As Iraqis awoke Friday morning to the news that Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the mastermind of its ascending global military influence, had been killed by a targeted U.S. drone strike soon after touching down at the Baghdad International Airport, it didn’t take long for many of the embattled nation’s youth to start circulating photos and messages praising President Trump.
“Happy Friday to Uncle Trump,” one meme read. “You are a great Commander,” cheered another.
Scores flooded Tahrir Square in Baghdad to dance in jubilation and express their gratitude for the killing.
“I am very happy that America could kill these two criminals,” enthused one activist and former government employee, who feared using his name given the Iran-backed militias have directly targeted him.
Demonstrator Mohammed Mazin, 22, one of thousands who have pushed for Tehran’s dominance in Baghdad to be squashed, agreed.
“I feel happy for this good news,” he said. “Soleimani was behind the death of many demonstrators in Iraq. He brought a lot of bad things and sectarianism wars here.”
But the celebration was cut short Friday evening by a stabbing attack against demonstrators reportedly carried out by veiled men – an ominous sign for Iraq’s murky future. Indeed, the drone strike has infuriated the Baghdad government – not only blindsiding them but embarrassing them by signifying what little control they have over their sovereignty.
“Things are moving very fast, but the leaders want the U.S. troops out now,” one high-ranking official who was not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News. “The U.S. was only authorized to be in Iraq with the government’s approval for a specific purpose – to fight ISIS. This was a violation of that agreement.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi concurred that the strike breached the conditions of U.S. military presence in Iraq and “should be met with legislation that safeguards Iraq’s security and sovereignty.
“This is reckless. We want President Trump to study the consequences for killing Soleimani,” Sameera Abdullah, 33, contended. “We want reckless, irresponsible acts taken away from Iraq.”
The Iran-backed militias that spawned in Iraq, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), have been quick to threaten prompt revenge on U.S. personnel and interests. Slaughtered alongside Soleimani at the airport was his close confidante Abu Mahdi al-Mohandas, the deputy head of the PMF.
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