Trump sounds more bellicose note following rocket attack on Green Zone in Iraq.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
President Donald Trump sent a not-so-subtle warning to the Islamic Republic on Sunday, tweeting that “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.”
The president appeared to be responding to a rocket attack in Iraq’s Green Zone on Sunday. The Green Zone is a heavily fortified area in Iraq’s capital of Baghdad where the U.S. Embassy and Iraq’s government headquarters are located.
No one claimed responsibility for the Katyusha rocket, which didn’t cause any injuries. But it’s possible it was launched by a Iranian-backed militia.
The Trump administration clearly holds Iran responsible. “Never threaten the United States again!” Trump added in his tweet.
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Tensions have risen in recent weeks as the U.S. ordered an aircraft carrier and bomber squadron to the Mideast following unspecified threats that Iran may target U.S. troops in the region. Trump also announced the imposition of further sanctions on Iran. There were also reports that Trump was presented with war plans for dealing with Iran militarily by his top security advisers.
On May 15, the U.S. ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff out of Iraq following a lightning trip to Iraq by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 7 to Baghdad to warn the Iraqi government that the U.S. had been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the region.
However, Trump in recent days has signaled he would prefer a diplomatic solution. On Friday, Trump contradicted news reports about U.S. readiness for war with Iran. “The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” he said.
Last Wednesday, administration officials said that Trump had told Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he did not want to go to war with Iran.
Queried by press on Thursday if the U.S. was on a path to war, Trump replied “I hope not.”
But the recent rocket attack has made Trump more bellicose. U.S. forces are already in place to respond to any Iranian threat. On Sunday, the U.S. Navy said it conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group together with the U.S. Marine Corps, demonstrating “lethality and agility to respond to threat.”