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Iraq’s Supreme Court has issued an arrest warrant for former President Donald Trump over the death of Iran’s Quds Force commander, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, on Iraqi soil, according to a state-run media outlet based in Baghdad.
Iraqi News noted that “President of the Supreme Judicial Council, Faiq Zaidan, announced on Thursday the issuance of an arrest warrant for former U.S. President Donald Trump.” The warrant is also for the killing of the then-Iraqi militia leader, chief of staff of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq.
The killing of the Quds Force and militia commanders led to a counterstrike from Iran against the Aia Al-Assad U.S. base in Iraq.
Citing the reports, OilPrice.com noted:
The arrest warrant charges Trump with premeditated murder. While the warrant is clearly symbolic, a conviction of this nature carries the death penalty.
The court said the investigation into the killings was still ongoing, AP reported.
Citing Baghdad Today news agency, IraqiNews quoted Supreme Judicial Council head Faiq Zaidban as calling on Baghdad to hold Trump “accountable for this heinous crime.”
In January 2020, NBC News reported that Trump himself approved the strike against Soleimani roughly seven months earlier. A previous presidential directive authorizing it came “with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani,” according to officials who spoke with the outlet.
The outlet added:
After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.
But Trump rejected the idea, saying he’d take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president’s message was “that’s only on the table if they hit Americans,” according to a person briefed on the discussion.
Previous administrations had identified Iran’s Quds Force as a terrorist organization and authorized sanctions against Soleimani and other officials associated with the military organization.
In April 2019, then-National Security Adviser John Bolton “helped prod Trump to designate the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization,” NBC News stated.
“White House officials at the time refused to say whether that meant the United States would target Revolutionary Guard leaders as it does the leadership of other terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State militant group and al Qaeda,” the outlet said, noting that in retaliation, Iran designated the U.S. military a terrorist group.
Bolton, in an interview last week, said he was going to run against Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, citing foreign policy as his top concern.
In an interview with the Good Morning Britain, Bolton, known as a foreign policy hawk, said his primary focus would be on getting tougher with rivals Russia and China while going on to claim that Trump’s influence within the Republican Party is in “terminal decline.”
He also made clear that he wouldn’t be simply a vanity candidate.