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tv   NEWSHOUR  Al Jazeera  January 3, 2020 5:00am-6:01am +03

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not really an operational commander of al qaeda and it's not the case with whom the money is very much as our commentators have been saying and operational leader ok gave the moment thanks very much you're watching al-jazeera coming to you live from our headquarters here in ohio if you're just joining us we're interrupting a normal shuttle of news to get you across the very latest developments on that big breaking story coming to us out of the iraqi capital baghdad the iranian capital tehran and of course washington as well the gentleman you are looking at was a very very well connected commander in the iranian regime according to multiple reports he has in the last 4 and a half 5 hours lost his life along with an iraqi militia commander as well they were both considered to be special guests they had flown into the international airport at baghdad or the iraqi militia commander and that's purely an extrapolation on my part following the story for you the iraqi militia commander
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who perhaps met him at the airport their vehicle or vehicles were targeted along with several other people they lost their lives it was the parts of the airport compound that is separated from a counterterrorism center literally by a wall what you're looking at right now took place according to the reports that we've got that we are trusting within about a kilometer of the airport the gentleman that we're the key gentleman that we're talking about so the money was very very significant he fought in the 8 year long iran iraq war he managed to survive the flow the changes of iranian politics he's only ever given he had only ever given one interview in his life very quiet very much off the radar but incredibly well connected with the ayatollah how many that's the top line on what's happening of course the immediate back story is the way that the hezbollah militia was allowed 3 days ago to walk with impunity rights
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up to the front door of the iraqi embassy compound in the iraqi capital that is a touchstone issue. for the u.s. administration has got full of course with what happens to u.s. embassies across the middle east you only have to go back 40 years you don't have to go further back than that of course to begin to remember those scenes of what happened at the u.s. embassy in the iranian capital in tehran a round about the transition from the jimmy carter administration in washington into the 1st administration of ronald reagan a republican president ronald reagan so you're right up to date with what we know let's talk to george about a correspondent in tehran i'm assuming no official reaction there but we have got this confirmation that these 2 individuals are now dead so while they have not had any reaction or any confirmation from any ringing official. just yet
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about this event. i believe. this is true true control and the only person that would be qualified to confirm that on the iranian time would be the supreme leader himself. to given his relationship with thousands of them on. the one that we're there now and the passing. of him in iraq now this is something that will come as an extreme shock not only to the officials but to millions of iranians that will be waking up in the next few hours to the. gods of the morning not just an ordinary commander who had to do external. sources external and missions securing your own interest in this region to learning through him is a very much a hero
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a. somebody who is very quiet very media reserved and many people have had their story about him just float around every once in a while and about people that have my home on flights and such things even though i didn't mind you know i've been working in iran over the past 10 years i have never seen him in person there is no single event where foreign media has been allowed for security and so very few people have seen him close. in iran has a very small network does he travels with them there's some places even in china iran. was believed to have a number of security measures in place including. you know various different people that they can use this because when we travel even with the wrong so this will be a very very huge surprise to most people. and they will lose if
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it's confirmed why do you remove the will really bring into question the iraq intelligence role and all the ok dosa can we just unpack the backstory here a little bit because some of intimate in fact that making the point that you know we've had weeks and weeks and weeks of protests we've had allegations of rampant corruption we've had allegations of iranian influence and is that. in point into discussing the money as an individual has provenance and what he brought to the table in iraq because people were protesting against iranian influence and yet people who support his militia were protesting against the united states 2 days ago at the u.s. embassy compound. in baghdad and the fact that he was in baghdad when he lost his life that is perhaps i guess in one sense a very accurate measure of how much iranian influence there is in iraq squaring off
