President Trump doubled down on his threat to attack Iranian cultural sites Sunday—and threatened Iraq, as well. The president responded to the Iraqi parliament's vote to expel all US troops by warning that the US could hit them with "sanctions like they've never seen before." "It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame," Trump said. Axios reports that the resolution passed in Iraq does not formally require US troops to leave, but urges the government to expel them. Trump described going into Iraq as the worst decision in American history, but vowed that the US would not depart until it was reimbursed for the billions of dollars spent on a new air base. More:
- "A very friendly way." Trump said the sanctions would be imposed if the US is asked to leave and it isn't on a "very friendly basis." With the warning, Trump "was threatening sanctions on a country for forcing out American troops whom he himself had pledged to bring home during his 2016 presidential campaign," the New York Times notes.
- "It doesn't work that way." Trump also defended his threat to strike 52 sites "important to Iran & Iranian culture" if Tehran retaliated for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the Guardian reports. "They're allowed to kill our people. They're allowed to torture and maim our people. They're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people," Trump said. "And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn't work that way." Targeting cultural sites could be considered a war crime under the 1954 Hague Treaty.
- Soleimani's daughter issues a threat. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed over the remains of Soleimani and others killed in the attack in front of a huge crowd in Tehran on Monday, the AP reports. Soleimani's daughter, Zeinab, was cheered when she told the crowd: "The families of the American soldiers in western Asia ... will spend their days waiting for the death of their children." Soleimani's successor, Esmail Ghaani, was at Khamenei's side, along with other Iranian leaders. Iranian state TV reports that there were millions of people in the crowd.
- Next step. The BBC reports that following the funeral Monday, the general's body will be taken to the holy city of Qom for a ceremony and burial Tuesday.
- House to vote on limiting action. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that the House will vote this week on a use-of-force resolution to limit Trump's ability to act against Iran, the Washington Post reports. She called the assassination of Soleimani a "provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials" that endangered US military personnel and others. Any such measure, however, is unlikely to get far in the Senate.
- Trump "notifies" Congress. Democrats have complained that Trump acted without notifying Congress. Trump said a tweet Sunday would serve as notification of future action. "These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner," he said. "Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!"
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