web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 91)

Pressed for Details on Suleimani Strike, Trump Administration Gives Few

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-intel-4-sub-facebookJumbo-v2 Pressed for Details on Suleimani Strike, Trump Administration Gives Few United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iraq Iran Haspel, Gina Espionage and Intelligence Services Esper, Mark T Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense Department Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency

WASHINGTON — Under increasing pressure to defend the killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq, senior Trump administration officials offered new justifications but little detail on Tuesday, citing threats to the American Embassy in Baghdad and intelligence suggesting other imminent attacks that helped prompt the strike.

Democrats stepped up their criticism of intelligence that the administration provided immediately after the drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The administration’s formal notification to Congress, which remains classified, provided no information on future threats or the imminent attack, officials who have read it said.

Several said it was improperly classified, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, called it “vague and unacceptably unspecific.” Lawmakers pressed for more answers on Tuesday at an intelligence briefing by administration officials.

Iranian forces or their proxies were days from attacking American personnel when President Trump decided to strike General Suleimani, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. Mr. Esper added that General Suleimani had traveled to Baghdad to coordinate attacks following up on a two-day siege of the United States Embassy there last week by pro-Iranian demonstrators. He declined to elaborate but called the intelligence “exquisite.”

Mr. Trump was more forceful but no more specific. General Suleimani “was planning a very big attack and a very bad attack for us and other people,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “And we stopped him.”

Their defense of the killing came as Tehran launched its initial response, firing a dozen ballistic missiles early Wednesday from Iranian territory targeting American forces in Iraq’s Anbar Province and Kurdish region. A Pentagon official confirmed that the missiles were launched at bases hosting American forces, but provided no initial damage assessment.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered a direct and proportional response to the Suleimani killing, not the kind of covert action through proxy forces that Tehran has traditionally employed. American officials in recent weeks warned about the threat from short-range ballistic missiles that Iran had smuggled into Iraq.

As the threats from Tehran increased, several NATO allies conducting training for Iraqi troops — including Canada, Germany and Croatia — decided at least temporarily to remove some troops from Iraq. Canada, which leads the NATO training mission, announced it was withdrawing its 500 troops and sending them to Kuwait.

Fueled by what they have called weak and inadequate briefings from the administration, Democrats grew increasingly vocal in their skepticism, arguing the administration has a high burden to meet to show that the strike was justified.

Some drew comparisons to the flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the recent revelations about the failures of the war in Afghanistan.

“Between no weapons of mass destruction, no clear and present danger, the Afghanistan papers — there’s plenty to be skeptical about,” Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a brief interview. “The burden is on the administration to prove the truthfulness and veracity of how they made their decision.”

The C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, has spoken with multiple lawmakers in recent days, some of whom have urged her to be more forthcoming about the intelligence behind the killing. Ms. Haspel, in turn, has emphasized that she had serious concerns about the threat posed by General Suleimani if the administration held off on targeting him.

Before the drone strike that killed the general, the pro-Iranian protesters had attacked barricades outside the American Embassy in Baghdad, and American officials feared the attacks could resume and the situation could easily grow more dangerous, threatening the diplomats and military personnel who work at the compound.

General Suleimani had arrived in Baghdad to pressure the Iraqi government to kick out American forces after attacks by the United States on Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia group with ties to Iran, according to American officials.

One official noted that General Suleimani was traveling with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi who helps lead the Iranian-backed militias and who was coordinating the attacks on the American Embassy. Mr. al-Muhandis was also killed in the strike.

Additionally, the classified document sent to Capitol Hill only recounts the attacks that Iran and its proxies have carried out in recent months and weeks rather than outlining new threats, according to three American officials.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. demanded that Mr. Trump give a “sober-minded explanation” of the strike, its consequences and the intelligence that prompted it.

“All we’ve heard from this administration are shifting explanations, evasive answers, repeated assertions of an imminent threat without the necessary evidence to support that conclusion,” Mr. Biden, a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said in remarks from Pier 59 in New York. If there was a threat, he added, “we’re owed an explanation and the facts to back it up.”

Iranian-supported militias have increasingly directed attacks at Iraqi bases with American forces over the past two months, officials have said. Since May, intelligence and military officials have warned that Iran has been preparing for attacks against Americans in the Middle East.

The reports have prompted the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. to relocate officers out of the American Embassy in Baghdad in recent days and weeks, though some C.I.A. officers were relocated earlier, according to officials briefed on the matter. Some went to other parts of Iraq, and officials emphasized that the moves had not diminished intelligence collection on Iranian activity in the country.

Administration officials, including Ms. Haspel, were set to brief the entire House and Senate on Wednesday, though it was not clear how detailed they would be. But expectations “are high,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut.

“We’re all going to want to hear why they thought targeting Suleimani was the best option, what were the other targets on the table, did they know about the collateral damage?” he said.

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who has long vocally opposed the lengthy deployments of American forces overseas, has emerged as one of the few Republicans willing to criticize the decision. He questioned the administration’s claim of an imminent attack, citing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s repeated criticism of General Suleimani.

“I’ve always been surprised at how presidents in general, including President Obama, stretch the idea of what imminence is,” Mr. Paul said. “I can tell you the secretary of state’s been talking about for over a year all the things Suleimani has done. I think they found this as an opportune time to take him out.”

Mr. Pompeo has led the administration’s defense of the strike and said on Tuesday that the intelligence was presented to Mr. Trump in broad detail before he ordered the strike.

“It was the right decision,” Mr. Pompeo said.

And Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, said that General Suleimani was plotting attacks on “diplomats, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines” at multiple facilities.

Mr. O’Brien said the intelligence would most likely remain classified to avoid putting sources of intelligence and collection methods at risk. But, he added, “I can tell you that the evidence was strong.”

With the exception of Mr. Paul, most Republicans on Capitol Hill have coalesced around the administration.

“We had very clear, very solid information from the intelligence community that indeed there were going to be imminent attacks that could involve hundreds of people, could involve even thousands of people,” Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters late last week, calling the intelligence “rock solid.”

The House was set this week to consider measures to curtail the president’s war-making powers on Iran by invoking the War Powers Resolution. A similar measure could come to a vote on the Senate floor as early as next week. And the Democratic-led House Foreign Affairs Committee announced a hearing set for next Tuesday on the Trump administration’s Iran policy.

Adam Goldman contributed reporting from Washington, and Katie Glueck from New York.

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

Iran ‘Concludes’ Attacks, Foreign Minister Says: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

Iran has “concluded” its attacks on American forces and does “not seek escalation or war,” the country’s foreign minister said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Moments later, President Trump said in a tweet that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning about the conflict, and suggested that damages and casualties sustained by American forces were minimal. But he also said the assessment of the attacks was ongoing.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s tweet followed two missile attacks on bases in Iraq housing American forces in response to the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched,” Mr. Zarif said.

“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he added.

Tensions between the United States and Iran came to a head in recent weeks when an American military contractor was killed, Iranian-backed militias stormed the United States Embassy compound in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve and General Suleimani was killed in an American drone strike last Friday.

Iran swore vengeance for the general’s death leading to concerns of full-scale war in the region. On Tuesday, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed.

“All is well!,” President Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166461435_4844cadb-e6d4-47d0-92db-6c5681d358c5-articleLarge Iran ‘Concludes’ Attacks, Foreign Minister Says: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

The Asad air base in Anbar Province, in western Iraq, last month. It was the site of a missile attack by Iran, the Pentagon said.Credit…Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad and Erbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

In a briefing in Washington, an official said that the Pentagon “had no confirmation” that any Americans had been killed.

Iranian officials said the attacks were the start of a promised retaliation for the killing of a top Revolutionary Guards commander. “The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement on a Telegram channel.

Iranian news media reported the attacks hours after the remains of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, were returned to his hometown in Iran for burial.

Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of Mashregh, the main Revolutionary Guards news website, said that more than 30 ballistic missiles had been fired at the base at Asad, in Anbar Province, in western Iraq.

A base in Erbil, in northern Iraq, was also attacked.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards statement on state television said: “If America responds to these attacks there will be bigger attacks on the way. This is not a threat, it’s a warning.”

Some Iranian officials tweeted images of Iranian flags in a pointed rejoinder to President Trump, who tweeted an American flag after General Suleimani was killed.

In a statement, the White House said, “The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”

Throughout the day, reports from American intelligence agencies of an imminent attack from Iran had intensified, and senior officials said they were bracing for some kind of attack against American bases in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East.

