In the wake of escalating tensions after the killing of Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, President Donald Trump has revealed that the United States just spent $2 trillion on military equipment.
Trump made this known on his official Twitter handle on Sunday, boasting that the US is the biggest and by far the best in the world, and saying, “If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way”.
Iraq’s powerful Shiite Hashd Shaabi militia said on Friday that the group’s deputy leader, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes was killed when the US fired airstrikes that killed the Iranian General in an attack near Baghdad airport.
The U.S. airstrikes killed at least 25 militiamen, and their deaths are the latest escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, coming after thousands of supporters of the Shiite militia broke into the U.S. embassy compound in central Baghdad.
Following this, three rockets have hit US military air base 80 kilometres north of Baghdad, the Al-Balad military air base that hosts US forces in Iraq. It was not clear where the missiles came from.
“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!” Trump tweeted.
The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2020
Earlier, in a series of tweets Saturday, US President Donald Trump responded to Iranian threats of avenging Major General Qassem Soleimani’s assassination in a US airstrike, by warning that the US will hit 52 Iranian sites dear to Iran.
His tweets represent a further escalation of the tension, amidst protests by anti-war groups in the US and the UK and the claim by his administration that it was committed to de-escalation.
Trump, who is never known to walk away from a fight lashed out at Tehran in the tweets, and threatened that his country has primed its arsenals on 52 Iranian targets, as a revenge for the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago. This was in 1979.
“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters.
“He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”, Trump wrote.
Meanwhile, Iran, on its part, said it had identified 35 targets for potential strikes and raised the red ‘flags of revenge’ against the US.
An Iranian official said at least 35 U.S. targets, including warships and Tel Aviv, have been identified for retaliatory strikes.
Iranian General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, a Revolutionary Guards commander in the southern province of Kerman, made the threat a day after Quds Force leader General Qassem Soleimani was killed at the Baghdad International Airport by a U.S. airstrike.
Abuhamzeh said vital American targets in the region had been identified a ‘long time ago’, including ships in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and Tel Aviv.
“The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there… some 35 U.S. targets in the region as well as Tel Aviv are within our reach,” he said, according to Reuters.
Hezbollah, an Islamic political and militant group, has also warned Iraqi soldiers to stay at least 1,000 meters away from U.S. military bases from Sunday onwards.
Vowing vengeance for Soleimani’s death, Iranians raised the blood-red ‘flags of revenge’ over the minarets at the revered Jamkaran Mosque in the holy city of Qom on Saturday.
A retaliation attack from Iran could be seen ‘within weeks’ either at home or abroad, a senior congressional staffer told Time.
“There is no indication that there is going to be a de-escalation in the near future. The only question is how bad is the retaliation going to be and where and what is it going to hit,” the staffer said.
Abuhamzeh’s concerning remarks that Iran has previously identified targets seems to confirm the State Department’s reasoning behind the airstrike on Friday.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.’
“The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world,” the State Department said.