“Reckless,” “a dangerous escalation,” and “severe revenge”: These are just a few of the words coming from international leaders and politicians in the wake of the U.S. assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top military commander and the face of the Islamic Republic’s intervention across the Middle East.
“A #SevereRevenge awaits the criminals who have stained their hands with his & the other martyrs’ blood last night,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s most powerful leader, wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “Martyr Soleimani is an Intl figure of Resistance & all such people will seek revenge.”
The Thursday night airstrike that killed Iran’s most notorious military commander and spy, who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force – the military entity’s overseas wing – for more than 20 years, is sending shockwaves through the Middle East and beyond. According to Phillip Smyth, a Shia Islamist militarism expert and senior fellow at the Washington Institute, it’s “the most major decapitation strike the U.S. has ever engaged in.”
Dow futures dropped more than 300 points in Friday morning trading, with futures on the Nasdaq and S&P 500 also sharply lower. Brent crude spiked as much as 4%, gold hit a four-month high, and the dollar fell to its lowest level in nine weeks. The U.S. State Department has ordered all American citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately.