(CNN)US forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against five facilities the Pentagon says are tied to an Iranian-backed militiablamed for a series of attacks on joint US-Iraq military facilities housing American forces.
The strikes occurred at about 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. They stand as the first significant military response in retaliation for attacks by the Shia militia group, known as Kataib Hezbollah, that have injured numerous American military personnel, according to US officials.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman described the strikes against the group as "precision defensive strikes" that "will degrade" the group's ability to conduct future attacks against coalition forces.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper briefed President Donald Trump Saturday before carrying them out with the President's approval, according to a US official familiar with the strikes.
At least 25 people were killed in the US airstrikes, according to a statement Sunday from the Popular Mobilization Units, a Tehran-backed Shiite militia also known as the Hashd al-Shaabi.
Kataib Hezbollah is a group under the Popular Mobilization Units. Jewad Kadum, a PMU official, said in a statement earlier Sunday that the rescue operations were still ongoing as well as the evacuation of the wounded, recovery of the dead bodies and the extinguishing of the fire caused by the airstrikes.
Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, traveled Sunday to Mar-a-Lago to discuss the strikes with Trump.
Speaking from the President's Florida resort, Pompeo said the US took "decisive action" and said threats against American forces had been ongoing for "weeks and weeks."
"We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy," Pompeo said.
US officials said the five targets included three Kataib Hezbollah locations in Iraq and two in Syria. Those locations included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that the group uses "to plan and execute attacks on OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve) coalition forces," according to the Pentagon.
The strikes all came from the air using F-15 Strike Eagle fighter planes, the US official familiar with the strikes said. Secondary explosions were observed after some of the strikes, indicating the sights may have housed ammunition.
While there were multiple strikes, the sites being hit were relatively small, the official told CNN. Whether the US decides to strike further will depend on the activities of the militia, they said, and whether it conducts additional attacks against US interests.
American officials have blamed the group for attacks like one on Friday on a base near Kirkuk, Iraq, that killed a US civilian contractor and injured four other US service members.
Hoffman asserted again in his statement that the group has links to Iranian forces.
"KH has a strong linkage with Iran's Quds Force and has repeatedly received lethal aid and other support from Iran that it has used to attack OIR coalition forces," he said.
At least 100 Marines were deployed Tuesday as reinforcements for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq after Shiite demonstrators protested Sunday's U.S.-led airstrikes against five sites held by militia group Hezbollah, which is allegedly backed by the Iranian government. Protesters set fires outside the embassy building, hurled stones over the walls, broke windows and yelled "Death to America."
There are currently no plans to evacuate the embassy building, according to the Marine Corps Times.
As previously reported by Newsweek, a Pentagon official speaking under the condition of anonymity said the protesters at the embassy "were directly influenced, orchestrated, prodded by the Iranians."
Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper tweeted the deployment Tuesday saying "The Department of Defense is working closely with the State Department to ensure the security of our Embassy and personnel in Baghdad."
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"We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats in country, and to ensure our right of self-defense," Esper continued. "We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy."
"As in all countries, we rely on host nation forces to assist in the protection of our personnel in country, & we call on the Gov't of Iraq to fulfill its international responsibilities to do so," added Esper. "The US continues to support the Iraqi people & a free, sovereign, & prosperous Iraq."
"It would be entirely justified for U.S. forces to now make another larger set of strikes against the Iranian militias in Iraq, especially those with large numbers of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officers and equipment. They are the active menace and must be brought under control if Iraq is ever to be free of Iranian meddling.
But a better way to show Iran that we consider the embassy attack a massive miscalculation would be to destroy much of the Iranian Navy. This would simultaneously remove Iran as a major threat to shipping in the region and would serve as a warning that we mean it when we say we hold the regime in Tehran responsible for the acts of its puppets.
Former U.S. Army intelligence officer Michael Pregent, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, recently created a map of Iranian targets the U.S. could hit if military action becomes necessary. He told the Jerusalem Post the U.S. could hurt Iran without sending troops into the country."
metmike: This has the potential to escalate into something really bad )-:
I don't believe Iran can be held responsible for what an Iran-friendly mob does in another country. It seems to me, this mob needs to be dealt with by the Iraqi military, and if they don't do it, then the US should deal with the mob (not Iran) in a harsher way
guess I do not much who's mob it is. If they left a finger against one of ours its on them. No debate. And what happens to them, they deserve. Except for the occasional air raid hope we still get the heck out of there.
