Fears of new conflict rise after US kills Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, in strike on Baghdad airport

The strike will intensify tensions between the U.S. and Iran and many experts say it escalates the risk of a new conflict spreading across the region.

The strikes prompted an immediate spike in global oil prices Thursday night and set off a debate on Capitol Hill about the White House decision to launch the strike. One lawmaker applauded the killing of Soleimani and calling him “an evil bastard who murdered Americans.” Another lawmaker suggested the strike was an assassination that could cause a “massive regional war.”

Soleimani, as commander of Iran’s Quds force — which is tasked with carrying out paramilitary and clandestine operations outside of Iran — has lead Tehran’s irregular wars across Yemen and Syria for several years.

American “troops are spread too thin, and Iran’s agents too widespread,” Orton told Military Times.

Orton was previously a Syria conflict expert at the Henry Jackson Society — a London-based think tank.

“If Iran makes the decision to flip the switch, I’m not sure how U.S. forces in Iraq defend themselves,” he said.

The U.S. has deployed more than 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East throughout the past six months. There are more than 60,000 American troops in the CENTCOM theater of operations. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump ordered an additional 4,000 soldiers from the Army’s 82 Airborne Division to deploy to Kuwait to reinforce security in the region.

“This strike and accompanying raid dealt an incredible blow to Iran’s proxy network across the entire region. They [Iran] will respond violently and likely in multiple theaters,” Jennifer Cafarella, an researcher with the Institute for the Study of War, told Military Times.

“But they [Iran] will do so deprived of key leaders and the impunity they’ve enjoyed for the last few years. Tonight’s events have likely fundamentally changed the trajectory of the region,” she explained.

Article URL : https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/01/03/iraq-rockets-fired-at-baghdad-airport-7-people-killed/

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