(TMU) — The U.S. decision to assassinate Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani has been greeted with warnings from Washington’s traditional allies to avoid any further escalation of the conflict with Iran.
The drone strike on Iran’s top commander was personally approved by President Donald Trump, and was reportedly launched without consulting U.S. allies.
Needless to say, the Iranian government is furious and has promised “severe revenge” for the attack. For Tehran, the attack crosses all red lines and represents Washington behaving as a rogue superpower making a desperate gamble with the future of the region.
Global reactions to the attack have also been unkind toward Trump’s decision, with only Israel vocally backing the gambit. The picture that emerges is one of the United States facing increased isolation after it potentially lit the fuse for a massive regional conflict.
The United Kingdom: Trump Didn’t Even Bother to Tell Boris Johnson
While the U.K. has long been the closest ally of the United States—especially in regard to military interventions in the Middle East—it appears that Washington failed to consult London about its intention to launch the fateful airstrike in Iran or even tip it off to the attack, the BBC reports.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is now pressing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to confirm what information, if any, was given to the U.K. prior to the airstrike.
In a statement Friday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that a war with Iran “is in none of our interests” and urged “all parties to de-escalate.” The foreign secretary’s statement declined to endorse or condemn U.S. actions.
Meanwhile, fellow Conservative Party MP Tom Tugendhat, who also chairs the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told BBC News:
“I’ve long believed that the purpose of having allies is that we can surprise our enemies and not each other, and it’s been a pattern, sadly, which has been a bit of a shame, that the US administration of late has not shared with us, and that is a matter of concern.”
— Rebecca Long-Bailey (@RLong_Bailey) January 3, 2020
Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey also blasted President Trump for “yet again radically and recklessly escalated tensions in an area where peace-keeping was already on a knife edge.”
Continuing, he demanded the prime minister clarify London’s position, adding:
“The U.K. should not automatically follow whatever position the Trump administration takes, but work with a broader group of concerned states at the United Nations.”
Other politicians and commentators across the political spectrum have also vented their anger over the attack on social media.
While London has typically been loyal to Washington in matters of war and peace in the Middle East, the U.S.’s clear disregard for protocol and shocking decision to attack Soleimani could risk undermining relations between the two countries.
Boris Johnson when Trump asks should he start a war with Iran pic.twitter.com/stLq5FCqqQ
— Ty (@tkccfc) January 3, 2020
France: “Escalation is Underway”
France was the first European country to react. Euro News reports that Junior Foreign Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin told RTL radio that “we are waking up to a more dangerous world. Military escalations are always dangerous.” She added that “escalation is underway.”
According to the Guardian, de Montchalin said that “at the European level, we have to work in collective multilateral frameworks and prevent the powers, one against the other, from playing their game in an unpredictable manner.”
President Emmanuel Macron also has voiced the need for “restraint,” urging the parties involved to “avoid a new dangerous escalation.”
Macron phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss concerns over the killing, according to a statement published Friday by the Kremlin’s website. According to the statement, both sides expressed concern that the attack “could seriously aggravate the situation in the region.”
Like the U.K. and other European countries, France played a crucial role in forging a new relationship with Iran through the 2015 nuclear accord. When Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018, Paris was among the most vocal critics of the decision.
Germany Also Warns of “Dangerous Escalation”
The government of Germany largely blamed the crisis on Tehran but warned that the Middle East had reached “a dangerous escalation point.”
Government spokesman Ulrike Demmer said that the U.S. move “was a reaction to a series of military provocations for which Iran is responsible” while also stressing the need for diplomacy.
Israel Stands Alone at Trump’s Side
Tel Aviv quickly backed Trump’s action, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying in a statement:
“Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right. Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks. President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively.”
Opposition leader Yair Lapid of the Blue and White Party also praised the killing of Soleimani, whom he claims got “exactly what he deserved.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.