As tensions mounted, Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers met Tuesday afternoon in the White House Situation Room, where they were joined by the president after his meeting with the Greek prime minister.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v8 Iran ‘Concludes’ Attacks, Foreign Minister Says: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was meeting with senior Democrats Tuesday evening in her Capitol office suite, discussing Mr. Trump’s impeachment, when she was handed a note about the Iranian attack.

“We’ve got to pray,” she said, according to Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, who was at the meeting.

Ms. Pelosi said she was “closely monitoring the situation.”

“We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence,” she said in a tweet. “America & world cannot afford war.”

Drew Hammill, Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman, said she returned a call shortly thereafter from Vice President Mike Pence, who briefed her on the strikes.

Mr. Pence also briefed Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

In December 2018, Mr. Trump visited American military forces at Al Asad. It was his first trip to troops stationed in a combat zone.

The base at Asad is an Iraqi base that has long been a hub for American military operations in western Iraq. Danish troops have also been stationed there in recent years.

In 2017, as the American-led coalition built up the base for its campaign against the Islamic State, roughly 500 American military and civilian personnel were located there. Some troops departed after the defeat of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in 2019, but the base maintains a robust presence of coalition troops.

The American base in Erbil has been a Special Operations hub, home to hundreds of troops, logistics personnel, and intelligence specialists. Transport aircraft, gunships, and reconnaissance planes have used the airport as an anchor point for operations in both northern Iraq and deep into Syria.

Oil prices jumped and markets slumped in Asia early on Wednesday, as investors tried to parse reports of missile attacks on military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed.

Prices for Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, jumped above $70 a barrel in futures markets, a nearly 4 percent rise from Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate, the American oil price benchmark, jumped more than 3 percent to about $65 a barrel.

Stock markets also dropped sharply. Shares in Japan opened 2.4 percent lower, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea fell more than 1 percent on their opening.

Investors were also predicting a tough day on Wall Street. Futures contracts representing bets on the American stock market indicated a drop of more than 1 percent in New York’s morning.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Tuesday that General Suleimani had been planning attacks to occur within days, laying out the administration’s legal justification for killing the Iranian commander in a drone strike.

Americans officials have been pressed over their claims that they targeted General Suleimani to forestall imminent attacks against U.S. interests.

At a Pentagon news conference Tuesday, Mr. Esper was asked whether attacks had been expected in days or weeks. “I think it’s more fair to say days,” the defense secretary said.

He declined to offer more details, nor to describe the intelligence underpinning that assessment.

Mr. Esper said General Suleimani, who was killed Friday in Iraq, “was in Baghdad to coordinate additional attacks.”

“He’s been conducting terrorist activities against us and our coalition partners for over 20 years,” Mr. Esper said. “He has the blood of hundreds of Americans, soldiers, on his hands and wounded thousands more. And then we could talk about all of the mayhem he’s caused against the Syrian people, the people of Lebanon. Even his own people in Iran.”

He added: “To somehow suggest that he wasn’t a legitimate target, I think, is fanciful. He was clearly on the battlefield.”

Mr. Esper also said that despite an unsigned draft letter from the American military command in Baghdad on troop withdrawal and a unanimous vote by the Iraqi Parliament, the United States does not plan to pull its troops out of Iraq right now.

The Pentagon has made preparations in anticipation of Iranian retaliation, Mr. Esper said, and American troops in the Middle East are on a heightened state of alert.

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” Mr. Esper told a news conference at the Pentagon. “We’re prepared for any contingency and then we’ll respond appropriately to whatever they do.”

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters he would avoid targeting cultural sites in military attacks, walking back a threat he made against Iran days earlier.

Following a bipartisan and international uproar, Mr. Trump conceded that striking such sites would amount to a war crime. “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” he said in the Oval Office as he hosted the visiting prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

His remarks to reporters came a day after Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime. That appeared to put him at odds with his boss.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump declared that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

None of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified.

But the president’s threats and his initial refusal to back down in the face of criticism generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders.

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Canada, Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Canada is temporarily moving to Kuwait some of its 500 military personnel based in Iraq, the country’s top military official, Gen. Jonathan Vance, said in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

The killing of General Suleimani initially jolted oil markets, but the surge in prices has eased. On Tuesday afternoon, the Brent crude oil benchmark was down about 1.5 percent, to about $67.87 a barrel.

Analysts attribute the modesty of the increase to market skepticism that Iran will seek to hobble oil trading by, for example, closing the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel that many oil tankers have to pass through when they leave the Persian Gulf.

Oil flows have not been disrupted, so far, and the markets are “pricing in just a low probability of something happening,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, a research firm.

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. He was buried around midnight, as Iran prepared to launch missile attacks against American forces in retaliation for his death, said Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of the main Revolutionary Guards news website.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

With the American role in the Middle East in flux, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia flew to Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday for a victory lap of sorts.

Highlighting Russia’s newfound influence in the region, Mr. Putin met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the strongman whose rule was largely rescued by Russian military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Mr. Putin told Mr. al-Assad that “one can now confidently state that huge strides have been made in restoring Syrian statehood and the territorial integrity of the country,” a Kremlin statement said.

The Kremlin made no mention of Iran in its description of Mr. Putin’s visit, which had not been announced ahead of time. But Tehran was a crucial partner of Moscow in propping up Mr. al-Assad against Syrian rebels, including those backed by the United States.

Russia has called the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran illegal and expressed condolences to Tehran. On Wednesday, Mr. Putin is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Istanbul, with Syria and Libya on the agenda, according to the Kremlin.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke with the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, by phone on Tuesday afternoon to plead for calm and de-escalation.

Mr. Macron called on Iran to “refrain from any step that might aggravate the escalation already underway,” according to a statement from the Élysée Palace, the seat of the French presidency.

France has tried to play the role of mediator between the Iranians and Americans for months, but in vain.

The French president also called on Iran to respect the 2015 nuclear accord, and to release two French academics, Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, who are being held there, a major source of tension between the two countries.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Across the Middle East and the world, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

Warnings to United State citizens were sent by American diplomats not only in the Middle East but also in Asia.

The American Embassy in Beijing, citing “heightened tension in the Middle East,” advised American citizens on Tuesday to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, stay alert in tourist locations, review personal security plans and ensure that their travel documents were updated and accessible. American citizens in South Korea said they had received similar warnings.

American diplomats in the Middle East began sending advisories earlier in the week.

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, Adam Nossiter and Anton Troianovski.

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

What We Know About the 2 Bases Iran Attacked

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-facebookJumbo-v12 What We Know About the 2 Bases Iran Attacked United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Military Bases and Installations Iran Erbil (Iraq) Anbar Province (Iraq)

A sprawling air base in western Iraq that hosted President Trump during his first visit to a combat zone as commander in chief was one of two military installations where American troops are stationed that came under ballistic missile attack by Iran early Wednesday.

Al Asad Air Base, along with an air base near Erbil in northern Iraq, were targeted in retaliation for a drone strike by the United States on Friday that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a top Iranian commander who Mr. Trump had maintained was planning “a very big attack and a very bad attack for us.”

The fusillade also came one day after Mr. Trump threatened to attack cultural sites in Iran in response to any reprisals for General Suleimani’s killing. Mr. Trump backed away from the threat earlier Tuesday after being told it would be illegal.

Here’s what we know about the bases and the scale of the attack on Wednesday:

The Pentagon announced that more than a dozen ballistic missiles had been fired at the two bases but said it was still assessing the damage. The editor in chief of Mashregh, the main news website for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said more than 30 ballistic missiles had been fired at the American base at Asad.

“The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” the White House said in a statement.

Mr. Trump later wrote on Twitter that the assessment of casualties and damages was continuing, and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning.

As of December, there were about 6,000 United States troops deployed in Iraq, which is a fraction of the peak number of 150,000 military personnel who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which lasted from 2003 to 2011. After General Suleimani’s death, the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel American troops from the country, which Mr. Trump then said would be met with sanctions.

During the past two years, both Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made unexpected visits to the base, which is in Anbar Province and about 135 miles from the Syrian border. At the time of his visit, which he left for on Christmas night in 2018, Mr. Trump characterized the journey as harrowing and under the cloak of darkness.

“I had concerns for the institution of the presidency because — not for myself, personally,” he said at the time. “I had concerns for the first lady, I will tell you. But if you would have seen what we had to go through, with the darkened plane, with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever, anywhere — pitch black. I’ve never seen it. I’ve been in many airplanes — all types and shapes and sizes. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In 2015, Iraqi security forces repelled an attack on the base by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

The remaining American troops at the base are helping to train Iraqi security forces.

In October, Delta Force commandos stationed at the base started the operation in Syria that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. Eight American helicopters, primarily CH-47 Chinooks, took off from the base, flying low and fast to avoid detection during the mission.

