximately 4,500 brave troops, tens of thousands have been wounded, and we’ve spent trillions (in Iraq),’ Sanders added.
He continued: ‘Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars. Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.’
Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, responding to the killing of Qasem Soleimani but did not condemn the attack nor urge the Johnson Tory government to do so.
He said: ‘The US assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani is an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict in the Middle East with global significance.
‘The UK government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the United States.
‘All countries in the region and beyond should seek to ratchet down the tensions to avoid deepening conflict, which can only bring further misery to the region, 17 years on from the disastrous invasion of Iraq.’
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab shadowed Corbyn’s position saying: ‘We have always recognised the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qasem Soleimani. Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is in none of our interests.’
SYRIA has condemned the ‘US criminal aggression’ which led to the murder of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani following a US air raid at Baghdad’s international airport.
It also slammed Washington for the killing of the Deputy Chairman of Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Commission Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a number of the Mobilisation’s cadres.
‘Syria condemns in the strongest terms the US criminal aggression which led to the martyrdom of the leader of al-Quds Failaq, Iranian Major General Qasem Suleimani, and Deputy Chairman of Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Commission Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a number of the Mobilisation’s cadres as a dangerous escalation of the situation in the region,’ the statement said.
The Hamas movement also offered sincerest condolences on the death of the head of IRGC’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani.
Hamas said: ‘Qassem Soleimani played a major and critical role in supporting the Palestinian resistance at all levels.
‘We mourn the death of Soleimani and the other Iranian commanders killed in the US carried-out air raid. Hamas also offers condolences for our brotherly Iraqi people on the killing of many Iraqis in the raid.
‘On this sad occasion, Hamas condemns the US bullying that creates disputes and upheavals in the regions, just to serve the interests of the Israeli occupation.’
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a briefing on Friday that Beijing has ‘consistently opposed the use of military force in international relations’.
He did not however condemn the US action since that would no doubt endanger the China-US trade deal.
Shuang continued: ‘We are closely following this incident. China has consistently opposed the use of military force in international relations.’
Russia has called the missile strike by the US an ‘irresponsible step that will lead to increased tensions throughout the Middle East region’.
Moscow also offered condolences to the Iranian people over the death of Soleimani.
‘We consider the killing of Soleimani as a result of US missile strike in the outskirts of Baghdad as an adventuristic step that will lead to increased tensions throughout the region. Soleimani devotedly served the cause of protecting Iran’s national interests,’ a Foreign Ministry official told Sputnik.