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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 367)

Qassim Suleimani, Iranian General, Cast Long Shadow Over Middle East

Westlake Legal Group merlin_161962773_db0478fc-703f-4add-ab7d-d834e3be8d8b-facebookJumbo Qassim Suleimani, Iranian General, Cast Long Shadow Over Middle East Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iraq Iran

In July 2018, after President Trump warned Iran’s president not to threaten the United States, a rejoinder came not from the Iranian leader but from a shadowy military figure perhaps even more powerful.

“It is beneath the dignity of our president to respond to you,” Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani declared in a speech in western Iran. “I, as a soldier, respond to you.”

On Thursday, General Suleimani was reported killed in an airstrike in Baghdad.

The general was a figure of intense interest to people both in and out of Iran.

It is not just that he was in charge of Iranian intelligence gathering and covert military operations, and regarded as one of its most cunning and autonomous military figures. He was also believed to be very close to the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — and seen as a potential future leader of Iran.

He was considered the most effective military intelligence official in the region.

That General Suleimani was in Iraq when he was killed — at the Baghdad International Airport — was not surprising.

He was in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, a special forces unit responsible for Iranian operations outside Iran’s borders. He once described himself to a senior Iraqi intelligence official as the “sole authority for Iranian actions in Iraq,” the official later told American officials in Baghdad.

In his speech denouncing President Trump, he was even less discreet — and openly mocking.

“We are near you, where you can’t even imagine,” he said. “We are ready. We are the man of this arena.”

Well before the speech, American officials had learned to see General Suleimani as a formidable adversary.

After the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein, the United States accused General Suleimani of plotting attacks on American soldiers. And in 2011, the Treasury Department placed him on a sanctions blacklist, accusing him of complicity in what American officials called a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

But at times, adversary looked more like ally, however tenuous the relationship. American officials also cooperated with the Iranian general in Iraq to reverse gains made by the Islamic State — a mutual enemy.

At the height of the Iraq War, as the Quds Force under General Suleimani armed and trained Shiite militias in Iraq, former American officials have said the general was stoking violence and then mediating the conflict, so he could make himself indispensable and keep the Iraqis off balance. According to a June 2008 cable written by Ryan C. Crocker, then the American ambassador to Baghdad, General Suleimani played a role in brokering a cease-fire that enabled the battered Shiite militias in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, which Iran was supporting, to withdraw.

In 2015, General Suleimani was in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, commanding Iraqi Shiite militias that were trying to recapture it from ISIS fighters. American warplanes belatedly joined that campaign.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda matches with Genie while using Disney character Instagram filter

Zelda Williams, daughter of the late Robin Williams, got a sweet surprise while using Instagram.

The app recently released a new filter that pairs users with an iconic Disney character, reading “Which Disney are you?” before cycling through several characters, eventually landing on one.

When Williams, also an actress, used the filter, she was matched with Genie from 1992’s “Aladdin,” famously voiced by her father.

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ SON NAMES FIRSTBORN CHILD AFTER LATE FATHER

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ DAUGHTER ZELDA OPENS UP ABOUT HER LATE FATHER: ‘THESE WEEKS ARE THE HARDEST FOR ME’

The 30-year-old laughed out loud and captioned the video: “Welp…”

She shared the 6-second clip to Twitter, as well, writing “Y’all…” in the caption.

Westlake Legal Group Reuters_RobinWilliamsZeldaWilliams Robin Williams' daughter Zelda matches with Genie while using Disney character Instagram filter Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc eb4956c4-9f64-5b66-a232-25846cfc32e6 article

Zelda Williams and her late father Robin Williams. (Reuters)

Zelda Williams is one of the “Mrs. Doubtfire” star’s three children, alongside Cody, 28, and Zak, 36.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Robin died in 2014 at the age of 63.