The president, along with Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, Mr. Pence and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, watched video of the raid piped into the White House Situation Room from surveillance aircraft orbiting over the battlefield. Mr. Pence visited the base in November.

Mr. al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three children, which Mr. Trump recounted with particularly brash language.

“He died like a dog,” Mr. Trump said. “He died like a coward.”

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

Democrats Press for Details on Suleimani Strike, but Trump Administration Gives Few

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-intel-4-sub-facebookJumbo-v2 Democrats Press for Details on Suleimani Strike, but Trump Administration Gives Few United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iraq Iran Haspel, Gina Espionage and Intelligence Services Esper, Mark T Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense Department Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency

WASHINGTON — Under increasing pressure to defend the killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq, senior Trump administration officials offered new justifications but little detail on Tuesday, citing threats to the American Embassy in Baghdad and intelligence suggesting other imminent attacks that helped prompt the strike.

Democrats stepped up their criticism of intelligence that the administration provided immediately after the drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The administration’s formal notification to Congress, which remains classified, provided no information on future threats or the imminent attack, officials who have read it said.

Several said it was improperly classified, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, called it “vague and unacceptably unspecific.” Lawmakers pressed for more answers on Tuesday at an intelligence briefing by administration officials.

Iranian forces or their proxies were days from attacking American personnel when President Trump decided to strike General Suleimani, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. Mr. Esper added that General Suleimani had traveled to Baghdad to coordinate attacks following up on a two-day siege of the United States Embassy there last week by pro-Iranian demonstrators. He declined to elaborate but called the intelligence “exquisite.”

Mr. Trump was more forceful but no more specific. General Suleimani “was planning a very big attack and a very bad attack for us and other people,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “And we stopped him.”

Their defense of the killing came as Tehran launched its initial response, firing a dozen ballistic missiles early Wednesday from Iranian territory targeting American forces in Iraq’s Anbar Province and Kurdish region. A Pentagon official confirmed that the missiles were launched at bases hosting American forces, but provided no initial damage assessment.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered a direct and proportional response to the Suleimani killing, not the kind of covert action through proxy forces that Tehran has traditionally employed. American officials in recent weeks warned about the threat from short-range ballistic missiles that Iran had smuggled into Iraq.

As the threats from Tehran increased, several NATO allies conducting training for Iraqi troops — including Canada, Germany and Croatia — decided at least temporarily to remove some troops from Iraq. Canada, which leads the NATO training mission, announced it was withdrawing its 500 troops and sending them to Kuwait.

Fueled by what they have called weak and inadequate briefings from the administration, Democrats grew increasingly vocal in their skepticism, arguing the administration has a high burden to meet to show that the strike was justified.

Some drew comparisons to the flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the recent revelations about the failures of the war in Afghanistan.

“Between no weapons of mass destruction, no clear and present danger, the Afghanistan papers — there’s plenty to be skeptical about,” Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a brief interview. “The burden is on the administration to prove the truthfulness and veracity of how they made their decision.”

The C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, has spoken with multiple lawmakers in recent days, some of whom have urged her to be more forthcoming about the intelligence behind the killing. Ms. Haspel, in turn, has emphasized that she had serious concerns about the threat posed by General Suleimani if the administration held off on targeting him.

Before the drone strike that killed the general, the pro-Iranian protesters had attacked barricades outside the American Embassy in Baghdad, and American officials feared the attacks could resume and the situation could easily grow more dangerous, threatening the diplomats and military personnel who work at the compound.

General Suleimani had arrived in Baghdad to pressure the Iraqi government to kick out American forces after attacks by the United States on Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia group with ties to Iran, according to American officials.

One official noted that General Suleimani was traveling with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi who helps lead the Iranian-backed militias and who was coordinating the attacks on the American Embassy. Mr. al-Muhandis was also killed in the strike.

Additionally, the classified document sent to Capitol Hill only recounts the attacks that Iran and its proxies have carried out in recent months and weeks rather than outlining new threats, according to three American officials.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. demanded that Mr. Trump give a “sober-minded explanation” of the strike, its consequences and the intelligence that prompted it.

“All we’ve heard from this administration are shifting explanations, evasive answers, repeated assertions of an imminent threat without the necessary evidence to support that conclusion,” Mr. Biden, a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said in remarks from Pier 59 in New York. If there was a threat, he added, “we’re owed an explanation and the facts to back it up.”

Iranian-supported militias have increasingly directed attacks at Iraqi bases with American forces over the past two months, officials have said. Since May, intelligence and military officials have warned that Iran has been preparing for attacks against Americans in the Middle East.

The reports have prompted the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. to relocate officers out of the American Embassy in Baghdad in recent days and weeks, though some C.I.A. officers were relocated earlier, according to officials briefed on the matter. Some went to other parts of Iraq, and officials emphasized that the moves had not diminished intelligence collection on Iranian activity in the country.

Administration officials, including Ms. Haspel, were set to brief the entire House and Senate on Wednesday, though it was not clear how detailed they would be. But expectations “are high,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut.

“We’re all going to want to hear why they thought targeting Suleimani was the best option, what were the other targets on the table, did they know about the collateral damage?” he said.

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who has long vocally opposed the lengthy deployments of American forces overseas, has emerged as one of the few Republicans willing to criticize the decision. He questioned the administration’s claim of an imminent attack, citing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s repeated criticism of General Suleimani.

“I’ve always been surprised at how presidents in general, including President Obama, stretch the idea of what imminence is,” Mr. Paul said. “I can tell you the secretary of state’s been talking about for over a year all the things Suleimani has done. I think they found this as an opportune time to take him out.”

Mr. Pompeo has led the administration’s defense of the strike and said on Tuesday that the intelligence was presented to Mr. Trump in broad detail before he ordered the strike.

“It was the right decision,” Mr. Pompeo said.

And Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, said that General Suleimani was plotting attacks on “diplomats, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines” at multiple facilities.

Mr. O’Brien said the intelligence would most likely remain classified to avoid putting sources of intelligence and collection methods at risk. But, he added, “I can tell you that the evidence was strong.”

With the exception of Mr. Paul, most Republicans on Capitol Hill have coalesced around the administration.

“We had very clear, very solid information from the intelligence community that indeed there were going to be imminent attacks that could involve hundreds of people, could involve even thousands of people,” Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters late last week, calling the intelligence “rock solid.”

The House was set this week to consider measures to curtail the president’s war-making powers on Iran by invoking the War Powers Resolution. A similar measure could come to a vote on the Senate floor as early as next week. And the Democratic-led House Foreign Affairs Committee announced a hearing set for next Tuesday on the Trump administration’s Iran policy.

Adam Goldman contributed reporting from Washington, and Katie Glueck from New York.

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

Pompeo Upended Middle East by Pushing Trump to Kill Iranian General

WASHINGTON — Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in the administration pushing President Trump to kill Iran’s most important general. This week, he is back in his role as the nation’s top diplomat, trying to contain the international crisis the general’s death created.

True to form, Mr. Pompeo is not backing down. “You saw, more tactically, just these last few days the president’s response when the Iranians made a bad decision to kill an American,” he told reporters at the State Department on Tuesday, referring to a deadly rocket attack in Iraq on Dec. 27 by an Iran-backed militia. “We hope they won’t make another bad decision just like that one.”

The strike against the Iranian general has affirmed Mr. Pompeo’s position as the second-most powerful official in the Trump administration, behind only the president himself. A hawk brimming with bravado and ambition, Mr. Pompeo is ostensibly the cabinet member who smooths America’s relations with the rest of the world.

But as the man at the center of the argument to launch the drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani — and who pushed Mr. Trump to withdraw from the landmark Iran nuclear deal in 2018 — he is in the unusual role of shaping national security policy that makes his diplomatic job harder.

“Pompeo’s end run got the decision he may have wanted, but the messy day after — sloppy explanations of the threat, disorganized public statements, and hasty diplomatic and military efforts — limited the effectiveness of the policy and made it far riskier for the country and president,” said John Gans, a former chief speechwriter at the Pentagon and author of a new book on the National Security Council, which includes Mr. Pompeo.

Congress is demanding that Mr. Pompeo and other senior administration officials testify about the intelligence that led to the decision to blow up General Suleimani’s convoy on Friday as it was leaving Baghdad International Airport.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v8 Pompeo Upended Middle East by Pushing Trump to Kill Iranian General United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim State Department Pompeo, Mike Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces Benghazi Attack (2012)

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

And as Iran begins retaliating aggressively, Mr. Pompeo, 56, could become known as the man who helped lead the United States into another conflict in the Middle East — breaking one of Mr. Trump’s key campaign promises just as the president faces re-election. Early Wednesday, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house American troops, the Pentagon said.

