Tensions develop with Middle East


Early in the morning, on Jan. 3, The United States killed a high-profile commander, Qasem Soleimani, of Iran’s secretive Quds Force with a drone strike in Iraq. The deadly airstrike will raise tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which were already heightened by the New Year’s attacks on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad. 

The United States strike was approved by President Donald Trump to disrupt an “imminent attack,” and the United States Department of Defense issued a statement which was a decisive “defensive action” for prevention of further attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. Iran maintains the idea of it being an act of “state terrorism.” 

Iraq came out with a statement of which the attack undermined its national sovereignty, was a breach of its agreement with the U.S. and an act of aggression against its officials. On Jan. 5, the Iraqi parliament passed a non-binding resolution to expel all foreign troops from its territory, according to the New York Times.

“Lawmakers in Iraq voted to require the government to end the presence of American troops in the country after President Trump ordered the killing on Iraqi soil,” New York Times journalist, Steven Erlanger said, via email.

In the past, the United States has credited Soleimani’s militias with combating a U.S. enemy in Iraq, the Islamic State militant group. Soleimani’s Qods Force was a division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, believed to support terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah. 

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Defense Department said in its statement. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

“I think that this controversy is unnecessary and that we need to move past it and focus on our own problems within the country,” Sophie F. ‘22 said. 

The conflict at the embassy occurred after U.S. fighter jets struck weapons depots in Iraq and Syria in which the United States said were linked with a group called Kataib Hezbollah, which blames the attacks on bases of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in recent months.

Twenty-five militia men were killed in the airstrikes. The strikes followed the death of a U.S contractor who was killed on Dec. 27, 2019 in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base. 

“I think it is unfortunate that this all had to happen. I feel the United States needs to be alert for terrorist attacks both at home and abroad,” Natalie N.  ‘22 said.