Westlake Legal Group Reuters-ZeldaRobin Robin Williams' daughter Zelda matches with Genie while using Disney character Instagram filter Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc eb4956c4-9f64-5b66-a232-25846cfc32e6 article   Westlake Legal Group Reuters-ZeldaRobin Robin Williams' daughter Zelda matches with Genie while using Disney character Instagram filter Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc eb4956c4-9f64-5b66-a232-25846cfc32e6 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Qassim Suleimani, Iranian General, Cast Long Shadow Over Middle East

Westlake Legal Group merlin_161962773_db0478fc-703f-4add-ab7d-d834e3be8d8b-facebookJumbo Qassim Suleimani, Iranian General, Cast Long Shadow Over Middle East Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iraq Iran

In July 2018, after President Trump warned Iran’s president not to threaten the United States, a rejoinder came not from the Iranian leader but from a shadowy military figure perhaps even more powerful.

“It is beneath the dignity of our president to respond to you,” Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani declared in a speech in western Iran. “I, as a soldier, respond to you.”

On Thursday, General Suleimani was reported killed in an airstrike in Baghdad.

The general was a figure of intense interest to people both in and out of Iran.

It is not just that he was in charge of Iranian intelligence gathering and covert military operations, and regarded as one of its most cunning and autonomous military figures. He was also believed to be very close to the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — and seen as a potential future leader of Iran.

He was considered the most effective military intelligence official in the region.

That General Suleimani was in Iraq when he was killed — at the Baghdad International Airport — was not surprising.

He was in charge of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, a special forces unit responsible for Iranian operations outside Iran’s borders. He once described himself to a senior Iraqi intelligence official as the “sole authority for Iranian actions in Iraq,” the official later told American officials in Baghdad.

In his speech denouncing President Trump, he was even less discreet — and openly mocking.

“We are near you, where you can’t even imagine,” he said. “We are ready. We are the man of this arena.”

Well before the speech, American officials had learned to see General Suleimani as a formidable adversary.

After the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein, the United States accused General Suleimani of plotting attacks on American soldiers. And in 2011, the Treasury Department placed him on a sanctions blacklist, accusing him of complicity in what American officials called a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

But at times, adversary looked more like ally, however tenuous the relationship. American officials also cooperated with the Iranian general in Iraq to reverse gains made by the Islamic State — a mutual enemy.

At the height of the Iraq War, as the Quds Force under General Suleimani armed and trained Shiite militias in Iraq, former American officials have said the general was stoking violence and then mediating the conflict, so he could make himself indispensable and keep the Iraqis off balance. According to a June 2008 cable written by Ryan C. Crocker, then the American ambassador to Baghdad, General Suleimani played a role in brokering a cease-fire that enabled the battered Shiite militias in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, which Iran was supporting, to withdraw.

In 2015, General Suleimani was in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, commanding Iraqi Shiite militias that were trying to recapture it from ISIS fighters. American warplanes belatedly joined that campaign.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Howard Kurtz rips ‘outrageous’ NYT tweet about ‘Iraqi mourners’ storming Baghdad embassy

Westlake Legal Group howard-kurtz-NYT Howard Kurtz rips 'outrageous' NYT tweet about 'Iraqi mourners' storming Baghdad embassy Yael Halon fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 676371c2-6246-51e3-84f7-b3415a781d99

MediaBuzz” host Howard Kurtz criticized The New York Times Thursday for a tweet that referred to Iran-backed militia members who stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week as “Iraqi mourners.”

“I’m scratching my head over this one,” Kurtz said on “The Story.”

BAGHDAD ROCKET ATTACK KILLS IRANIAN MILITARY LEADERS

“I think it’s outrageous that The Times’ tweet will refer to ‘mourners’ … these weren’t a bunch of demonstrators who lost their heads. These are ‘death to America’-type, Iranian-backed militias who went there for the express purpose of causing havoc, setting fires, possibly doing harm … although fortunately, our defenses helped.”

Crowds of angry Iraqis protesting America’s recent airstrikes against an Iran-backed militia laid siege to the U.S. Embassy compound, chanting “Down, down USA!” as they stormed through the main gate, prompting U.S. guards to fire tear gas in response.

However, the Times offered a more sympathetic description of the mob.