“I think Secretary Pompeo is playing a rather naïve and destructive role in all this,” said Wendy R. Sherman, who was the third-ranking State Department official in the Obama administration and helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and other countries from which the United States withdrew just days after Mr. Pompeo arrived at the State Department.

Mr. Pompeo said he and other Americans officials “evaluated the relevant risks” that the strike against General Suleimani might bring. He cited “continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”

In the fall, during the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Pompeo’s standing plummeted among career employees at the State Department, Democrats in Congress and much of the public, when it became obvious he had enabled Mr. Trump’s shadow Ukraine policy. He also lost some of Mr. Trump’s confidence after failing to prevent veteran diplomats from testifying on Capitol Hill.

The Iran crisis presents similar risks for Mr. Pompeo, who considered running this year for an open Senate seat in Kansas. His associates say he now has an eye on a presidential campaign in 2024.

The upheaval is unfolding at a pace that Mr. Trump and top aides never expected, officials said.

Millions of Iranians have taken to the streets to protest General Suleimani’s killing — a drastic change from only weeks ago, when demonstrators were denouncing the rulers in Tehran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, told officials that any retaliation should be direct, proportional and carried out by Iran itself.

European allies have expressed anger to Mr. Pompeo over the strike, which they were not told about in advance.

And Mr. Pompeo has been unable to convince Iraq’s government that the United States remains a reliable partner. Its parliament, furious at what Iraqi officials call a violation of their sovereignty, voted Sunday to expel more than 5,000 American troops from the country.

Diplomats and other American employees at the United States Embassy in Baghdad remain on high alert, with some heading by airplane to the safety of the American Consulate in Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. The Pentagon has added 4,500 troops to some 50,000 who were already in the region, and the British Navy deployed two warships to the Persian Gulf.

American embassies around the world are warning American citizens to stay alert to potential dangers — an action that undermines the administration line that the killing of General Suleimani made Americans safer.

The security of State Department personnel abroad is a big potential political liability both for Mr. Pompeo, who played a leading role in the House Benghazi inquiry as a Republican congressman from Kansas, and for Mr. Trump.

Both men excoriated Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state who ran for president against Mr. Trump, for the 2012 deaths of four Americans, including an ambassador, in an attack against a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. As director of the C.I.A. and then secretary of state, Mr. Pompeo has warned his subordinates that he does not want to see “any Benghazis.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo were outraged by images of pro-Iran protesters in Baghdad on Dec. 31 attacking buildings at the United States Embassy, though no Americans were injured.

A senior administration official said a severe but unspecified threat against the embassy was the reason that Mr. Trump made the decision to kill General Suleimani.

Yet no major attack against the sprawling and heavily-fortified diplomatic compound in Baghdad’s Green Zone is “imminent,” even though Mr. Pompeo has asserted that repeatedly, said the official, who discussed administration deliberations only on the condition of anonymity. Some Pentagon officials had said earlier that there was no intelligence revealing any unusual threats.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo did not repeat his assertions that the United States had intelligence about an “imminent” attack and instead pointed to recent violent episodes.

“If you’re looking for imminence, you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Suleimani,” Mr. Pompeo said, apparently referring to the rocket attack by an Iranian-backed militia that killed an American interpreter, Nawres Hamid, in Iraq on Dec. 27. The Americans then carried out airstrikes that killed 25 militiamen, which led to protests by mostly Iranian-backed militiamen inside the American Embassy compound in Baghdad.

American officials say that over the last two months, there have been 11 attacks by Iran-backed militias on bases in Iraq where American service members, diplomats and contractors work.

Critics say Mr. Pompeo, the only surviving member of the president’s original foreign policy team, is a chief architect of the rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

As Mr. Trump’s first C.I.A. director, he created a special center to deal with Iran, appointing as its head Michael D’Andrea, a veteran officer and convert to Islam known as the Dark Prince, who oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the drone strike campaign in the Middle East and Central Asia.

In December 2017, Mr. Pompeo said he had sent a letter to General Suleimani warning him against attacking American forces in Iraq. The general had helped plan deadly attacks on American troops in Iraq during the mid-2000s. When he received the letter, Mr. Suleimani was in Syria guiding a campaign against the Islamic State — which meant he was nominally on the same side in that fight as the Americans.

Days after becoming secretary of state in 2018, Mr. Pompeo pushed Mr. Trump to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and reimpose strict sanctions on Iran. He has nurtured closer partnerships with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, enemies of Iran that sometimes have agendas that run counter to American interests.

In April, he advised Mr. Trump to designate as a foreign terrorist organization the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an arm of the Iranian military that includes General Suleimani’s elite Quds Force. It was the first time the United States had applied that label to a part of another government.

And after the Dec. 31 breach of the American Embassy in Baghdad, Mr. Pompeo pushed for the strike against Mr. Suleimani, which Defense Department officials had presented to Mr. Trump as an extreme and not particularly palatable option only days earlier.

Yet Mr. Pompeo’s hawkish role on Iran could increase his support in a Republican establishment that has long wanted the United States to adopt more aggressive policies toward Tehran, with some advocating leadership change against the ayatollahs.

A notable voter base — conservative supporters of Israel, including white evangelical Christians like Mr. Pompeo — promotes hard-line actions against Iran. They denounced the 2015 nuclear deal as appeasement. Last year, on a trip to Israel, Mr. Pompeo invoked the Bible in saying Mr. Trump was a modern-day Queen Esther sent by God to save the Jews from Iran.

Since Friday, Mr. Pompeo has spoken on the phone with senior officials and leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to explain the United States’ need for defensive actions and, in some cases, stress that Washington wanted de-escalation. The United States also sent a message to Tehran on Friday through a Swiss diplomat, a senior administration official said.

In a joint statement issued Sunday, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany condemned Iran for its “negative role” in the Middle East but also described “an urgent need for de-escalation.”

Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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

Pompeo Upended Middle East by Pushing Trump to Kill Iranian General

WASHINGTON — Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in the administration pushing President Trump to kill Iran’s most important general. This week, he is back in his role as the nation’s top diplomat, trying to contain the international crisis the general’s death created.

True to form, Mr. Pompeo is not backing down. “You saw, more tactically, just these last few days the president’s response when the Iranians made a bad decision to kill an American,” he told reporters at the State Department on Tuesday, referring to a deadly rocket attack in Iraq on Dec. 27 by an Iran-backed militia. “We hope they won’t make another bad decision just like that one.”

The strike against the Iranian general has affirmed Mr. Pompeo’s position as the second-most powerful official in the Trump administration, behind only the president himself. A hawk brimming with bravado and ambition, Mr. Pompeo is ostensibly the cabinet member who smooths America’s relations with the rest of the world.

But as the man at the center of the argument to launch the drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani — and who pushed Mr. Trump to withdraw from the landmark Iran nuclear deal in 2018 — he is in the unusual role of shaping national security policy that makes his diplomatic job harder.

“Pompeo’s end run got the decision he may have wanted, but the messy day after — sloppy explanations of the threat, disorganized public statements, and hasty diplomatic and military efforts — limited the effectiveness of the policy and made it far riskier for the country and president,” said John Gans, a former chief speechwriter at the Pentagon and author of a new book on the National Security Council, which includes Mr. Pompeo.

Congress is demanding that Mr. Pompeo and other senior administration officials testify about the intelligence that led to the decision to blow up General Suleimani’s convoy on Friday as it was leaving Baghdad International Airport.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v8 Pompeo Upended Middle East by Pushing Trump to Kill Iranian General United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim State Department Pompeo, Mike Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces Benghazi Attack (2012)

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

And as Iran begins retaliating aggressively, Mr. Pompeo, 56, could become known as the man who helped lead the United States into another conflict in the Middle East — breaking one of Mr. Trump’s key campaign promises just as the president faces re-election. Early Wednesday, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house American troops, the Pentagon said.

“I think Secretary Pompeo is playing a rather naïve and destructive role in all this,” said Wendy R. Sherman, who was the third-ranking State Department official in the Obama administration and helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and other countries from which the United States withdrew just days after Mr. Pompeo arrived at the State Department.

Mr. Pompeo said he and other Americans officials “evaluated the relevant risks” that the strike against General Suleimani might bring. He cited “continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”

In the fall, during the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Pompeo’s standing plummeted among career employees at the State Department, Democrats in Congress and much of the public, when it became obvious he had enabled Mr. Trump’s shadow Ukraine policy. He also lost some of Mr. Trump’s confidence after failing to prevent veteran diplomats from testifying on Capitol Hill.

