Iran’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani was in defiance of Trump’s threats to Iran not to retaliate and presents him with the biggest crisis of his presidency to date, according to an editorial by CNN.
“In effect, Iran called President Donald Trump’s bluff, dismissing his warnings that it should not respond to his own massively provocative move of killing” Soleimani, CNN said in its editorial on Wednesday.
“Iran’s attack appeared to shatter the talking points of Trump’s political allies that his targeted strike against Qasem Soleimani had reestablished deterrence,” the editorial said.
CNN also said the US assassination has brought America to the “brink of its first hot war” with Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
“If it is to be war, it would be one of Trump’s own making, and a product of a brash, threatening leadership style carved from an ‘America First’ disdain for traditional US diplomacy by an emotional President who acts on instinct rather than strategy,” the editorial added.
“A war with Iran could further tear the fabric of American political life, amid Trump’s impeachment battle, and rebound on the President as he seeks a second term in November’s election.”
The US military carried out an airstrike on the direction of Trump at Baghdad’s international airport early on Friday, assassinating Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions.
Early on Wednesday, Iran responded to the assassination of Soleimani, the Middle East’s most prominent anti-terror commander, striking the American airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq and another in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
The Washington Post said in an editorial Tuesday that Trump’s public response to the assassination has been chaotic and embarrassing, raising questions over the administration’s preparation to deal with the crisis.
The Trump administration was embarrassed after the US Defense Department sent a letter to Iraqi officials this week stating the US military would comply with the prime minister’s demand to pull US troops out of the country, only to call it a draft copy released by mistake.