I never know what to think about what's going on in the Middle East.......since much of the news we've received the past 5 decades has been propaganda manufactured to convince us to support a political agenda..........like what Bush did to justify the really dumb/counterproductive war in Iraq.
No doubt there is more going on here that we don't know about and some of the sources for our information will communicate it in a way that gives us their biased view.
I trust Rand Paul more than anybody to understand what is happening and be candid in explaining it.
Thank you USA Today for the wonderful job with this article, especially with the maps!
metmike: Funny comment by Trump about Benghazi as I was actually thinking the same thing before he stated that.
But when packaged as a complete volume, the report delivers on its promise to analyze the entire debacle so the risk of a future disaster is reduced. On the question of how Clinton and the Obama administration reacted, we see more than enough evidence to reaffirm our opinion that the secretary of state failed a crucial chance to show decisive, principled leadership.
"The crux of it is that during and well after the chaos of the attacks on the State Department's outpost and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Clinton and the Obama administration promoted a false narrative for public consumption: that the violence came from a spontaneous outburst of mob anger. Although Clinton confided to her daughter, Chelsea, in an email that night that an al-Qaida faction was responsible, for two weeks she let fester the story that mob action, not a planned assault her department might have anticipated, killed her employees."
metmike: No doubt we have a different dynamic here than in Benghazi but the decisions, so far have assisted in the outcome also being much different(better).
Ironically, this is the response yesterday from the other side that was in charge during Benghazi(from the article above):
"Still, some Democrats blamed what they view as Trump's reckless policies in the Middle East for triggering Tuesday's demonstrations at the embassy.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted that embassy personnel "deserve protection from the Iraqi host government and smart, strong national security strategy from U.S. leaders. Escalation and violence must end.”
To Pelosi: How many US embassy personnel were killed in Bengazi? How many died yesterday?
It's possible that these thousands of demonstrators were not intent on killing people like the terrorists in Bengazi were but nobody died because of the LACK of a smart, strong national security system that was NOT in place in 2012 that should have protected our people. They had ample warnings and opportunities but for some strange reason, chose to NOT protect our people...then lied for 2 weeks about the situation.
If President Trump did this, who thinks that this would be a reason for him to be impeached?
How many key US people died from that avoidable blunder in Bengazi?
How many died from President Trump trying to investigate Biden's real corruption in Ukraine?
Oil taking off
Started by patrick - Jan. 2, 2020, 9:32 p.m.
wait a minute!.... the Democrats in Congress are criticizing Trump for the current actions in the M.E..... reckless escalation of tensions?????
I believe I still have a video somewhere on my hard drive that shows Hillary C being asked about how to deal with Iran.... and she said she would not hesitate to make a preemptive nuclear strike!!!! She would have led us into a nuclear WW3....which would mean the end for almost all of us.
We are lucky that she lost.
My internet has been down but it’s amazing.
The republicans have been celebrating this as a victory, taking out a really bad guy and decisive, appropriate response to Iran’s attacks.
Democrats the complete opposite.
Upset that President Trump did not consult with them first. More abuse of power and escalation of violence that is going to result in retaliation by Iran.
For every action there's a reaction. I've read elsewhere China, Russia and France not happy about what's happening so what's to become of our "flimsy' trade deal concerning soybeans, pork and other commodities with China? Pork and 'beans selling off hard now.
Killing this evil person was a good thing. Sending in a bunch of troops and getting caught up in a war with Iraq, if thats what happens would be a VERY bad thing.
"The strike was carried out without an "authorization for use of military force" against Iran and without the consultation of Congress, the speaker said."
metmike: Is Pelosi on planet earth?
1. Congress was still on vacation thru yesterday when this assassination took place. Congress came back and was in session today. Strategic, assassinations like this one are extraordinarily time sensitive and place sensitive..........and secretive. We wouldn't schedule an appointment with Qassem Soleimani for his assassination when its convenient for Congress, AFTER they authorize President Trump and our special forces to kill him. That's absurd. This might have been the best opportunity......maybe the only opportunity.
