World Reacts to Soleimani Assassination

Response to the U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani was quick to come from around the globe.

In the United States, legislators predictably reacted along party lines, as Republicans universally heralded the assassination, while Democrats largely expressed concern over the consequences.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed out that the “airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America – and the world – cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”

Moreover, Pelosi argued that the action was taken without either “an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran” or “consultation of the Congress,” and demanded that “The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region.”

That view was echoed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. After saying “Soleimani was responsible for unthinkable violence and world is better off without him,” Schiff went on to stress that “Congress didn’t authorize and American people don’t want a war with Iran. All steps must now be taken to protect our forces against the almost inevitable escalation and increased risk.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that President Donald Trump does not have the authority to go to war with Iran without congressional authorization, and said he should have consulted with top congressional leaders before the U.S. killed a top Iranian commander. “It is my view that the president does not have the authority for a war with Iran,” Schumer said, adding that “If he plans a large increase in troops and potential hostility over a longer time, the administration will require congressional approval and the approval of the American people.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on his Democratic counterparts to reserve judgment until they have been fully briefed by the Trump Administration. He celebrated the elimination of Soleimani, who he referred to as “Iran’s master terrorist.”  While speaking from the floor of the plenum, McConnell said, “The architect and chief engineer for the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism has been removed from the battlefield at the hand of the United States military.”

Senator Marco Rubio sent out a tweet, reading: “#Soleimani is directly responsible for previous & future plans to KILL U.S diplomats & American service members in #Iraq & throughout the region.” In a swipe at critics of the assassination, Rubio added, “But some are so blinded by hatred of Trump that they argue he has done something sinister. Its [sic] crazy. Total derangement.”

Connecticut Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal also voiced caution over the administration’s conduct. Murphy said it could lead to the harming of U.S. personnel in the region, while Blumenthal warned of the dangers of a “costly long-term military confrontation with Iran.”

After branding Soleimani as “an arch terrorist with American blood on his hands,” Former (Republican) U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said “His demise should be applauded by all who seek peace and justice. Proud of President Trump for doing the strong and right thing.” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also praised Trump for the strike, which he tweeted “was in direct response to Iranian aggression orchestrated by General Soleimani and his proxies.”

The Democratic Presidential contenders also weighed in with their viewpoints. Former Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement saying that “No American will mourn Qassem Soleimani’s passing. He deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region. He supported terror and sowed chaos.”

Biden went on to say that nevertheless, “None of that negates the fact that this is a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region. The Administration’s statement says that its goal is to deter future attacks by Iran, but this action almost certainly will have the opposite effect.”

“President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interest, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond,” said Biden. While he acknowledged that he is currently “not privy to the intelligence and much remains unknown,” the Presidential-hopeful stressed, “but Iran will surely respond. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East. I hope the Administration has thought through the second-and third-order consequences of the path they have chosen. But I fear this administration has not demonstrated at any turn the discipline or long-term vision necessary – and the stakes could not be higher.”

Senator Bernie Sanders sent out a tweet warning that “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.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren also responded on Twitter, where she wrote, “Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.” Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang tweeted, “War with Iran is the last thing we need and is not the will of the American people. We should be acting to deescalate tensions and protect our people in the region.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo resent a video on Twitter that he said showed “Iraqis – Iraqis – dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more.” Reuters filmed a march in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square, where they celebrated the Iranian commanders’ demise not far from where bulldozers and street cleaners in Baghdad were still removing rubble and debris from the attack. Referring to recent unrest against Iranian involvement in Iraq, one woman who did not want to be identified told Reuters, “We have not wanted Iran’s influence in Iraq from the beginning – and we also condemn America’s interference in Iraq’s domestic affairs. We don’t want Iraq to be pushed in to the American-Iranian conflict.” Another unnamed man commented: “These acts are the beginning of the American-Iranian conflict in Iraq, after dominating and belittling Iraq’s role,” going on to warn that “this air strike will have grave consequences.”

Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalaie, a representative of top Shi’ite Cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said that “Events are accelerating and crises are aggravating. The country is passing through the most dangerous violent acts, such as the heinous aggression which the Iraqi troops have subjected to in Qaim and which led to the martyrdom and wounding tens of our sons, the fighters.”

He called the U.S. strike “a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and international norms. The aggression led to the martyrdom of a number of heroes of victory battles against Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists,” adding ”These events and other violent acts indicate that the country is passing difficult situations. We call upon the concerned parties for self-restraint and to behave with wisdom.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reportedly called for a jihad holy war in “crushing revenge” against “Soleimani’s killers,” vowing that his death will only double Tehran’s motivation to retaliate against both the U.S. and Israel. The Islamic Republic’s Supreme National Security Council has already declared an unspecified reprisal against the U.S.’ “criminal adventure” is forthcoming.

Civilians were asked for their views near Tehran’s infamous “Anti-U.S. Wall,” where a depiction of the stars and stripes on the American flag have been replaced with skulls and bombs, captioned “Down with the USA.” A 24-year-old unnamed ‘commercial expert commented, “How stupid can they be to do such a thing, because in the Middle East region – I think Iran is the factor of stability, and one of the most influential persons (in doing this) was Mr. Qassem Soleimani.” He went on to say, “I think this is something that would not be left unanswered, and may lead to bad incidents in the region, from which the US and the people of Iraq and other countries in the region will suffer.”