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against what its critics would say is a quite weak government in baghdad. yes certainly i think his presence in iraq has been a. regular occurrence as i say in. 2004 to 2013 i would say. when we then prior actually prime minister nouri al maliki requests that they help of their own to actual and us until the money answered the call very quickly since then the relationship has little to choose between the 2 sides there been much much closer and i wouldn't 'd just last week or month and his name is synonymous with anything else to hear him back that. and there is a sense that his presence was. welcomed and. despised
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you know there are both sides to got present in iraq it depends depends on who you ask really but. the equation and the sea in baghdad is an important point to mention because that is where he would normally stay you know for his own security he would not to be traveling freely around the city. and the embassy in baghdad is one of the only the only a number to see in the walls and that is. # the ambassador 0 from the revolutionary guard bringing a basket or in iraq and not from the foreign ministry this is a very suspicious dissipate exemption because of the security situation in iraq even you decided that this particular embassy has to be staffed by a revolutionary guard commander and this is why. i'm so long he was
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a frequent visitor to that location because his own people were working in the embassy so his relationship with the iraqi government there. because i spoke to somebody from the in the president's office far from fallen who are told me just over a week ago that the pardon for the one who was a frequent visitor to the southwest in baghdad so it was present in the rock and not something of a surprise or. i am it's not really nothing new but given the current climate that iraq trying to pop in i think there would be questions about whether or not it was our movement how much they were monitored and. upon trouble for the events that took place that morning as the demonstrations began to spread around various big cities outside of baghdad that we saw and we saw that happened or supply haps for 56 weeks ago it became clear that the government was
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was hemorrhaging political capital because it wasn't addressing the issues offset that against these regular meetings between that. and the iraqi government and when it comes to that axis relationship who was in charge of that i mean who had more power some guy from tehran who's in baghdad or the government of iraq. well i think it wasn't just somebody from another recording i think the money was a figure larger than one his own name really and when it came to his intro and not only in iraq but also a number and syria as well another town i seem compares a strategic importance to his presence in iraq and i think even the government. recognized that and. knowledge has influence openly but i think
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there will be discussions and approaches that we saw was a result of the fact that there needs to be some boundaries when it comes to tehran to each side and i think this is a point that we will see on the take place between the demonstrators on the streets of baghdad and then various visits by so they want in iraq there is a new. there is a sense that he has a very large influence in iraq politics but i.d.m. today iran insists that it was a sovereign country they are in charge of their own government they are wrong and not meddling in iraq affairs and other than at the invitation of the iraqi government telling on one. thing there is official that was the extent officially of his involvement in iraq. we'll talk to you later in the meantime thank you al
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jazeera sullivan jabez has been keeping us right across old big developments on this evolving story over the past 45 a half 6 hours now osama i guess there will be multiple investigations multiple inquiries and multiple claims and counterclaims now. absolutely i think it is quite interesting to retrace the steps in the beginning of this night as we started hearing this alleged drunk at the tact we kept hearing from witnesses that there was a very heavy presence in the air which what witnesses thought was u.s. helicopters so we need 9 to wait and see on when the u.s. declared then it releases information about the modus operandi of how this operation was carried out what kind of equipment was used but those were early indications that there was there was some sort of u.s. presence involved but now that we've had confirmation from the rocky state t.v. and the popular mobilization forces that it was indeed the 2 leaders who had
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arrived in baghdad and were being taken by the head of political and their big head in a very precise manner as the next year for between 2 checkpoints where there was there was no possibility of any of the collateral damage you would imagine and that is something that i presume that will come from the american side has been done this not meeting the details of how this operation is going to if indeed it was the u.s. forces we have to stress that this allegation of it being an american or an israeli attack is coming from the popular mobilization forces it actually puts the iraqi government in a very very difficult position they will be have they will have to answer to iran and how was this information leaked about the movement of the 2nd highest ranking person in iran he's awesome still in money was. probably the 2nd.