The Iran crisis presents similar risks for Mr. Pompeo, who considered running this year for an open Senate seat in Kansas. His associates say he now has an eye on a presidential campaign in 2024.

The upheaval is unfolding at a pace that Mr. Trump and top aides never expected, officials said.

Millions of Iranians have taken to the streets to protest General Suleimani’s killing — a drastic change from only weeks ago, when demonstrators were denouncing the rulers in Tehran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, told officials that any retaliation should be direct, proportional and carried out by Iran itself.

European allies have expressed anger to Mr. Pompeo over the strike, which they were not told about in advance.

And Mr. Pompeo has been unable to convince Iraq’s government that the United States remains a reliable partner. Its parliament, furious at what Iraqi officials call a violation of their sovereignty, voted Sunday to expel more than 5,000 American troops from the country.

Diplomats and other American employees at the United States Embassy in Baghdad remain on high alert, with some heading by airplane to the safety of the American Consulate in Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. The Pentagon has added 4,500 troops to some 50,000 who were already in the region, and the British Navy deployed two warships to the Persian Gulf.

American embassies around the world are warning American citizens to stay alert to potential dangers — an action that undermines the administration line that the killing of General Suleimani made Americans safer.

The security of State Department personnel abroad is a big potential political liability both for Mr. Pompeo, who played a leading role in the House Benghazi inquiry as a Republican congressman from Kansas, and for Mr. Trump.

Both men excoriated Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state who ran for president against Mr. Trump, for the 2012 deaths of four Americans, including an ambassador, in an attack against a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. As director of the C.I.A. and then secretary of state, Mr. Pompeo has warned his subordinates that he does not want to see “any Benghazis.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo were outraged by images of pro-Iran protesters in Baghdad on Dec. 31 attacking buildings at the United States Embassy, though no Americans were injured.

A senior administration official said a severe but unspecified threat against the embassy was the reason that Mr. Trump made the decision to kill General Suleimani.

Yet no major attack against the sprawling and heavily-fortified diplomatic compound in Baghdad’s Green Zone is “imminent,” even though Mr. Pompeo has asserted that repeatedly, said the official, who discussed administration deliberations only on the condition of anonymity. Some Pentagon officials had said earlier that there was no intelligence revealing any unusual threats.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo did not repeat his assertions that the United States had intelligence about an “imminent” attack and instead pointed to recent violent episodes.

“If you’re looking for imminence, you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Suleimani,” Mr. Pompeo said, apparently referring to the rocket attack by an Iranian-backed militia that killed an American interpreter, Nawres Hamid, in Iraq on Dec. 27. The Americans then carried out airstrikes that killed 25 militiamen, which led to protests by mostly Iranian-backed militiamen inside the American Embassy compound in Baghdad.

American officials say that over the last two months, there have been 11 attacks by Iran-backed militias on bases in Iraq where American service members, diplomats and contractors work.

Critics say Mr. Pompeo, the only surviving member of the president’s original foreign policy team, is a chief architect of the rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

As Mr. Trump’s first C.I.A. director, he created a special center to deal with Iran, appointing as its head Michael D’Andrea, a veteran officer and convert to Islam known as the Dark Prince, who oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the drone strike campaign in the Middle East and Central Asia.

In December 2017, Mr. Pompeo said he had sent a letter to General Suleimani warning him against attacking American forces in Iraq. The general had helped plan deadly attacks on American troops in Iraq during the mid-2000s. When he received the letter, Mr. Suleimani was in Syria guiding a campaign against the Islamic State — which meant he was nominally on the same side in that fight as the Americans.

Days after becoming secretary of state in 2018, Mr. Pompeo pushed Mr. Trump to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and reimpose strict sanctions on Iran. He has nurtured closer partnerships with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, enemies of Iran that sometimes have agendas that run counter to American interests.

In April, he advised Mr. Trump to designate as a foreign terrorist organization the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an arm of the Iranian military that includes General Suleimani’s elite Quds Force. It was the first time the United States had applied that label to a part of another government.

And after the Dec. 31 breach of the American Embassy in Baghdad, Mr. Pompeo pushed for the strike against Mr. Suleimani, which Defense Department officials had presented to Mr. Trump as an extreme and not particularly palatable option only days earlier.

Yet Mr. Pompeo’s hawkish role on Iran could increase his support in a Republican establishment that has long wanted the United States to adopt more aggressive policies toward Tehran, with some advocating leadership change against the ayatollahs.

A notable voter base — conservative supporters of Israel, including white evangelical Christians like Mr. Pompeo — promotes hard-line actions against Iran. They denounced the 2015 nuclear deal as appeasement. Last year, on a trip to Israel, Mr. Pompeo invoked the Bible in saying Mr. Trump was a modern-day Queen Esther sent by God to save the Jews from Iran.

Since Friday, Mr. Pompeo has spoken on the phone with senior officials and leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to explain the United States’ need for defensive actions and, in some cases, stress that Washington wanted de-escalation. The United States also sent a message to Tehran on Friday through a Swiss diplomat, a senior administration official said.

In a joint statement issued Sunday, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany condemned Iran for its “negative role” in the Middle East but also described “an urgent need for de-escalation.”

Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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

Iran Fires Missiles at U.S. Troops at Two Bases in Iraq: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166461435_4844cadb-e6d4-47d0-92db-6c5681d358c5-articleLarge Iran Fires Missiles at U.S. Troops at Two Bases in Iraq: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

The Asad air base in Anbar Province, in western Iraq, last month. It was the site of a missile attack by Iran, the Pentagon said.Credit…Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are based, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad and Erbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, and the Pentagon said Tuesday evening that it was still assessing the damage.

Iranian officials said the attacks were the start of a promised retaliation for the killing of a top Revolutionary Guards commander. “The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement on a Telegram channel.

Iranian news media reported the attacks hours after the remains of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, were returned to his hometown in Iran for burial.

Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of Mashregh, the main Revolutionary Guards news website, said that more than 30 ballistic missiles had been fired at the American base at Asad, in Anbar Province, in western Iraq.

An American base in Erbil, in northern Iraq, was also attacked.

A Revolutionary Guards statement on state television said: “If America responds to these attacks there will be bigger attacks on the way. This is not a threat, it’s a warning.”

Some Iranian officials tweeted images of Iranian flags in a pointed rejoinder to President Trump, who tweeted an American flag after General Suleimani was killed.

In a statement, the White House said, “The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”

Throughout the day, reports from American intelligence agencies of an imminent attack from Iran had intensified, and senior officials said they were bracing for some kind of attack against American bases in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East.

As tensions mounted, Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers met Tuesday afternoon in the White House Situation Room, where they were joined by the president after his meeting with the Greek prime minister.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v7 Iran Fires Missiles at U.S. Troops at Two Bases in Iraq: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was meeting with senior Democrats Tuesday evening in her Capitol office suite, discussing Mr. Trump’s impeachment, when she was handed a note about the Iranian attack.

“We’ve got to pray,” she said, according to Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, who was at the meeting.

Ms. Pelosi said she was “closely monitoring the situation.”

“We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence,” she said in a tweet. “America & world cannot afford war.”

Drew Hammill, Ms. Pelosi’s spokesman, said she returned a call shortly thereafter from Vice President Mike Pence, who briefed her on the strikes.

Mr. Pence also briefed Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

In December 2018, Mr. Trump visited American military forces at Al Asad. It was his first trip to troops stationed in a combat zone.

The base at Asad is an Iraqi base that has long been a hub for American military operations in western Iraq. Danish troops have also been stationed there in recent years.

In 2017, as the American-led coalition built up the base for its campaign against the Islamic State, roughly 500 American military and civilian personnel were located there. Some troops departed after the defeat of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in 2019, but the base maintains a robust presence of coalition troops.

The American base in Erbil has been a Special Operations hub, home to hundreds of troops, logistics personnel, and intelligence specialists. Transport aircraft, gunships, and reconnaissance planes have used the airport as an anchor point for operations in both northern Iraq and deep into Syria.

Prices for Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, jumped above $70 a barrel in futures markets, a nearly 4 percent rise from Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate, the American oil price benchmark, jumped more than 3 percent to about $65 a barrel.

Stock markets also dropped sharply. Shares in Japan opened 2.4 percent lower, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea fell more than 1 percent on their opening.

Investors were also predicting a tough day on Wall Street. Futures contracts representing bets on the American stock market indicated a drop of more than 1 percent in New York’s morning.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Tuesday that General Suleimani had been planning attacks to occur within days, laying out the administration’s legal justification for killing the Iranian commander in a drone strike.