“Hundreds of Iraqi mourners tried to storm the United States Embassy in Baghdad, shouting ‘Down, down USA!,’ in response to deadly American airstrikes this week that killed 25 fighters,” the paper tweeted with its report. The report itself made no mention of “mourners” at the compound, although it noted that Iraq’s prime minister “announced an official three-day mourning period for the men killed in the strikes.”

The Times faced immediate backlash from many on social media, including Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Iraqi “mourners”? It’s like @JZarif has become the Managing Editor of the New York Times,” Zeldin wrote, referring to Iran’s foreign minister. “These are Iranian backed terrorists attacking US military personnel & diplomats shouting ‘Death to America’ as they try to break into the US Embassy in Baghdad setting fires on the way.”

“You got to make clear to readers and viewers that whatever words you want to use, these were people that were intent on doing harm on our American embassy in Baghdad,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz also cautioned liberal commentators against referring to the incident in Baghdad this week as “Trump’s Benghazi” after MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted the term in an attempt to draw parallels to the 2012 attack in Libya that left four Americans dead.

“As Trump’s Benghazi unfolds in Iraq…” the MSNBC host tweeted while sharing a Twitter statement from President Trump that said, “Read the Transcripts!”

TED CRUZ BASHES MSNBC’S JOY REID FOR HER ‘TRUMP BENGHAZI’ CLAIM

“I still think it isn’t a particularly good idea for liberal commentators to bring up Benghazi because what the White House will say, with some justification is ‘We avoided any situation like Benghazi, we’re getting troops there, nobody breached the inner walls,’ and I think that is a losing argument,” Kurtz said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Thank god that that’s been the case for our people stationed there,” he added.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wolfsohn contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group howard-kurtz-NYT Howard Kurtz rips 'outrageous' NYT tweet about 'Iraqi mourners' storming Baghdad embassy Yael Halon fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 676371c2-6246-51e3-84f7-b3415a781d99   Westlake Legal Group howard-kurtz-NYT Howard Kurtz rips 'outrageous' NYT tweet about 'Iraqi mourners' storming Baghdad embassy Yael Halon fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 676371c2-6246-51e3-84f7-b3415a781d99

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Nicolas Cage buys UK bar a round of drinks on New Year’s Eve

Nicolas Cage was in a giving mood this New Year’s Eve.

The “National Treasure” star celebrated the year’s end at a small bar in the U.K. and bought the bar a round of drinks.

One Reddit user shared a photo of Cage, 55, behind the bar, posing with fans.

NICOLAS CAGE ARRIVES UNRECOGNIZABLE AT ‘RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL’ FILM PREMIERE

“Nicolas Cage spent NYE in my small, local pub, in Somerset, UK,” the user said. “He bought everyone a drink.”

In the comments, the user added: “Incidentally, he was a total legend, cool dude and is now a member.”

Westlake Legal Group NicCage640a Nicolas Cage buys UK bar a round of drinks on New Year's Eve Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9252cf01-ed28-5235-80a9-771b391a3a1f

Nicolas Cage bought a UK bar a round of drinks on New Year’s Eve.  (AP)

Another Reddit user shared a selfie she snapped with the actor.

“Nicolas Cage was in my local town pub,” the photo was captioned.

NICOLAS CAGE, ERIKA KIOKE DIVORCE GRANTED AFTER ENDING RELATIONSHIP 4 DAYS INTO MARRIAGE: REPORT

Cage is set to play himself in an upcoming film titled “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Per the outlet, the project will pay homage to the likes of “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Face/Off” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

Westlake Legal Group weston-cage-nicolas-cage Nicolas Cage buys UK bar a round of drinks on New Year's Eve Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9252cf01-ed28-5235-80a9-771b391a3a1f

Nicolas Cage and his son Weston Cage in 2016. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images) (Getty)

The film will follow Cage as he attempts to join the cast of a Quentin Tarantino film to resurrect his career while navigating his relationship with his teenage daughter.

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A version of Cage from the 1990s will also reportedly appear, upset with the trajectory of Cage’s life as he struggles with debt, marital strife and the Mexican cartel.