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in the harmony and also maybe in the hundreds who was the 2nd in command of the popular mobilization forces whose rudiments kept a really tight secret to his movement that never revealed to anyone but a but a very select few so that they would have to. do it on them not intentionally the popular mobilization forces have told the iraqi government essentially they have given them notice. that they're only withdrawing from the u.s. embassy until the time that they go up and legislation which forces out all 4 groups quite the contrary off what the u.s. is doing by sending more troops so they will have to unsub internally to these militias and on top of that you have to bear in mind that this is an interim government this is a government which was forced out by months and months of protests for being in the fashion for failing to resolve the issue of and demick corruption in the rug for
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failing to provide jobs to young people to failing or failing to improve the health system or the education system this is the government which has resigned and is over do you agree to place by another government this is a government which cannot even pass the budget at the moment the current situation in their office is that the time period for the fiscal budget to spot and it does not even have a budget to run the government it is going to be a very tough period for the iraqi leadership to come out and that is all before we go to the point of what the reaction for this assassination is going to look like with these killings is going to have replications across the middle east process in the money his image was curated by iranian forces the somebody would larger than life somebody would walk into a battlefield and then which is which is extraordinary because for the puts force before them i need to i don't think there is any precedent that any c'mon that was
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given such prominence such bravado that he would be his pictures and his videos and his speeches to his troops would be released after he he goes into those funds of whether they were in lebanon but that they would say they have other women in iraq and there have been some analysts of tied him to the who pees in yemen is that ok so this is this is going to be. a very difficult period for the government in iraq and then the u.s. forces because they're stationed across the middle east because viewed the united states has been trying to crush the middle east the battle i did to be on very close watch in the next day the no it's ok osama thanks very much let's talk now to joan he's a principal research scientist at the massachusetts institute of technology way he's worked on iraq and iran u.s. relations he joins us from boston mr tim and welcome to al-jazeera your reaction to
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this developing story. well certainly a very big development there's no question about that as your other guests have been pointing out so in money was a very big hero in iran and i think we're going to see the next few days large demonstrations the whole martyrdom. thing that run ins participate in for ceremonial purposes. and you know a great deal of grief i think actually genuine grief among the iranian people in the in the government. the larger picture what is going to happen on the ground in terms of military of armed violence difficult to predict but certainly iran is going to retaliate and some way of retaliations will come as they
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have in the past in what we call an asymmetrical way they're not going to confront the united states directly but they will perhaps attack saudi. tankers again maybe saudi oil refineries again. things around the region where american troops are as they as this militia did the other day so that's really in my mind that's the big question is are we are we entering a period now of escalation between the united states and iran and how is that going to look is there a chance here that in the past during the fight against eisel the united states in effect would it with money in as much as if you've got multiple militias who employ this revolving door policy of loyalty and provenance and what they want the next dynamic to be clearly the u.s.
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government has worked with the iraqi government who've worked very productively very well with some of those militias on the ground in certain parts of iraq to get rid of isobel and this this man was a constructive part in that fight as well and there's no question about that the the the level of cooperation is is kind of murky but it was widely believed that there was cooperation indirect perhaps. and he played a very large role in in fighting isis and essentially defeating them the. fact is however that he has a record of also killing american soldiers during the us occupation of iraq however one feels about that there are about a 1000 deaths 3rd are attributed to iranian mischief in iraq
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and that's something that one has to keep in mind as well some people are saying this is as significant as the death of osama bin laden if only because ok i mean those 2 as individuals diametrically opposed in terms of what they would won't i guess because so the money is all about provenance and about spreading an agenda i guess that would be an overly simplistic way of describing him but maybe it's accurate is it that big of a deal well it isn't in terms of symbolism i mean the killing of osama bin laden was i think a bigger deal simply because of the you know the prominence that he held for so many years in the united states in the west. an earlier guest