2. Who thinks that President Trump can trust Pelosi and the dems trying to destroy him? In Pelosi's own words, President Trump is the biggest threat to human civilization. If they could use this some way to keep him from being elected in 2020(their top priority) they would not hesitate. If they saw this assassination of an evil person as increasing Trumps approval ratings, there is no doubt they would have opposed it.
Updated 12:19 AM ET, Fri December 6, 201
If you're Pelosi, this is what you are thinking: Hmmmmm.....what's more important, "taking out this 1 bad guy, cooperating with President Trump and making him look good", or "civilization as we know it".
"The decision to deploy additional American forces is partly in anticipation of a possible retaliatory attack by Iran or its proxies following a U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran's Quds Force, on Thursday."
Seems hard to imagine that there will not be retaliation of some sort by Iran.
Our European allies don't see things the same way.
"Nathalie Tocci, the director of the Rome-based Italian International Affairs Institute, said the strike against Soleimani was "irresponsible madness" that was likely to expose Europeans in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, where Iran might aim its counterstrikes. Tocci said the fear was that American troops would have to abandon Iraq, leaving its allies exposed.
"We would have no cover any more," she said."
By metmike - Jan. 6, 2020, 11:25 a.m.
Unfortunately, under the circumstances, Trumps character flaws that feature his impulsive tweets, that are now including elevated threats/warnings to Iran are exactly what we DON'T need in this situation.
As a decades long anti war/dove, this is very disturbing.
It's unknown how far that Iran will take this. They don't think like people in the Western World. They are much more powerful than Iraq. China and Russia are considered allies but I don't think those 2 countries would want WW-3.
For those that insist we need to stop using fossil fuels, this sort of thing might be seen as a positive.
A new poll shows the public is narrowly in favor of the airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, but has less faith in President Donald Trump’s overall Iran strategy.
"Views are largely divided along partisan lines. However, breaking from an often-seen pattern of polarization toward Trump’s actions, his supporters are more unified than his opponents: 84% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve of the strike, compared with the 71% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who disapprove."
"But a 57% majority of Americans say they believe the strike makes further military conflict between the U.S. and Iran more likely than before"
metmike:This is why polls are flawed and based on people's cognitive bias. Despite President Trump saying that this was to prevent a war(which seems like an absurd thing to say) the strike absolutely make military conflict much more likely, as in 99% based just on the realities that we know.
How 43% of people don't think so is silly.
If President Trump is doing this to prevent a war, he should not be tweeting the next day that he's considering bombing cultural sites. He loses support for the position from some supporters when stating he might bomb cultural sites.........this is a war crime and would be a horrible thing to do.
I think that he would never do this but is just doing his usual exaggerating(that he does in everything) and, like his threats to N.Korea, were only intended to show strength and a not backing down response to their crazy threats.............a war of words, so to speak.
N.Korea and Iran are completely different.
President Trump ended up meeting, having talks and making friends with the N.Korea leader. If that ever happens here between President Trump and the leader of Iran, then we all must be missing something here...........because history of that region, including the volatile politics/governments/ and the way people think and the different groups fighting each other constantly, says that this is the recipe and motive for Iran to unite against the US................NOT negotiate peace.
I really don't see President Trump getting our of this jam.....................and the negative publicity and attacks in this case will be hard to defend if things escallate..........and they are already raining down hard on him.
He had been doing better in polls recently and improved his chances at getting elected again but this issue, by itself in 2020 could be his demise.
The one wildcard is this.
President Trump wants to be re elected in 2020 more than anything else..........by a wide margin. This is why he timed the deal making with China to take place now.
A very unpopular war with Iran, especially if US lives are being lost is going to kill his chances to be elected again. Even a few soldiers lives will make headline MSM news and be blamed on the president.
He might be willing to do something unprecedented and unexpected to try to make peace...........so that this situation doesn't blow his chances in November 2020.
By metmike - Jan. 8, 2020, 11:58 a.m.
The message seemed pretty clear. in the address to the nation.
President Trump is setting the stage for backing off and letting NATO take over, potentially withdrawing our troops to appease Iran..........after a new deal is cut.