Westlake Legal Group nicolas-cage-getty Nicolas Cage buys UK bar a round of drinks on New Year's Eve Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9252cf01-ed28-5235-80a9-771b391a3a1f   Westlake Legal Group nicolas-cage-getty Nicolas Cage buys UK bar a round of drinks on New Year's Eve Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9252cf01-ed28-5235-80a9-771b391a3a1f

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Jeopardy!’s’ Alex Trebek says he will need 30 seconds for exit on final episode: ‘I will say my goodbyes’

Westlake Legal Group aa72edf2142be55ac3441884048079f7w-c0xd-w640_h480_q80 'Jeopardy!'s' Alex Trebek says he will need 30 seconds for exit on final episode: 'I will say my goodbyes' Mariah Haas fox-news/shows/jeopardy fox-news/person/alex-trebek fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ce10d61e-d624-5954-89d7-d1a7aaa234f9 article

Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek already has some idea of what he is going to tell the show’s audience on the day of his final taping, whenever that may be.

In an interview with ABC’s Michael Strahan on Thursday evening, Trebek said he’ll ask the game show’s director to leave him 30 seconds at the very end.

“I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me… then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success,”’ he said. “And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.”

‘JEOPARDY!’ HOST ALEX TREBEK RENEWS CONTRACT THROUGH 2022 AFTER HINTING AT RETIREMENT

Trebek, who has hosted the popular game show since 1984, announced in March 2018 that he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He has said in the past that he will stay “as long as my skills have not diminished.”

‘JEOPARDY!’ HOST ALEX TREBEK RECORDS PANCREATIC CANCER PSA: ‘I WISH I HAD KNOWN SOONER’

However, the 79-year-old famed TV personality told Strahan, 48, that the process had already begun. Trebek did not specify what he meant.

If there is a target date for his exit, Trebek isn’t letting on. “Jeopardy!” tapes each show weeks in advance.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trebek and his wife, Jean, sat down for the interview to promote a special tournament featuring three of the show’s best and most well-known contestants: Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.

The tournament starts airing on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group aa72edf2142be55ac3441884048079f7w-c0xd-w640_h480_q80 'Jeopardy!'s' Alex Trebek says he will need 30 seconds for exit on final episode: 'I will say my goodbyes' Mariah Haas fox-news/shows/jeopardy fox-news/person/alex-trebek fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ce10d61e-d624-5954-89d7-d1a7aaa234f9 article   Westlake Legal Group aa72edf2142be55ac3441884048079f7w-c0xd-w640_h480_q80 'Jeopardy!'s' Alex Trebek says he will need 30 seconds for exit on final episode: 'I will say my goodbyes' Mariah Haas fox-news/shows/jeopardy fox-news/person/alex-trebek fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ce10d61e-d624-5954-89d7-d1a7aaa234f9 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iranian Commander Qassem Soleimani Assassinated By U.S. In Baghdad Airstrike

Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian commander and one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East, was killed in an airstrike on the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq at the direction of President Donald Trump, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday. The assassination marks a monumental escalation toward Iran.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike was aimed at thwarting “an imminent attack” that Soleimani was planning “in the region.”

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a pro-Iranian militia leader who was a senior figure in Iraq’s government-linked Popular Mobilization Forces, was also killed in the Iraq attack, according to reports from The Associated Press and Reuters.

The incident will have mammoth implications for the Middle East because Soleimani was the central figure in Iran’s significant network of influence across the region. It’s likely to seriously affect the U.S. position there ― with Tehran’s allies already blaming Washington for the death, a greater escalation between U.S. and Iranian forces and their partners appears inevitable. Thousands of U.S. forces are currently within rocket range of Iran’s military and in close proximity to Iran-backed fighters, chiefly in Iraq and Syria, as part of deployments in the ongoing fight against the self-described Islamic State (ISIS). 

The U.S. launched strikes against targets linked to Iran on Friday, officials told Reuters. According to The Washington Post, the Trump administration reportedly began discussing the strike last week after an American contractor died in an attack that U.S. officials blamed on the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah.