Americans officials have been pressed over their claims that they targeted General Suleimani to forestall imminent attacks against U.S. interests.

At a Pentagon news conference Tuesday, Mr. Esper was asked whether attacks had been expected in days or weeks. “I think it’s more fair to say days,” the defense secretary said.

He declined to offer more details, nor to describe the intelligence underpinning that assessment.

Mr. Esper said General Suleimani, who was killed Friday in Iraq, “was in Baghdad to coordinate additional attacks.”

“He’s been conducting terrorist activities against us and our coalition partners for over 20 years,” Mr. Esper said. “He has the blood of hundreds of Americans, soldiers, on his hands and wounded thousands more. And then we could talk about all of the mayhem he’s caused against the Syrian people, the people of Lebanon. Even his own people in Iran.”

He added: “To somehow suggest that he wasn’t a legitimate target, I think, is fanciful. He was clearly on the battlefield.”

Mr. Esper also said that despite an unsigned draft letter from the American military command in Baghdad on troop withdrawal and a unanimous vote by the Iraqi Parliament, the United States does not plan to pull its troops out of Iraq right now.

The Pentagon has made preparations in anticipation of Iranian retaliation, Mr. Esper said, and American troops in the Middle East are on a heightened state of alert.

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” Mr. Esper told a news conference at the Pentagon. “We’re prepared for any contingency and then we’ll respond appropriately to whatever they do.”

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters he would avoid targeting cultural sites in military attacks, walking back a threat he made against Iran days earlier.

Following a bipartisan and international uproar, Mr. Trump conceded that striking such sites would amount to a war crime. “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” he said in the Oval Office as he hosted the visiting prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

His remarks to reporters came a day after Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime. That appeared to put him at odds with his boss.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump declared that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

None of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified.

But the president’s threats and his initial refusal to back down in the face of criticism generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders.

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Canada, Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Canada is temporarily moving to Kuwait some of its 500 military personnel based in Iraq, the country’s top military official, Gen. Jonathan Vance, said in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

The killing of General Suleimani initially jolted oil markets, but the surge in prices has eased. On Tuesday afternoon, the Brent crude oil benchmark was down about 1.5 percent, to about $67.87 a barrel.

Analysts attribute the modesty of the increase to market skepticism that Iran will seek to hobble oil trading by, for example, closing the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel that many oil tankers have to pass through when they leave the Persian Gulf.

Oil flows have not been disrupted, so far, and the markets are “pricing in just a low probability of something happening,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, a research firm.

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. He was buried around midnight, as Iran prepared to launch missile attacks against American forces in retaliation for his death, said Hossein Soleimani, the editor in chief of the main Revolutionary Guards news website.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

With the American role in the Middle East in flux, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia flew to Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday for a victory lap of sorts.

Highlighting Russia’s newfound influence in the region, Mr. Putin met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the strongman whose rule was largely rescued by Russian military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Mr. Putin told Mr. al-Assad that “one can now confidently state that huge strides have been made in restoring Syrian statehood and the territorial integrity of the country,” a Kremlin statement said.

The Kremlin made no mention of Iran in its description of Mr. Putin’s visit, which had not been announced ahead of time. But Tehran was a crucial partner of Moscow in propping up Mr. al-Assad against Syrian rebels, including those backed by the United States.

Russia has called the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran illegal and expressed condolences to Tehran. On Wednesday, Mr. Putin is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Istanbul, with Syria and Libya on the agenda, according to the Kremlin.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke with the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, by phone on Tuesday afternoon to plead for calm and de-escalation.

Mr. Macron called on Iran to “refrain from any step that might aggravate the escalation already underway,” according to a statement from the Élysée Palace, the seat of the French presidency.

France has tried to play the role of mediator between the Iranians and Americans for months, but in vain.

The French president also called on Iran to respect the 2015 nuclear accord, and to release two French academics, Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, who are being held there, a major source of tension between the two countries.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Across the Middle East and the world, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

Warnings to United State citizens were sent by American diplomats not only in the Middle East but also in Asia.

The American Embassy in Beijing, citing “heightened tension in the Middle East,” advised American citizens on Tuesday to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, stay alert in tourist locations, review personal security plans and ensure that their travel documents were updated and accessible. American citizens in South Korea said they had received similar warnings.

American diplomats in the Middle East began sending advisories earlier in the week.

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Adam Nossiter and Anton Troianovski.

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

A One-Word Accusation Swirls Around Trump’s Deadly Strike: Assassination

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166699986_cf748faf-2eff-45fd-a3e4-ee86428ad47c-facebookJumbo A One-Word Accusation Swirls Around Trump’s Deadly Strike: Assassination United States Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Obama, Barack Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iran Hezbollah

A single word has become a focal point of concerns about President Trump’s decision to kill Iran’s top general: assassination.

There is no fixed, formal definition of assassination. But, as with many politically charged labels, the word has taken on significance broader than any one meaning, shorthand for concerns that Mr. Trump’s decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was unethical, illegitimate or dangerous.

The Trump administration says that its strike on General Suleimani was not an assassination, calling it a lawful and justifiable use of force.

Assassination is colloquially defined as a killing, or sometimes murder, for political purposes, particularly but not necessarily of a senior political leader.

Mr. Suleimani’s killing seems to fit that description. He was one of the senior-most figures in the government of Iran, a country that is not formally at war with the United States. While the Trump administration’s justifications have focused on halting what it says was an “imminent” attack, they have also included political aims, such as changing Iran’s behavior.

But there is also a second definition.

The United States banned assassination in 1976 but did not define it. Ever since, decades of legal interpretation and precedent-setting have evolved into a legal understanding of assassination that is intricate, disputed and narrower with each administration.

Government powers to target people abroad are becoming broader as well as “more contested and more complex,” said Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Lawfare, a legal affairs site. “The term ‘assassination’ is kind of the converse of that, an identification of where the government has exceeded its authority and violated its own ban.”

Past administrations have widened that authority so substantially that, “if you surveyed every legal scholar, you’re probably going to see a fairly strong agreement that this is probably lawful,” she said, referring to Mr. Suleimani’s killing.

But that would not make his killing just, moral or wise, Ms. Hennessey stressed, only that it would fall within legal precedents set by past administrations. And any rationale remains hypothetical. The administration has presented no legal justification, raising concerns that it may have acted without first establishing the order’s legality.

The gap between colloquial and legal definitions may reveal more than a linguistic issue. It parallels a growing divide between attitudes toward the appropriate use of deadly force and the American presidency’s self-assigned powers to kill abroad.

Mr. Suleimani’s killing, by taking those powers to new extremes, draws new attention to how they became so broad, and so cloaked in executive branch secrecy, that an act that meets virtually any colloquial definition of assassination could be considered legally permissible.

It helps to look at the intent of the original ban on assassination.

In the 1970s, Congressional investigations revealed a series of American plans or attempts to kill foreign leaders, provoking outrage at home and abroad. The plots were seen as violations of international norms and American values, as well as putting American leaders at risk.

President Ford issued an order banning the government from undertaking “political assassination,” but did not explicitly define the term. Beyond the clear intention of barring more plots against foreign leaders, the order’s implications were unclear.

Lawyers in the Reagan administration argued that a killing had to be unlawful in order to qualify as assassination — an interpretation that has held.

Kenneth Anderson, an American University law professor who advised the Obama administration on its program to target suspected terrorists abroad, said that, as a result, assassination came to generally mean an unlawful killing by the government.

But executive branch lawyers typically determine when the government has the power to kill someone abroad.

“There’s a little bit of a circular logic to that,” Ms. Hennessey said. “Anything the executive branch does, they’re going to say is lawful, so they’re going to say it’s never an assassination.”

Beginning with Mr. Reagan, each administration has broadened those powers, in turn narrowing what the government might consider an assassination.

Those expansions often focused on terrorist threats, such as a 1984 finding by Central Intelligence Agency lawyers that the administration could target members of Hezbollah, a Lebanese group. Hezbollah’s past attacks made it an ongoing threat, they reasoned; therefore, killing its members would constitute self-defense.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 — and subsequent public demands that presidents stop terrorists before they strike — led to ever-greater expansions, leaving Mr. Trump with a spectrum of legal interpretations and precedents to draw upon.

The Trump administration has hinted at, but not explicitly made, two legal rationales: that the general was a legitimate wartime target and that killing him was a justifiable act of self-defense.

The administration has cited, as legal authority, the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution, which approved the invasion of Iraq. The resolution is still in place, granting legal powers as if the war had never ended.

