President Trump has put the nation of Iran on notice after a Katyusha rocket landed less than a mile from the United States embassy in Baghdad.
While it is unclear who fired the rocket, the U.S. President seemed to claim Iran was responsible and took to Twitter to say: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
From the Washington Examiner:
U.S. Central Command issued a brief statement saying it was aware of an explosion in the International or “Green” Zone outside the U.S. embassy compound. “There were no U.S. or coalition casualties,” said spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban. “Iraqi Security Forces are investigating the incident.”
The lone rocket attack comes after the United States ordered the departure of nonessential personnel from the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil, citing credible threats by Iran against U.S. interests in the region. While no one has yet claimed responsibility, the rocket is of a design trafficked by Iran and used by Middle Eastern terrorist groups, Russ Read reports.
President Trump has ramped up his rhetoric against Iran but contended he does not want to push the country to war.
“I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly — by far most importantly,” Trump told Fox News Channel host Steve Hilton on Sunday. “I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons — you just can’t let that happen.”
Trump also said he was surprised by how crippling the Iran deal was for its economy, “I ended the Iran nuclear deal, and actually, I must tell you — I had no idea it was going to be as strong as it was. It totally — the country is devastated from the standpoint of the economy.”
The president’s desire not to go to war was further fleshed out by former head of U.S. Central Command retired General David Petraeus.
“He’s not after regime change. He’s after what Secretary Pompeo has announced as the objective, which is regime behavior change,” Petraeus told ABC’s Martha Raddatz, via the Washington Examiner. “We should have learned by now, I think, especially after the Arab Spring, that the regime change aftermath is not always what we have hoped it would be.”
Petraeus said when he was in command of U.S. troops in the region, he drew up several contingency plans for striking Iran, short of a land invasion, and even rehearsed some of the scenarios. But he said a Pentagon plan to deploy, if U.S. forces are attacked, as many as 120,000 troops does not amount to an invasion force in a country four times the size of Iraq.
“I think any thoughts about invading Iran, again rightly the president has shelved those I think, that would be an enormous undertaking. And he’s right in his assessment, we would need a heck of a lot more troops than that were we ever to do something like that,” he said. “Now that doesn’t mean we can’t carry out very substantial and very damaging attacks from the air, that we can’t do a lot to their maritime. Again, we can do a tremendous amount of damage.”