At least five people died in the flare-up, according to The New York Times, including Soleimani and Muhandis.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0ecc282500003b1998fa4e Iranian Commander Qassem Soleimani Assassinated By U.S. In Baghdad Airstrike

Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via ASSOCIATED PRESS A vehicle burns at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in early Friday. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for the Iraqi militia coalition to which Muhandis belonged, told Reuters.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif called the airstrike “extremely dangerous” and a “foolish escalation.”

“The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Zarif tweeted.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, was not given any advance notice of the airstrike, according to an aide.

Trump officials did not immediately provide information on their plans to manage the fallout from the strike. Pompeo said Friday administration leaders would “do our best” to release information in the coming days.

“I worked the Iran account for years at the [White House] under two presidents. I’m honestly terrified right now that we don’t have a functioning national security process to evaluate options and prepare for contingencies,” Kelly Magsamen, a vice president at the Center for American Progress, wrote on Twitter. “God help us.”

The U.S. and Iran both work closely with the Iraqi state and tacitly cooperated in the country for years to combat ISIS. Both have major presences in the country. Experts worry that if their relationship deteriorates further ― and if Baghdad becomes wary of the U.S. because of Iranian pressure or Iraqi anger about American violations of the nation’s sovereignty ― America could face a new national security risk and lose crucial gains in the counterterrorism fight.

Demonstrators connected to Iran besieged the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week after Trump ordered strikes on a pro-Iranian militia in Iraq last weekend. Analysts expected some kind of American pushback, but most appeared surprised by how far Trump went. Though hawks like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) celebrated the news, their messages didn’t extend to commentary on the long-term effects of the killings. 

It’s also unclear what degree of military action Washington will now choose to engage in, and scholars dispute the legal interpretations it will base them on. Soleimani and Muhandis were both members of organizations that the U.S. designates as terrorist groups, but American decision-makers have not in recent years made a habit of targeting their forces or leaders of their rank in this way.

Soleimani’s absence could reshape Mideast politics. Local power brokers saw him as a highly capable operative who could cause serious damage ― including to American interests ― yet managed to largely do so in ways that served his and Iran’s overall strategy. His country’s leadership is likely to feel it must react strongly and loudly, and could do so in a variety of contexts.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0e97cd25000079bad31a71 Iranian Commander Qassem Soleimani Assassinated By U.S. In Baghdad Airstrike

STR/AFP via Getty Images Gen. Qassem Soleimani attends celebrations marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in 2016 in Tehran.

“Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote on Twitter. “The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”

Trump did not issue a public statement on the attacks. Instead, he tweeted a photo of the U.S. flag and did not include any text.

This article has been updated to include Pompeo’s statement.

Marina Fang contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iranian Commander Qassem Soleimani Assassinated By U.S. In Baghdad Airstrike

Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian commander and one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East, was killed in an airstrike on the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq at the direction of President Donald Trump, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday. The assassination marks a monumental escalation toward Iran.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike was aimed at thwarting “an imminent attack” that Soleimani was planning “in the region.”

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a pro-Iranian militia leader who was a senior figure in Iraq’s government-linked Popular Mobilization Forces, was also killed in the Iraq attack, according to reports from The Associated Press and Reuters.

The incident will have mammoth implications for the Middle East because Soleimani was the central figure in Iran’s significant network of influence across the region. It’s likely to seriously affect the U.S. position there ― with Tehran’s allies already blaming Washington for the death, a greater escalation between U.S. and Iranian forces and their partners appears inevitable. Thousands of U.S. forces are currently within rocket range of Iran’s military and in close proximity to Iran-backed fighters, chiefly in Iraq and Syria, as part of deployments in the ongoing fight against the self-described Islamic State (ISIS). 

The U.S. launched strikes against targets linked to Iran on Friday, officials told Reuters. According to The Washington Post, the Trump administration reportedly began discussing the strike last week after an American contractor died in an attack that U.S. officials blamed on the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah.