The biggest surprise was him stating that he will be asking NATO to get more involved. No way he says that unless he wants the US LESS involved.
No military strikes or retaliation for yesterdays attacks are coming but the US is ready.
Oil has plunged below $60, down over $5 from the highs last evening.
President Trump wants to be elected again in 2020 and knows that a war with Iran means that will never happen.
He also has acted more like a dove in his actions vs his blustery threats in tweets the past 3 years.
Trump has acted exactly like an American President should act. Like he has American interests at heart. Like he is not afraid to use American power. Like he is proud of this country and is bound to protect it. I do not know when or where is personal interests have crept into this debate but MM I think you being very unfair in the accusation of such. Trump has also acted in way to remove the USD from the evil mess and good for him. Exactly what could the dems criticize now?
I think the message from President Trump was pretty clear earlier today. The US is ready to confront Iran if/when it steps out of line again BUT(this is the new stuff I speculated on and hoped for) he wants peace and a new agreement.
He said some positive/constructive things about Iran and its potential for one thing........which is a Donald Trump not looking for confrontation but looking for common ground and the best interest of both parties.
Most significant was him telling us that he was going to contact NATO and ask them to play a bigger role. This is the type of message that defined his platform 4 years ago and got him elected............let/make the other countries do their share so the US can back out.
He knows that he will not be elected in November if there is an onging war with Iran. He knows also, if this conflict was raging during the debates with the democrat, they would use it as evidence that he destabilized the region with his decisions and is getting us into another conflict that Americans don't want.
He will likely not let that happen, just like he is going to make deals with China before the debates, so he can brag and exaggerate about how the tariffs were worth his wonderful deal/agreement.
He wants to be at full power and peaking when its time to face the democrat.
He has the franchise on the economy and unless it would suddenly collapse, dems will be obliterated in a discussion on that.
He has the winning position on the southern border.....by a wide margin. He got Mexico to help by threatening tariffs(which the dems tried to block) and that has made a difference.
The dems should try to use the fake climate emergency that so many people have been bamboozled into believing because they have been effective at making stuff up, using scary words that actually scare people(needlessly).
He is not a climate expert and will likely say something wrong about the weather/climate, which the MSM will point out, call him a science denier and blame him for destroying the (greening) planet.............and people will believe it. Even though we are having a climate optimum and the best weather/climate in over 1,000 years.
So they can expand this message into more Twilight Zone, completely nonviable green energy policies to replace fossil fuels and tell us that Donald Trump, making the US energy independent is destroying the planet because of his pro fossil fuel position.........which is light years superior to anything they have based on physics, chemistry, economics and common sense..........but people will not know that. They will only hear that he is ruining the planet and the democrats want to save the planet....for our children and grandchildren of course.
It's a bogus position but they can win it with the usual Greta the climate priestess bs.
Also they can hammer him on the Ukraine investigation, especially if its not Biden and the partisan impeachment This one is tricky. If it's Biden, this would likely backfire badly because the facts of what happened with Hunter and Joe are bad for them. Trump trying to investigate their corruption is not nearly as bad as their corruption.
The MSM has refused to address the blatant nepotism at the very least by Joe Biden with 100% certainty and potentially much worse than that but President Trump will not be denied making a convincing case on this in a debate with Biden. I'm sure the dems are very concerned that if Biden gets nominated, he could bleed out his credibility, honesty and integrity on that topic.
For years, they called for a showdown with Tehran. But when it finally happened, they quickly called for calm.
"CBS News has learned that U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down the jetliner in the hours after the Iranian missile attack on U.S. targets earlier this week. There were 176 people killed in the crash, mostly Iranian and Canadian nationals. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also said that his country has intelligence from its own agencies pointing to Iranian missiles hitting the jet.
CBS News visited the crash site on Friday and found that it had already been scrubbed of virtually all debris."
metmike: ABC news tonight showed video of the crash. Just before the plane exploded, the Iranian's fired 2 missiles, one of them hit the plane. You can see it. It appears to be accidental(half the passengers were Iranians) but they shot the plane down with absolute certainty.
The Iranians will look foolish (again) if they continue to deny it when there is video of it.