'World cannot afford war': US Democrats on Iran missile strike

Published January 8, 2020
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leaves a house democratic leadership meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. — Reuters
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leaves a house democratic leadership meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. — Reuters

Democrats in the US Congress and some of the party’s presidential contenders warned on Tuesday about escalating conflict in the Middle East after Iran launched a retaliatory missile strike against US forces in Iraq.

The news that Tehran had fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel broke during a meeting of Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

The attack was in retaliation for last week’s US drone strike killing elite Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, according to a statement from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on state TV.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was handed a note about the attack during the meeting and left soon thereafter, according to people present.

“Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting US troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America and world cannot afford war,” Pelosi said on Twitter.

US President Donald Trump ordered the attack on Soleimani on the grounds that the Iranian general was planning to attack Americans, without providing evidence.

Democrats have been critical of the decision, saying it would escalate tensions with Iran. They have called for Trump to seek approval from Congress before taking further military action, although the Republican-led Senate is unlikely to support any measure that would tie the president’s hands.

Read more: 'World more dangerous': Reactions pour in as Iran's top general killed in US air strike

“At this moment, my heart and my prayers are with our military and their families in Iraq and around the world,” Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren said at an event in New York.

“But this is a reminder why we need to de-escalate tension in the Middle East. The American people do not want a war with Iran,” she added.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, another candidate for the Democratic nomination to take on Trump in November’s presidential election, said at an event outside Philadelphia that the attack was predictable and faulted Trump’s handling of the situation.

“I just pray to God as he goes through what’s happening, as we speak, that he’s listening to his military commanders for the first time because so far that has not been the case,” he added.

On news of the attack, “there was not surprise in the room,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who attended the meeting with Pelosi.

“Nobody laments the loss of Soleimani, he was a vicious terrorist that caused a lot of loss of life. But no one ought to be surprised that when you do that, there’s a response,” he said.

Republican US Senator Marco Rubio called for unity, saying in a Twitter post that Iran wanted Americans to turn against one another .

“The time will come to debate US policy. Tonight American and allied troops have come under direct attack by a nation-state and Americans must come together to support and protect them and respond appropriately,” he said.

Opinion

Karachi diary

Karachi diary

If govts could focus a bit more on infrastructure and transportation, the heart of Pakistan would be able to pump a lot more life and activity.

Editorial

Starting over
Updated 01 Mar, 2024

Starting over

Both govt and opposition must resolve that their decisions will prioritise the public good over anything else.
Missing the point
01 Mar, 2024

Missing the point

IN a change of heart, the caretaker prime minister attended the hearing of the Baloch missing persons’ case in the...
Fleecing power consumers
01 Mar, 2024

Fleecing power consumers

THE so-called independent inquiry committee, formed by the power ministry to probe charges of excessive billing by...
Unchanged rating
Updated 29 Feb, 2024

Unchanged rating

Unchanged Moody's rating underscores that fears of default will continue unless a new, larger loan agreement is reached with the IMF.
Silenced voices
29 Feb, 2024

Silenced voices

THE state suddenly seems to be acting more loyal than the king as far as respect for the judiciary is concerned. The...
Gwadar deluge
29 Feb, 2024

Gwadar deluge

GWADAR has been battered with severe rains — the worst since 2010 — with both the town and Ormara to its east ...