At least five people died in the flare-up, according to The New York Times, including Soleimani and Muhandis.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0ecc282500003b1998fa4e Iranian Commander Qassem Soleimani Assassinated By U.S. In Baghdad Airstrike

Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via ASSOCIATED PRESS A vehicle burns at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in early Friday. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for the Iraqi militia coalition to which Muhandis belonged, told Reuters.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif called the airstrike “extremely dangerous” and a “foolish escalation.”

“The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Zarif tweeted.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, was not given any advance notice of the airstrike, according to an aide.

Trump officials did not immediately provide information on their plans to manage the fallout from the strike. Pompeo said Friday administration leaders would “do our best” to release information in the coming days.

“I worked the Iran account for years at the [White House] under two presidents. I’m honestly terrified right now that we don’t have a functioning national security process to evaluate options and prepare for contingencies,” Kelly Magsamen, a vice president at the Center for American Progress, wrote on Twitter. “God help us.”

The U.S. and Iran both work closely with the Iraqi state and tacitly cooperated in the country for years to combat ISIS. Both have major presences in the country. Experts worry that if their relationship deteriorates further ― and if Baghdad becomes wary of the U.S. because of Iranian pressure or Iraqi anger about American violations of the nation’s sovereignty ― America could face a new national security risk and lose crucial gains in the counterterrorism fight.

Demonstrators connected to Iran besieged the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week after Trump ordered strikes on a pro-Iranian militia in Iraq last weekend. Analysts expected some kind of American pushback, but most appeared surprised by how far Trump went. Though hawks like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) celebrated the news, their messages didn’t extend to commentary on the long-term effects of the killings. 

It’s also unclear what degree of military action Washington will now choose to engage in, and scholars dispute the legal interpretations it will base them on. Soleimani and Muhandis were both members of organizations that the U.S. designates as terrorist groups, but American decision-makers have not in recent years made a habit of targeting their forces or leaders of their rank in this way.

Soleimani’s absence could reshape Mideast politics. Local power brokers saw him as a highly capable operative who could cause serious damage ― including to American interests ― yet managed to largely do so in ways that served his and Iran’s overall strategy. His country’s leadership is likely to feel it must react strongly and loudly, and could do so in a variety of contexts.

Westlake Legal Group 5e0e97cd25000079bad31a71 Iranian Commander Qassem Soleimani Assassinated By U.S. In Baghdad Airstrike

STR/AFP via Getty Images Gen. Qassem Soleimani attends celebrations marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in 2016 in Tehran.

“Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote on Twitter. “The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”

Trump did not issue a public statement on the attacks. Instead, he tweeted a photo of the U.S. flag and did not include any text.

This article has been updated to include Pompeo’s statement.

Marina Fang contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hustler Magazine sends graphic Christmas card to lawmakers depicting Trump’s assassination

Hustler Magazine is under fire of a graphic Christmas card that was sent to several lawmakers featuring a depiction of President Trump‘s assassination.

The cover of the card shows an illustration of a gunman saying, “I just shot Donald Trump on Fifth Avenue. And no one arrested me.”

The inside, however, shows a figure resembling President Trump laying in a pool of blood in the middle of a busy street with smiling civilians along with the gunman saying, “Merry Christmas”

The card adds, “from all of us at Hustler” in the bottom corner.

One of the recipients, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., condemned the card.

RON HOWARD TRASHES TRUMP ON TWITTER, CALLS HIM A ‘MORALLY BANKRUPT EGO MANIAC’

“Here’s all you need to know about the radical Left. A young staffer of mine opened this in a stack of holiday mail today. Just imagine if a conservative had distributed such a disgusting and hateful piece about a Democrat. I hope this will be investigated by the @secretservice,” Johnson tweeted.

Westlake Legal Group Hustler-Trump-montage Hustler Magazine sends graphic Christmas card to lawmakers depicting Trump's assassination Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/media fnc article 12c26ec6-77c8-5ec5-b2bf-f49d14ae3c04

Mark Zaid, the anti-Trump attorney who legally represents the whistleblower in the Ukraine scandal, also slammed the card.

“This is unacceptable, and clearly I’m no fan of this President. But this absolutely crosses the line and there should be a public apology. Something like this is not a joking matter,” Zaid tweeted.