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of yours said that he was an operational at the time of his death that may be true but but the fact is that you know he loomed larger than life as well so money is a fighter. it was a fighter and he had a very profound effect on you know in syria in lebanon in iraq and elsewhere and in that sense yes he is he's a big a big number to go down there will be somebody who replaces him and that person will probably carry out similar kinds of operations so it's a little it's a little bit of apples and oranges but i think that for americans anyway the symbolism of us and some of bin laden being being assassinated by navy seals in his own home. is there's a larger there's
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a larger thing ok we must leave it there joan to yemen there in boston thank you very much for your insight and your your take on this evolving story thank you let's go back to washington and our correspondent there gabriel elizondo gapes so it's moving pretty fast now what else do we know. still radio silence out of the pentagon from the white house and state department absolutely no communications from any official channels out of any of those 3 areas. there are unconfirmed reports that the pentagon is waiting until there is d.n.a. confirmation that they get on the ground before making any sort of announcements again that's unconfirmed no official channels or are doing this we've reached out to the pentagon on multiple levels multiple times but it is absolutely silent read into that what you want but clearly this if it turns out to be true would probably reckon it would mean an announcement from the president of the
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united states donald trump he's still at his mar-a lago resort in florida again nothing out of the white house and i should mention there was no hint that anything such as this was in the works either in any official washington channels at least that leaked anywhere publicly this is coming as as big of a surprise to everyone in washington as it is probably to the rest of the world right now peter ok cable come back to us and when there are more developments thanks so much less till he gets to lawrence korb fully u.s. assistant secretary of defense he joins us on skype from washington larry called welcome back to al-jazeera will this be seen as a targeted assassination in tehran well i have no doubt about it i mean the fact of the matter is that this was not done for example on the battlefield or or anything like that and it was done you know when he was not
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acting in the fischel capacity you know out there with the troops or anything like that so it's going to be seeing as i mentioned before the fact that we've cleared this image terrorists and terrorists that's the legal justification for the united states taking not action. what kind of reaction do you think washington will be prepared for once tehran has had a chance to digest the significance of this well earlier tonight about 3 hours before the this half the secretary of defense asked for said that the united states is going to act preemptively if they need to to prevent any further attacks and i think what this will do is the troops we just sent a coate plus the other troops in the region are going to be prepared really to take very very decisive action if this should lead to you know further cause confrontations the fact that we've already done it i think means it's going to be
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a little bit easier for us to do what the next time one of our previous contributes is lawrence korb john timoney from massachusetts from the research facility of the misuse institute of technology was saying there will be retaliation on the parts of iran but it will probably be asymmetric so everything will be tightened up a little bit around us and bases u.s. naval installations around this region surely no. you know there's no doubt about it i don't think either iran or the united states wants an open you know conflict like when we invaded iraq for example than in 2003 yes there are a lot of ways if they can do it they can go back and cause problems again in the in the in the persian gulf with the oil oil shipments they can conduct more exercises with the russians and chinese which you know they have been doing again they might
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attack some of the facilities. in saudi arabia so yes i mean there are a lot of ways that they can retaliate because i think both sides do not want to direct confrontation because if that happens nobody wins what does this do to the relationship between iran and iraq. well i think it's going to merely put more strains on it that was already strained when the united states did the attacks against the bases in iraq and syria against the opposition of the iraqi government then we were getting ready actually for the end of the iraqi parliament to tell the united states troops to to leave so it puts them in a no win position i think they would like us to keep our courses there because even though the isis caliphate has been defeated isis is beginning to regroup in the
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south and the in the area of much like al-qaeda in iraq when we were there so i think they would like that on the other hand if this least such an outpouring from iran in the parliament votes for us to leave we would have to just as we did in 2011 when they voted not to give us the status of forces agreement to keep our troops there and critics of the iraqi government might now start saying well what it was he actually in charge of for to you in control of shia because they've got some very awkward questions to from the regime in tehran yeah i mean how did this happen you had 2 people land on a plane and then they were killed i mean was who gave them the intelligence and know who was you know turned against them how did they do that does the u.s. have more influence there than then we then we recognize this and i think yes i've given the fact the sortie and interim government they don't have a you know
