On Thursday, Donald Trump ordered the assassination by drone attack of top Iranian military leader General Qassem Soleimani, setting off a crisis that has resulted in Iran threatening deadly retaliation. In addition, the country’s president said that it will no longer abide by any provisions of the nuclear deal signed with the United States and other countries in 2015 — meaning that Iran may now move ahead with developing atomic weapons, as The Associated Press reported on Sunday.
Trump has responded with rage, threatening to bomb 52 unspecified sites in Iran that he said would be important places in the country’s culture. When critics noted that bombing cultural sites and civilians is considered a war crime, Trump doubled down on the threat.
“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 on Sunday.
“And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites. It doesn’t work that way.”
But on Sunday, Trump turned his anger on Iran’s neighbor and rival Iraq, threatening that country as well, after the Iraqi parliament took a symbolic vote to expel U.S. troops from the country. Trump responded by threatening Iraq with economic sanctions “like they’ve never seen before ever,” adding that the Iraq sanctions would make U.S. sanctions now in effect against Iran “look tame.”
But Trump’s rage was simply “embarrassing,” and a sign of “desperation,” according to Seth Abramson, author of the New York Times bestseller Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America.
“His desperation smells exactly like weakness and fear and is embarrassing for all of us,” Abramson wrote on his Twitter account late Sunday.
Trump claimed that U.S. troops would not leave Iraq unless “they pay us back for it.”
In addition to Abramson’s comments, Trump’s remarks also drew a rebuke from Brett McGurk, the former chief U.S. diplomat in charge of coordinating the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“Trump’s comments tonight regarding Iran and Iraq are not only unacceptable, they’re unAmerican,’ McGurk wrote on his own Twitter account, adding that American military forces are “not mercenaries” and do not “attack cultural sites.”
McGurk concluded by blasting Trump’s verbal attacks on both Iraq and Iran as “reckless and unprecedented words from a Commander-in-Chief.”
In addition to allowing Iran to move closer to obtaining an atomic bomb, according to the Associated Press report, the “blowback” from Trump’s decision to assassinate Soleimani could also lead to a resurgence of the Islamic State terror group in Iraq.