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US-Iran hostility rise after drone attack

US-Iran hostility rise after drone attack
NEW YORK/ WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS, JAN 4 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 1/4/2020 12:38:14 PM IST

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said Saturday “the response for a military action is military action,” as fears grew that a US airstrike that killed the head of Tehran’s elite Quds force and mastermind of its security and intelligence strategy will draw Washington and the Middle East region into a broader military conflict. 

Iran has already vowed an unspecified harsh retaliation for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani near the Iraqi capital’s international airport on Thursday. President Donald Trump said he ordered the strike to prevent a conflict with Iran because Soleimani was plotting attacks that endangered American troops and officials.

Analysts said because Iran can’t match the U.S.’s military strength its potential targets for revenge range from rocket attacks on U.S. allies such as Israel to sabotaging oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital passageway for oil supplies.

It could also embark on a sustained campaign of cyber-warfare or target American citizens and troops abroad near embassies and consulates or military installations. 

It will “not play out on U.S. televisions as some grand campaign. It will be asymmetric and messy, playing out on shipping lanes and computer servers,” said Gregory Brew, a historian of Iran and its oil industry, in a social media post.

Richard N. Haass, a former U.S. diplomat who worked for both Presidents Bush, said the “region (and possibly the world) will be the battlefield.”

But comments from Iran’s New York-based envoy to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, that “we have to act and we will act” further raise the prospect of an all-out war. “The U.S. started the economic war in May 2018 and last night they started a military war by an act of terror against one of our top generals,” Ravanchi said in remarks published by Iranian state media.

US to deploy 3,500 more troops: The US will deploy some 3,500 more troops to the Middle East as early as this weekend following the death of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in an attack ordered by President Donald Trump, it was reported.

The additional troops from the 82nd Airborne Division will be deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and other parts of the region, Xinhua news agency quoted an NBC News report as saying on Friday.

The soldiers will join roughly 650 others already deployed to the region and remain for some 60 days, NBC News said in the report citing US officials as saying.

NATO suspends training missions in Iraq: NATO has suspended its training missions in Iraq, a spokesman for the alliance said Saturday, following the US killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

The NATO mission in Iraq, which consists of several hundred personnel, trains the country’s security forces at the request of the Baghdad government to prevent the return of the Islamic State jihadist group. “NATO’s mission is continuing, but training activities are currently suspended,” said the spokesman, Dylan White.

 

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