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a prime minister you know that's a long term it's going to be very difficult for them to survive then their military is mainly you know in you know in league with the with iran in control iran. there was so much anger on the streets anyway lawrence do you get the sense that that anger could pivot one way or the other now oh i think so many think it will get worse because obviously you killed this leader but it wasn't on the battlefield it was killed you know and he was not actually confronting the united states or leading troops in battle at this particular flight he was coming in with an iraqi military leader to baghdad i guess it was sense the situation and so yes i do think that people are going to say
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this was you know an assassination that was under battlefield that's lawrence as you're talking to us we're just going to play in some pictures that we've just received here at al-jazeera is people actually celebrating the death of salome as the news has begun to spread adjacent to tahrir square in the iraqi capital baghdad these pictures being filmed at 4 30 in the morning local time. that's astonishing that the news to spread lawrence so quickly is not astonishing may be that those people are celebrating his death because presumably they're the people who were out and have been for weeks now demonstrating against iranian influence in their country. yet is that there is there's no doubt that is now that about an hours before the united states attacks here last week the fact of the matter was that are they
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people in iraq when i mean they are reigning arms for the troubles that they were having high unemployment and and pot and poverty and health problems ok lawrence korb thank you very much let's go back to gabriel and his own who's monitoring what's being said about this in washington who's saying what gave. we're now hearing from republican senator marco rubio he just tweeted just a few minutes ago and i'm going to read it directly to you facing repeated i.r.g.c. attacks the u.s. and the president united states exercised admirable restraint while setting clear red lines and the consequences for crossing them iran's qods force chose the path of escalation they are entirely to blame for bringing about the dangerous moment now before us rubio's tweet goes on to say the defensive actions the united states
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has taken against iran and its proxies are consistent with clear warnings they have received they chose to ignore these warnings because they believe the president united states was constrained from acting byard domestic political divisions they badly miscalculated so there you have the latest reaction from marco rubio a senator republican senator from the state of florida in a very close ally of president donald trump read into that tweet what you want i mean he's not explicitly confirming it but he's walking right up to that line i also want to read you again what i brought you just a few minutes before there was another senator chris murphy a democrat from the state of connecticut he also tweeted so the money was an enemy of the united states that's not a question the question is this as reports suggest did america just assassinate without any congressional authorization the 2nd most powerful person in iran
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knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war question mark that's from a democratic senator chris murphy who's on the a foreign relations committee so again it's bear worth worth bearing to repeat here from our position here in washington again we have to repeat both the pentagon the state department and the white house radio silence absolutely no confirmation of any of this. this point so we're having to go off of these statements from u.s. senators who are getting the information just as we are ok gave many thanks ok it's just after half past the hour if you just joining us expecting normal headline sequence we're interrupting normal programming to get you across all the developments coming to us out of the iraqi capital the iranian capital and as gave was just reporting from washington there as well just to let you know what's going on in the past 6 hours now or so iraq's had shall be militia saying their groups deputy leader abu hyundai's and
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a key iranian general saloon monny both killed in an attack adjacent to the baghdad city airport they were there as well quite close to a counterterrorism center the attack took place about a kilometer a kilometer and a half away from the main airport concourse there have been claims and i stress the word claims that these are this was the work of the americans working in conjunction with the israelis and that is just a big claim and nothing more than that we cannot confirm that we can report the confirmation being given to us by different militia groups that these 2 individuals have being killed the media back story to this of course if you've been following what's been going on in iraq we had the tape hezbollah militia supporters walking right up to the outer extremities of the u.s. embassy compound in baghdad i.e. the iraqi authorities let them do it one of the 2 gentlemen who's been killed so
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the money was a regular visitor to the iraqi capital baghdad over the past 3 and a half or 4 years or so let's talk to john timoney he's a principal research scientist at the massachusetts institute of technology where he's worked on iraq and iran u.s. relations he joins us live from washington i don't know if you heard john timoney that tweet from marco rubio to. talking about what a dangerous moment we are now at ignoring political affiliations with people like mr rubio of course that seems to be a pretty good up sum of where we're at because there are multiple components multiple variables and a tinder dry situation on the ground anyway in iraq yes i'd have to agree with that the fact is that iran will come back. and hit u.s. assets or assets of u.s.