If the administration can demonstrate that Mr. Suleimani’s activities in Iraq made him an adversary in that conflict, it can call on broad wartime authority to target him, Mr. Anderson said.

The administration has mostly emphasized claims that Mr. Suleimani posed an “imminent threat” to American lives, hinting at legal precedents set by past presidents.

The Bush and Obama administrations concluded that they could, under certain conditions, lawfully kill someone who posed an imminent threat — or whose past actions suggested they could pose a future threat. Their findings, which drew on interpretations of domestic and international law as permitting attacks to halt imminent threats, formed the basis of much of their targeted killing programs. However, there is evidence that the U.S. government uses an expansive definition of “imminent,” and many dispute whether it actually meets international legal standards.

Mr. Anderson said that killing Mr. Suleimani would almost certainly have met legal standards used by the Obama administration, calling him “targetable” for his role in overseeing past proxy attacks against American forces.

The Trump administration, however, initially said its strike was to deter future attacks, not to stop one. It has provided little evidence for its claims of an imminent threat, and some officials privately say that the case is thin and may not represent Mr. Trump’s actual motivation.

Though some argue that the United States designation of Mr. Suleimani’s military group as a foreign terrorist organization bolsters the case for killing him, some legal scholars say that this is not relevant for determining whether he posed an imminent threat.

Killing Mr. Suleimani solely for political reasons, or in the absence of a sufficient legal rationale like an imminent threat, would open Mr. Trump to charges that the killing was unlawful and therefore an assassination.

Still, past administrations, citing secrecy, have at times presented little more legal justification than a promise that it had secured one, underscoring how far executive authority had expanded before Mr. Trump took office.

While the Trump administration has not presented a rationale under international law, Mary Ellen O’Connell, a University of Notre Dame law professor, argued on EJIL Talk, a site on international law, that details released so far “do not meet” the conditions of “lawful self-defense” that would be necessary to make the killing legal under international law.

Killing Mr. Suleimani, though, would mark a major escalation in the application of presidential authority, even if it might draw upon familiar legal justifications.

Those powers were established, Mr. Anderson said, at a time when “the circumstances were not really the same geopolitically.”

Precedents set in the era of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are being carried over into a new world of regional power struggles and state-sponsored proxy conflict. But foreign militaries can retaliate in ways that ragtag terrorist groups cannot. And, as Mr. Trump is learning, violating the norm against killing foreign leaders can bring international isolation.

In a twist of historical irony, those expanding powers have led the United States back to the very action that the 1976 ban on assassination seemingly intended to ban: killing a senior leader in a country with which it is not at war.

Much like the Cold War plots that inspired that ban, Mr. Trump’s strike is focusing attention on the perils of unconstrained executive authority.

“Certainly this vindicates some of the concerns that opponents of the government’s assertions of executive power in this area had,” Ms. Hennessey said, arguing that also it showed Congress’s unwillingness to check presidential power.

Critics called Bush- and Obama-era targeted killing programs legally and ethically dubious, and argued that they set dangerous precedents. Many called the practice assassination, implying that legal rationales were baseless.

Even if legal scholars believe that past precedent could potentially clear the way for Mr. Trump’s strike, some express discomfort with both the underlying law and the real-world results.

“Many of the legal issues here are contested,” Ashley Meeks, a University of Virginia law professor, said on Lawfare’s podcast. “Which legal framework even applies to the killing? What does it mean for a threat to be imminent? Is that even the proper test for today?”

Samuel Moyn, a Yale Law School professor also on the podcast, questioned whether, on a topic like assassination, legal definitional matters really could or should be taken in isolation.

“The reality is that law is always politicized, in this area especially,” he said, adding that concerns about the legality of, say, a drone strike “are really not about the law. They’re about legitimation or delegitimation of this president, or of American war, in this case or in general.”

If a controversy like the legality of killing of Mr. Suleimani is treated as solely a matter of legal definitions, he added, “then we miss the point of talking about it.”

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

A One-Word Accusation Swirls Around Trump’s Deadly Strike: Assassination

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166699986_cf748faf-2eff-45fd-a3e4-ee86428ad47c-facebookJumbo A One-Word Accusation Swirls Around Trump’s Deadly Strike: Assassination United States Trump, Donald J Terrorism Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Obama, Barack Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iran Hezbollah

A single word has become a focal point of concerns about President Trump’s decision to kill Iran’s top general: assassination.

There is no fixed, formal definition of assassination. But, as with many politically charged labels, the word has taken on significance broader than any one meaning, shorthand for concerns that Mr. Trump’s decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was unethical, illegitimate or dangerous.

The Trump administration says that its strike on General Suleimani was not an assassination, calling it a lawful and justifiable use of force.

Assassination is colloquially defined as a killing, or sometimes murder, for political purposes, particularly but not necessarily of a senior political leader.

Mr. Suleimani’s killing seems to fit that description. He is one of the senior-most figures in the government of Iran, a country that is not formally at war with the United States. While the Trump administration’s justifications have focused on halting what it says was an “imminent” attack it has also included political aims, such as changing Iran’s behavior.

But there is also a second definition.

The United States banned assassination in 1976 but did not define it. Ever since, decades of legal interpretation and precedent-setting have evolved into a legal understanding of assassination that is intricate, disputed and narrower with each administration.

Government powers to target people abroad are becoming broader as well as “more contested and more complex,” said Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Lawfare, a legal affairs site. “The term ‘assassination’ is kind of the converse of that, an identification of where the government has exceeded its authority and violated its own ban.”

Past administrations have widened that authority so substantially that, “if you surveyed every legal scholar, you’re probably going to see a fairly strong agreement that this is probably lawful,” she said, referring to Mr. Suleimani’s killing.

But that would not make his killing just, moral or wise, Ms. Hennessey stressed, only that it would fall within legal precedents set by past administrations. And any rationale remains hypothetical. The administration has presented no legal justification, raising concerns that it may have acted without first establishing the order’s legality.

The gap between colloquial and legal definitions may reveal more than a linguistic issue. It parallels a growing divide between attitudes toward the appropriate use of deadly force and the American presidency’s self-assigned powers to kill abroad.

Mr. Suleimani’s killing, by taking those powers to new extremes, draws new attention to how they became so broad, and so cloaked in executive branch secrecy, that an act that meets virtually any colloquial definition of assassination could be considered legally permissible.

It helps to look at the intent of the original ban on assassination.

In the 1970s, Congressional investigations revealed a series of American plans or attempts to kill foreign leaders, provoking outrage at home and abroad. The plots were seen as violations of international norms and American values, as well as putting American leaders at risk.

President Ford issued an order banning the government from undertaking “political assassination,” but did not explicitly define the term. Beyond the clear intention of barring more plots against foreign leaders, the order’s implications were unclear.

Lawyers in the Reagan administration argued that a killing had to be unlawful in order to qualify as assassination — an interpretation that has held.

Kenneth Anderson, an American University law professor who advised the Obama administration on its program to target suspected terrorists abroad, said that, as a result, assassination came to generally mean an unlawful killing by the government.

But executive branch lawyers typically determine when the government has the power to kill someone abroad.

“There’s a little bit of a circular logic to that,” Ms. Hennessey said. “Anything the executive branch does, they’re going to say is lawful, so they’re going to say it’s never an assassination.”

Beginning with Mr. Reagan, each administration has broadened those powers, in turn narrowing what the government might consider an assassination.

Those expansions often focused on terrorist threats, such as a 1984 finding by Central Intelligence Agency lawyers that the administration could target members of Hezbollah, a Lebanese group. Hezbollah’s past attacks made it an ongoing threat, they reasoned; therefore, killing its members would constitute self-defense.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 — and subsequent public demands that presidents stop terrorists before they strike — led to ever-greater expansions, leaving Mr. Trump with a spectrum of legal interpretations and precedents to draw upon.

The Trump administration has hinted at, but not explicitly made, two legal rationales: that the general was a legitimate wartime target and that killing him was a justifiable act of self-defense.

The administration has cited, as legal authority, the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution, which approved the invasion of Iraq. The resolution is still in place, granting legal powers as if the war had never ended.

If the administration can demonstrate that Mr. Suleimani’s activities in Iraq made him an adversary in that conflict, it can call on broad wartime authority to target him, Mr. Anderson said.

The administration has mostly emphasized claims that Mr. Suleimani posed an “imminent threat” to American lives, hinting at legal precedents set by past presidents.

The Bush and Obama administrations concluded that they could, under certain conditions, lawfully kill someone who posed an imminent threat — or whose past actions suggested they could pose a future threat. Their findings, which drew on interpretations of domestic and international law as permitting attacks to halt imminent threats, formed the basis of much of their targeted killing programs. However, there is evidence that the U.S. government uses an expansive definition of “imminent,” and many dispute whether it actually meets international legal standards.

