“Reckless,” “a dangerous escalation,” and “severe revenge”: These are just a few of the words coming from international leaders and politicians in the wake of the U.S. assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top military commander and the face of the Islamic Republic’s interventions across the Middle East.
“A #SevereRevenge awaits the criminals who have stained their hands with his & the other martyrs’ blood last night,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s most powerful leader, wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “Martyr Soleimani is an Intl figure of Resistance & all such people will seek revenge.”
The Thursday night airstrike that killed Iran’s most notorious military commander and spy, who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force – the military entity’s overseas wing – for more than 20 years, is sending shockwaves through the Middle East and beyond. According to Phillip Smyth, a Shia Islamist militarism expert and senior fellow at the Washington Institute, it’s “the most major decapitation strike the U.S. has ever engaged in.”