Mideast on war footing after Gen Soleimani’s killing, Israel mobilises tanks at Syria & Lebanon border
London: Iran has vowed to take ‘crushing revenge’ for the US’ assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani. While the world is debating on what Iran’s next move would be, the military movements in the Middle East have intensified. The US soldiers who had arrived in Kuwait are preparing to enter Iraq. On the other hand, given the increased possibility of attacks from Iran and Iran-backed groups, Israel has deployed its tanks on the Syria-Lebanon border.
Iran could launch millions of rockets on Israel, a close US ally, to avenge the killing of Major-General Qassem Soleimani. Senior Iranian military officials, as also Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis and Iran-backed groups in Iraq had issued such threats in the past. Considering the chances of the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel after abandoning his Greece visit midway.
If Iraq asks US troops to leave, we will impose severe sanctions against them, warns US President Trump
Washington: The Iraqi parliament unanimously passed a resolution to expel US soldiers from the country and shut down the US military bases. Infuriated by the decision, President Trump lambasted the Iraqi leaders in stern words. Trump issued a severe warning to Iraq, where he said, ‘The US military will not withdraw entirely from Iraq unless Iraq pays billions of dollars for the US military bases in Iraq. Even so, if the United States is asked to close its bases, we will charge Iraq sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.’
A resolution was moved in the Iraqi parliament to expel all the US soldiers from the country. The parliament thus warned the United States to withdraw its military from the state. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Mahdi, known for being pro-Iran, strongly supported the move for the withdrawal of US troops although the US President responded with much anger.
US-Iran Tensions: Trump to hit Iran with ‘punishing economic sanctions’ to avoid escalation but ‘stands ready to strike’
Washington/Tehran – The events in the Middle East began to pick up speed, and a series of developments unfolded after the US killed Iran’s top military commander Major General Qassem Soleimani last Friday. Solemani was the chief of Quds Force, an elite and crucial unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and believed to be the second-most-powerful person in Iran. The attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on New Year’s Eve is said to have triggered the US move leading it to the Soleimani killing. The assassination invited a severe response from Tehran with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei threatening the United States with ‘harsh revenge.’ The country even declared the US troops ‘terrorists’ for executing the Soleimani killing. On the other hand, the US warned it had ‘locked and loaded’ its weapons to target 52 Iranian locations that included even its cultural sites.
Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council suspects potential sabotage in Iran plane crash
London: A likely sabotage is suspected in the Ukrainian plane crash of Boing 737 passenger airliner, that took off from Tehran for Kyiv. A British newspaper claimed the plane was probably hit by a rocket and did not crash because of a technical snag. However, Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, made a suggestive statement that fragments of the Russian rocket found near the crash site, needed to be examined.
On Tuesday night, the plane took off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran with 176 passengers for Kyiv in Ukraine and crashed at a deserted site in Parand near Tehran. The Iranian agencies informed that the crash occurred because of engine failure. Iran suggested the plane could have collapsed as the pilot likely lost control over the aircraft. Nevertheless, Iran refused to hand over the black box flight recorder (which records all flight data and conversations in the cockpit), recovered from the broken part of the plane, to Boing or any agencies from the United States.
US President Trump says NATO must expand to include the Middle East and suggests naming it – ‘NATOME’
Washington: Given the recent US-Iran tensions, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) should consider the Middle Eastern nations while expanding and include them in the military alliance, demanded US President Donald Trump. Trump is said to have made the proposal to the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during a telephonic discussion. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also discussed the matter with NATO chief, which NATO has confirmed. Previously, in 2018, Trump attempted to form the ‘Arab NATO’ to counter Iran.
Tensions escalated significantly in the Middle East after the US drone attack on Iran’s top military commander Major-General Qassem Soleimani. After that, Iran launched hypersonic missiles on two US bases in Iraq. Also, Iran-backed groups attacked the US embassy in Iraq twice with rockets.
Iran distributes fliers for recruiting ‘suicide terrorists’; media claim it a students’ initiative for targeted attacks on US & Israel
Tehran/Washington – Iranian universities are enrolling students, who are willing to carry out suicide attacks on the United States and Israel to avenge the killing of Iran’s top military commander Major-General Qassem Soleimani. The Iranian media created a sensation by carrying the report. Not just that, but the Iranian media have even posted the application for it on the website. The Iranian regime is thus sending the message that Iran may not have military strength comparable to the United States. Still, it can get the United States and Israel to its knees with terrorist attacks.
The application form is being distributed as fliers and carries a message from the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. It is in the Farsi language and has the following message, ‘Hard revenge is underway for those criminals who killed Qassem Soleimani. Kill all infidels. A plan is being drawn out for the purpose. Registration for volunteers to commit a suicide attack against the United States and Israel is available.’ Amir Abbas Fakhravar, an Iranian dissident, who fled Iran after being frustrated with the Iranian regime, has translated the flier for a US newspaper. The leaflets were distributed in Iran’s ‘Islamic Azad University’. The US daily claimed that the fliers seek details from the applicants such as name, birth date, educational qualifications, occupation, phone number and special skills if any. The leaflets for the registrations are being distributed by the student wing Basij paramilitary militia, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).