Mr. Anderson said that killing Mr. Suleimani would almost certainly have met legal standards used by the Obama administration, calling him “targetable” for his role in overseeing past proxy attacks against American forces.

The Trump administration, however, initially said its strike was to deter future attacks, not to stop one. It has provided little evidence for its claims of an imminent threat, and some officials privately say that the case is thin and may not represent Mr. Trump’s actual motivation.

Though some argue that the United States designation of Mr. Suleimani’s military group as a foreign terrorist organization bolsters the case for killing him, some legal scholars say that this is not relevant for determining whether he posed an imminent threat.

Killing Mr. Suleimani solely for political reasons, or in the absence of a sufficient legal rationale like an imminent threat, would open Mr. Trump to charges that the killing was unlawful and therefore an assassination.

Still, past administrations, citing secrecy, have at times presented little more legal justification than a promise that it had secured one, underscoring how far executive authority had expanded before Mr. Trump took office.

While the Trump administration has not presented a rationale under international law, Mary Ellen O’Connell, a University of Notre Dame law professor, argued on EJIL Talk, a site on international law, that details released so far “do not meet” the conditions of “lawful self-defense” that would be necessary to make the killing legal under international law.

Killing Mr. Suleimani, though, would mark a major escalation in the application of presidential authority, even if it might draw upon familiar legal justifications.

Those powers were established, Mr. Anderson said, at a time when “the circumstances were not really the same geopolitically.”

Precedents set in the era of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are being carried over into a new world of regional power struggles and state-sponsored proxy conflict. But foreign militaries can retaliate in ways that ragtag terrorist groups cannot. And, as Mr. Trump is learning, violating the norm against killing foreign leaders can bring international isolation.

In a twist of historical irony, those expanding powers have led the United States back to the very action that the 1976 ban on assassination seemingly intended to ban: killing a senior leader in a country with which it is not at war.

Much like the Cold War plots that inspired that ban, Mr. Trump’s strike is focusing attention on the perils of unconstrained executive authority.

“Certainly this vindicates some of the concerns that opponents of the government’s assertions of executive power in this area had,” Ms. Hennessey said, arguing that also it showed Congress’s unwillingness to check presidential power.

Critics called Bush- and Obama-era targeted killing programs legally and ethically dubious, and argued that they set dangerous precedents. Many called the practice assassination, implying that legal rationales were baseless.

Even if legal scholars believe that past precedent could potentially clear the way for Mr. Trump’s strike, some express discomfort with both the underlying law and the real-world results.

“Many of the legal issues here are contested,” Ashley Meeks, a University of Virginia law professor, said on Lawfare’s podcast. “Which legal framework even applies to the killing? What does it mean for a threat to be imminent? Is that even the proper test for today?”

Samuel Moyn, a Yale Law School professor also on the podcast, questioned whether, on a topic like assassination, legal definitional matters really could or should be taken in isolation.

“The reality is that law is always politicized, in this area especially,” he said, adding that concerns about the legality of, say, a drone strike “are really not about the law. They’re about legitimation or delegitimation of this president, or of American war, in this case or in general.”

If a controversy like the legality of killing of Mr. Suleimani is treated as solely a matter of legal definitions, he added, “then we miss the point of talking about it.”

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

Defense Secretary Says Iran Was Within Days of Attacking U.S. Interests: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166799313_fc11a71a-d128-42d3-9a9e-b44afefc71b0-articleLarge Defense Secretary Says Iran Was Within Days of Attacking U.S. Interests: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

A vigil for General Suleimani in Tehran on Tuesday evening.Credit…Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Tuesday that Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was planning attacks to occur within days, laying out the administration’s legal justification for killing the Iranian commander in a drone strike.

Americans officials have been pressed over their claims that they targeted General Suleimani to forestall imminent attacks against U.S. interests.

At a Pentagon news conference Tuesday, Mr. Esper was asked whether attacks had been expected in days or weeks. “I think it’s more fair to say days,” the defense secretary said.

He declined to offer more details, nor to describe the intelligence underpinning that assessment.

Mr. Esper said General Suleimani, who was killed Friday in Iraq, “was in Baghdad to coordinate additional attacks.”

“He’s been conducting terrorist activities against us and our coalition partners for over 20 years,” Mr. Esper said. “He has the blood of hundreds of Americans, soldiers, on his hands and wounded thousands more. And then we could talk about all of the mayhem he’s caused against the Syrian people, the people of Lebanon. Even his own people in Iran.”

He added: “To somehow suggest that he wasn’t a legitimate target, I think, is fanciful. He was clearly on the battlefield.”

Mr. Esper also said that despite to an unsigned draft letter from the American military command in Baghdad on troop withdrawal and a unanimous vote by the Iraqi Parliament, the United States does not plan to pull its troops out of Iraq right now.

The Pentagon has made preparations in anticipation of Iranian retaliation, Mr. Esper said, and American troops in the Middle East are on a heightened state of alert.

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” Mr. Esper told a news conference at the Pentagon. “We’re prepared for any contingency and then we’ll respond appropriately to whatever they do.”

President Trump on Tuesday told reporters he would avoid targeting cultural sites in military attacks, walking back a threat he made against Iran days earlier.

Following a bipartisan and international uproar, Mr. Trump conceded that striking such sites would amount to a war crime. “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” he said in the Oval Office as he hosted the visiting prime minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

His remarks to reporters came a day after Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime. That appeared to put him at odds with his boss.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump declared that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, some “important to Iran & the Iranian culture.”

None of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified.

But the president’s threats and his initial refusal to back down in the face of criticism generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders.

Reports reached Washington on Tuesday that an Iraqi military base where American troops are deployed was rocketed by Iran or its proxy forces.

But officials subsequently said the early report of an attack appeared to be false.

Bases in Iraq are routinely hit by rockets and mortar fire.

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Canada, Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Canada is temporarily moving to Kuwait some of its 500 military personnel based in Iraq, the country’s top military official, Gen. Jonathan Vance said in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

The killing of General Suleimani initially jolted oil markets, but the surge in prices has eased. On Tuesday afternoon, the Brent crude oil benchmark was down about 1.5 percent, to about $67.87 a barrel.

Analysts attribute the modesty of the increase to market skepticism that Iran will seek to hobble oil trading by, for example, closing the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel that many oil tankers have to pass through when they leave the Persian Gulf.

Oil flows have not been disrupted, so far, and the markets are “pricing in just a low probability of something happening,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil market research at Rystad Energy, a research firm.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing5-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Defense Secretary Says Iran Was Within Days of Attacking U.S. Interests: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

As Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s body was taken home for burial, a crush is believed to have killed dozens of mourners who crowded the streets of Kerman, Iran.CreditCredit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

With the American role in the Middle East in flux, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia flew to Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday for a victory lap of sorts.

Highlighting Russia’s newfound influence in the region, Mr. Putin met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, the strongman whose rule was largely rescued by Russian military intervention in Syria’s civil war.

Mr. Putin told Mr. al-Assad that “one can now confidently state that huge strides have been made in restoring Syrian statehood and the territorial integrity of the country,” a Kremlin statement said.

The Kremlin made no mention of Iran in its description of Mr. Putin’s visit, which had not been announced ahead of time. But Tehran was a crucial partner of Moscow in propping up Mr. al-Assad against Syrian rebels, including those backed by the United States.

Russia has called the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran illegal and expressed condolences to Tehran. On Wednesday, Mr. Putin is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Istanbul, with Syria and Libya on the agenda, according to the Kremlin.

President Emmanuel Macron of France spoke with the president of Iran, Hassan Rohani, by phone on Tuesday afternoon to plead for calm and de-escalation.

Mr. Macron called on Iran to “refrain from any step that might aggravate the escalation already underway,” according to a statement from the Élysée Palace, the seat of the French presidency.

France has tried to play the role of mediator between the Iranians and Americans for months, but in vain.

The French president also called on Iran to respect the 2015 nuclear accord, and to release two French academics, Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, who are being held there, a major source of tension between the two countries.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

Across the Middle East and the world, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

Warnings to United State citizens were sent by American diplomats not only in the Middle East but also in Asia.

The American Embassy in Beijing, citing “heightened tension in the Middle East,” advised American citizens on Tuesday to keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, stay alert in tourist locations, review personal security plans and ensure that their travel documents were updated and accessible. American citizens in South Korea said they had received similar warnings.

American diplomats in the Middle East began sending advisories earlier in the week.

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Adam Nossiter and Anton Troianovski.

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