6 June 2024

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump insisted “All is well!” on Tuesday after Iran fired surface-to-surface missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. He promised to make a statement to the nation Wednesday morning about the increasingly precarious situation with Iran.

 

Trump offered no immediate indication of whether he would retaliate, and stayed out of sight Tuesday night as news of the missile strikes emerged.

But he tweeted that an assessment of casualties and damages was under way. The initial outlook, he said, was “So far, so good!”

 

The Iranian missiles came in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Trump and his advisers are under pressure to disclose more details about the intelligence that led to the U.S. strike.

Trump said Tuesday that his decision saved American lives and that members of Congress will get a briefing on the reasons for the U.S. attack.

“They were planning something,” he said of the Iranians.

 

Hours later, Iran struck back, firing the missiles at bases housing U.S. troops and warning the United States and its allies in the region not to retaliate. The White House said the president was monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.

So far, Trump and top national security officials have justified the airstrike with general statements about the threat posted by Soleimani, who commanded proxy forces outside Iran and was responsible for the deaths of American troops in Iraq.

But the details have been scarce.

 

“He’s no longer a monster. He’s dead,” Trump said. “And that’s a good thing for a lot of countries. He was planning a very big attack and a very bad attack for us and other people and we stopped him and I don’t think anybody can complain about it.”

Soleimani was targeted while he was at an airport in Baghdad with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a veteran Iraqi militant who also was killed.

Trump said they weren’t in Baghdad to discuss vacation plans or visit a “’nice resort,” but were there to talk over “‘bad business.”’

 

The lack of detail doesn’t sit well with Democrats, who recall how President George W. Bush justified his invasion of Iraq by accusing Saddam Hussein of having non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Lawmakers in recent days have been pressing for more detail to explain why Trump ordered the killing — a decision that previous administrations passed up because of fears it would unleash even more violence.

Soleimani traveled frequently and relatively openly, with visits to Baghdad more frequent in recent months. He also often showed up in Syria, including along the border between Iraq and Syria.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have called on Trump to declassify the written notification he sent to Congress after the strike. The notification was required under the War Powers Resolution Act of 1973, which requires the president to report to Congress when American forces are sent into hostile situations.