6, January 2020
The administration of US President Donald Trump is in danger of losing control of the crisis unleashed by the assassination of Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, according to US media reports.
“Trump’s claim that the drone strike last week made Americans safer is being challenged by cascading events that appear to leave the US more vulnerable and isolated, CNN reported Monday.
“The Trump administration is already in danger of losing control of the swift chain reaction and political storm” created by the assassination of General Soleimani, the report said.
Several US lawmakers say there was no evidence of an “imminent attack” by Iran.
Congressional Democrats have expressed skepticism towards the evidence the Trump administration has cited to justify the assassination claimed to have been aimed at averting “imminent attack.”
The administration’s basis for the attack also came under renewed suspicion after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN that it was not “relevant” for him to reveal how imminent the attacks on US interests were that Trump said General Soleimani was planning.
America’s allies in Europe have also distanced themselves from Trump’s attack.
And in a new sign of widening gaps between Iraq and the US, Iraq’s Caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said on Sunday General Soleimani was set to deliver Tehran’s reply to an earlier Saudi message regarding de-escalation talks mediated by Baghdad when he was assassinated.
“The deepening fallout over Iran renewed a focus on Trump’s leadership style and the question of how carefully he had considered the consequences of the attack,” CNN said.
The report said the Trump administration is resisting demands by Democratic lawmakers to share the intelligence that prompted the killing of Soleimani.
“It is critical that national security matters of such import be shared with the American people in a timely manner,” says the letter, issued by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“An entirely classified notification is simply not appropriate in a democratic society, and there appears to be no legitimate justification for classifying this notification,” they added.
CNN also said there was alarm within the administration over Trump’s earlier threat to attack “cultural” sites in Iran if Tehran retaliated against the US.
An attack on cultural sites like a religious shrine or historic monument would have civilian casualties, could violate several international treaties and would likely be considered a war crime.
“Nothing rallies people like the deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites,” one US official told CNN.
“I don’t know what the President’s motivation here is but I think it was a reckless decision that increased the risk to Americans all around the world, not decreased it,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff told CNN.