A PhD student of material engineering identified by the family name of Bakhshi, warned, “This action, the responsibility of which has been apparently accepted by the US officials, be sure that it was an amateur act. Our nation will become more aware and more ‘Soleimanis’ will be produced in the country. I assure you.”

In Beirut, a reporter on the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar television channel read a lengthy statement from the terror group’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah; as follows: “In the name of Allah the Merciful. The Almighty said: “Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah: so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed in the least.” To God Almighty has spoken the truth. The beloved brother and great leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani has reached the peak of his hopes and his most cherished wishes were fulfilled; he received the honorable martyrdom medal to be rightfully the master of the axis of resistance’s martyrs. I extend from Mawlana and our Imam, the owner of the time – may God Almighty hasten his relief – and from His Eminence the Leader, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Khamenei, and from our great references and our dear officials of the Islamic Republic in Iran, especially the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, and from the great and resisting Iranian people, in particular from the honorable family of Hajj Qassem, one by one, the highest blessing in martyrdom and the highest condolences for losing this brave and courageous leader, the role model, the kind-hearted father of all the fighters and Mujahideen in our region. Congratulation to him on the martyrdom, I exult him on this great martyrdom and on this good consequence in the school of (Imam) Hussein and (Sayyeda) Zaynab, peace be upon them. This is how we see the scene and the situation. As for us who remained after him, we will continue his path and work night and day to achieve his goals, and we will carry his flag in all arenas, fields and fronts. The victories of the axis of resistance will increase with the blessing of his fine blood, as they have grown with his permanent presence and tireless struggle. As for the just punishment of the criminals who killed (him) – who are the worst villains of this world – it will be the responsibility, trusteeship and action of all the resistance fighters and mujahideen throughout the world. The American killers, God willing, will not be able to achieve any of their goals with this great crime. Rather, all of Hajj Qassem’s goals will be accomplished by the greatness of his soul and blood and on the hands of his brothers, children, and students – resistance fighters and Mujahideen from all the peoples of our nation that reject humiliation and submission to the arrogant and tyrants. Glory to the great martyr leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani, may God be pleased with him, and all the dear Mujahideen who were martyred with him, especially the great martyr leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, may God be pleased with them all.”

In other world reaction, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a condemnatory statement, expressing its concern over the U.S. action. “This step by Washington could have grave consequences for regional peace and stability,” said the Ministry, adding “In our view, such actions do not contribute to the finding of solutions to the complicated problems that have accumulated in the Middle East; to the contrary they lead to further escalation of tensions in the region.”

Beijing’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said, “China has always opposed the use of force in international relations. We advocate that all sides should earnestly respect the goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms of international relations. Iraq’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity should be respected. The stability and peace in Middle East gulf region should be maintained.” He added that “We urge relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalation of tensions.”

During a Paris radio interview, Junior French Foreign Minister Amelie de Montchalin said, “”It’s the next step in an escalation which has been going on for months. What is happening is what we feared: tensions between the United States and Iran are increasing. Our priority is to stabilize the region, we need to create the right conditions to stabilize the region. That means in the next few hours at the highest levels of government – (Foreign Minister) Jean-Yves Le Drian, the President (Emmanuel Macron) – we’re going to make contact with all the partners in the region because there are a lot of consequences: consequences for peace in the region – we know it’s quite an unstable region; consequences on the coalition against Islamic State – our capacity to fight terrorism in the region, which remains the primary threat; and it has consequences for nuclear proliferation, and as you know we are extremely vigilant on that.”

Germany’s Government Spokesperson Ulrike Demmer commented that “The American action was a reaction to a series of military provocations for which Iran is responsible. I recall the attacks on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and on Saudi oil plants. We have condemned the attacks on the coalition troops in Iraq as well as the recent attacks on the U.S. Embassy.” She added, “We also see with great concern Iran’s activities in the region. We stand before a dangerous escalation. Now it is crucial to contribute to a de-escalation in a cautious and considerate manner. The regional conflicts can only be solved in a diplomatic way and we are in contact about this with our allies.”

The Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups in Gaza have also spoken out against the U.S.. Hamas extended “its dearest condolences to the Iranian leadership and the people of Iran at the martyrdom of Major General Qassem Soleimani.” Spokesman Hazem Qassem vowed, “The Islamic resistance movement Hamas condemns the crime perpetrated by the United States of America, by assassinating the Iranian Major military Commander Qassem Soleimani – who had a prominent and manifest role to support the Palestinian issue and resistance.”

He further asserted that, “This crime expresses the American debauchery in the region and a violation of the sovereignty of Arab countries. It is a way to stir discord and tension in the region to serve the interests of the Zionist enemy.”

Hamas official Bassem Naim threatened on Twitter that the assassination “opens the doors of the region to all possibilities, except calm & stability,” stressing that the “USA bears the responsibility for that.”