Things are moving with lightning speed in Iraq right now. Reports are fragmentary and disjointed, though not as fragmented and disjointed as Qasem Soleimani is right now.
nothing left but hair, teeth, and eyeballs https://t.co/kfI5GYognH
— streiff (@streiffredstate) January 3, 2020
I could very well be regretting this post by morning but right now it looks like the US military carried out a raid that decapitated the command structure of Iranian-backed militias inside Iraq.
A little earlier this evening, Iranian thug Qasem Soleimani made a visit to Baghdad. Given the fact that one of Soleimani’s subsidiaries, the Kataib Hezbollah militia, was directly involved in killing an American civilian on Friday and invading the US embassy compound on Tuesday, his arrival must have clearly breached the red line that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned about earlier today. The convoy he was traveling in was hit by an airstrike, my best guess is that it was a drone strike, and Soleimani and several other senior leaders of Iran’s Iraqi militias were killed.
Now it seems like the killing of Soleimani was not a one-off. Reports are coming in that US forces have detained the leaders of some of Iran’s militia proxies.
— Feras Kilani ???? ?????? (@FerasKilaniBBC) January 3, 2020
He’s one of the guys directly fingered for the embassy attack
The attack today was orchestrated by terrorists – Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Qays al-Khazali – and abetted by Iranian proxies – Hadi al Amari and Faleh al-Fayyad. All are pictured below outside our embassy. pic.twitter.com/2QfGGrfmDd
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 31, 2019
DEVELOPING: U.S. Marines have captured and arrested the following outside Baghdad:
Qais Khazali (Leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq)
Hadi al-Amiri (Head of Badr Organization)
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) January 3, 2020
If this is true, it is far beyond the killing of bin Laden or al-Baghdadi. This is nothing less than a complete, textbook decapitation of the Iranian proxy forces in Iraq. Not only is the overall commander, Soleimani, dead but several senior staff and two of the field commanders responsible for the militia attack on the US embassy are in custody. (For the record, it is highly unlikely that this, if it happened, was pulled off by Marines, this was a special operations mission that would have been given to either SEALs or Delta.)
If this is true, the implication is that we knew that Soleimani was inbound to Baghdad and we knew if far enough in advance to be able to pull this mission together. That, alone, should scare the bejeesus out of the Iranians.
— Saeed Ghasseminejad (@SGhasseminejad) January 3, 2020
Lots to critique about Trump’s foreign policy, but I’ll say this about his decision to strike at top Iranian targets: it wasn’t impulsive. It never appeared he was eager to do this. The regime tested him repeatedly. He finally responded. The big question: now what?
— Jonathan Schanzer (@JSchanzer) January 3, 2020
What next, indeed. We’ve made our move, it is up to Tehran to take the “L” and move on, or to up the ante.