Hustler Magazine confirmed the card’s authenticity to Fox News but declined to provide further comment.

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The magazine’s founder, Larry Flynt, has previously expressed animosity towards the president. Back in 2017, Flynt and Hustler Magazine put a full-page ad in The Washington Post offering a “$10 million” reward for “information leading to the impeachment and removal of office” of President Trump.

Fox News’ Charlie Creitz contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Hustler-Trump-montage Hustler Magazine sends graphic Christmas card to lawmakers depicting Trump's assassination Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/media fnc article 12c26ec6-77c8-5ec5-b2bf-f49d14ae3c04   Westlake Legal Group Hustler-Trump-montage Hustler Magazine sends graphic Christmas card to lawmakers depicting Trump's assassination Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/media fnc article 12c26ec6-77c8-5ec5-b2bf-f49d14ae3c04

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Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case

Several hundred members of Congress filed “amicus,” or supporting, briefs in a closely watched upcoming Supreme Court case that could decide the future of abortion access.

The brief from 207 mostly GOPers included signatures from Sens. Mitt Romney, John Cornyn, Marco Rubio and Reps Steve Scalise and Liz Cheney. The opposing brief was signed by 197 members of Congress — a mostly Democratic group that included Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler.

The mostly Republican signatories — 39 senators and 168 representatives — argued that Louisiana clinics are rife with safety violations — and that the time is ripe to reconsider the legal underpinnings of Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right to an abortion. All were Republicans except Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski and Collin Peterson.

“Roe’s jurisprudence has been characterized by Delphic confusion and protean change,” the members wrote.

WHY ARE PRO-LIFE DOCTORS CASTING DOUBT ON ABORTION STUDY?

They argued that Roe claimed to establish a fundamental right to abortion — only for the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey to establish a new standard, which required that the government not impose an “undue burden” on abortion rights. Multiple incoherent exceptions and balancing tests have since been employed by the courts, according to the amicus brief.

For example, one Supreme Court case post-Casey defined a law as an “undue burden” on abortion rights if in a “large fraction of the cases in which [the law] is relevant, it will operate as a substantial obstacle” — a test later abandoned. then revived by the high court.

Meanwhile, the Democrats primarily argued that stare decisis, the principle through which existing Supreme Court cases are given deference, dictated that Roe should remain good law.

The high court will hear arguments in March on the case, which involves a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Louisiana statute is virtually identical to a Texas law that the Supreme Court struck down in 2016.

That decision came when Justice Anthony Kennedy was on the bench and before President Donald Trump’s two high court picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined the court.

ILLINOIS REPEALS BAN ON PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONS, AS PRO-LIFE GROUPS LAMENT ‘DEATH PENALTY’ FOR THE UNBORN

At least one justice is likely to find the amicus brief agreeable. Last summer, in a concurring opinion in a Supreme Court case, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a lengthy call for his colleagues to overturn “demonstrably erroneous decisions” even if they have been upheld for decades — prompting legal observers to say Thomas was laying the groundwork to overturn Roe.

Westlake Legal Group AP19294338811154 Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7329deaa-b011-543a-8937-9665d61f8682

Pro-choice activists take part in a photo call in the grounds of Stormont Parliament, Belfast, Monday Oct. 21, 2019. Abortion is set to be decriminalized and same-sex marriage legalized in Northern Ireland as of midnight, bringing its laws in line with the rest of the U.K. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The 5th Circuit Court of appeals recently lifted an injunction issued by a lower court against the Louisiana law, but the Supreme Court quickly restored the injunction.

The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision comes as abortion has taken center stage in legal battles across the United States, with numerous states passing stricter limits on abortion.

Last August, Planned Parenthood announced that it was pulling out of the Title X federal family planning program rather than abide by a new Trump administration rule prohibiting participants from referring patients for abortions.

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Shannon Bream and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096634458001_6096633199001-vs Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7329deaa-b011-543a-8937-9665d61f8682   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096634458001_6096633199001-vs Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7329deaa-b011-543a-8937-9665d61f8682

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