Washington, D.C.- In the early hours of Friday, January 3, 2020, a United States drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport killed General Qasem Soleimani, who was Iran’s top security and intelligence commander.
Since 1998, General Soleimni was the Commander of the Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which supports non-state actors all over the Middle East, including Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis and many others.
“General Soleimani wreaked havoc on Christians and others in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria for decades, including providing strategy for Bashar al-Assad in killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions of his own people,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini.
“However, our concerns are for the general stability of the region.” He continued, “Heightened tensions bring increased possibility of counterattacks on religious minorities, and IDC is closely monitoring the situation to ensure that such crimes do not happen.”
Friday morning also saw a statement from the State Department, where it ensured that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took steps to “make clear that the United States remains committed to de-escalation.”
Additionally, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut has issued a warning for American citizens in the region, calling for them to “maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness,” while the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has asked American citizens to leave the country altogether.
IDC has always advocated for a diplomatic approach to conflict, and we hope that the Iraqi government will continue its efforts in maintaining peace.
Furthermore, IDC calls on Iraq and Lebanon to ensure the safety of protesters who have already been targeted by Iran aligned thugs. Their right to gather and call for change should not be threatened by violence.