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allies in the region and they will do so repeatedly over a period of time and then the question is are we on an escalation ladder where the united states retaliates to that and does it get up to a much larger more catastrophic war we've seen a lot of war in that region none of it is come out very well for anybody or a 1000000 dead iraqis from the 2003 invasion in the ensuing occupation there are. many many dead hundreds of thousands in syria iran has a hand in that the us less so but you know this is a region that has been a buffeted by war for 30 or 40 years we have been involved in iraq since 9080 when we back saddam hussein against iran so you know the possibility of something much more violent and much more consequential happening
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is high i'm not sure that it's going to happen. because iran recognizes that they don't have the firepower to confront the united states directly but there will be more violence there will be more people dying and i'm not sure if the outcome is going to please anyone do you think the trumpet ministration is prepared to or would choose to take a step on that escalation. well the most serious escalation by the united states would be to attack iran has. nuclear facilities. facilities that are not producing weapons and have never produced weapons by the way. but have been sanctioned in various ways and could present a very. tempting target. somewhere down the road.
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but would have a potentially very high number of civilian casualties for example and would really throw the region into a much higher level of chaos so that's really going to be the question now it's going to be as it has been actually for several months now but this is this is a particularly fraught moment because of the significance of cilla money and the and the action against the u.s. embassy the other day i do want to point out however that the that the origin of this latest. 2 or 3 years of of confrontation between the united states and iran is occasioned by donald trump pulling out of the iran nuclear deal 2 and a half years ago and and the consequences of that i think. are we are seeing right
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now there's going to be a low level conflict for quite some time. probably even if trump is removed from office either in november or or soon or through the impeachment process but there's there's no question that they were on a bad bad skid now with iran and a lot of people are going to die as a result ok we'll leave it there for the moment on c.n.n. thank you very much that's all to glenn call he's a former national intelligence officer with the cia he joins us on skype from boston glencoe what's of the intelligence related questions that the iraqi authorities will have to when their os them by the iranian authorities. you know that's a tough question to ask me but i have read that reuters is reporting to american officials anonymously are saying that the u.s. did the attacks of the 1st however the 1st question is to have
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a clear. affirmation about who did it what iraqi intelligence will want to do the there and the iraqis in general are in a terrible body and they depend on iran and influence the militias for a good part of their military capability and for survival of the state against isis and yet they resent and her there have been demonstrations for months to show. the resentment and resistance to arabian influence. the dilemma for the iraqis is how to maintain positive relations with the u.s. who security assistance is important financial assistance and with iran and that's not so much an intelligence question as a. political come under. the intelligence services will try to find out who what did this but try to stay out of the way of the well described dramatic
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escalation in tensions. just if this is the united states and we haven't had confirmation from either the trumpet ministration or the pentagon or the state department but if it is the u.s. why now. why not well the why now is a relatively easy one to answer at 1st i think you'll probably remember this the sherlock holmes story about the dog that did not arc. as the proof that the murderer as the who didn't the murder the silence by the united states i would say is rather odd and had the united states not been involved and i'm only. a success and here i do not know of course had the us not been although i would have anticipated the us would have. immediately stated and denounced the act but we do not know so why now because the iranians have for years and years through
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their proxies been killing americans. during america's military. after our invasion of iraq the iranians were quite. they most recently on the attack and killed the american contract employee and number of others you know an american base and syria and then the united states responded to children 25 to which the iranians through their militia proxies and their photos proving that the leaders of the militias who are heard leading the demonstrations occupying part of the american embassy compound and now here would be a response which the u.s. had warned through the voice of secretary of defense it would take at a time of its choosing we haven't confirmed that the u.s. did this but that would be the why it's a tit for tat escalation as the previous speaker well described leading to.
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unknown but certainly more dangerous times that would would this have happened in the way it has happened if iraq had had a more robust government that had been more robust in its reaction to giving what the demonstrates a subpoena asking for on the ground for a long time now. well i think. i think that there's a cut to the diction of what you said had the iraqi government or the iraqi government stronger and more able to control its militias then that would imply the militias would be less under the control of iran and something like the embassy and occupation were. the less likely to occur so that would have eliminated some of the tension escalation but the dilemma for the the iraqi government is that it depends on these militias and it depends on iran for
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a good part of its influence and stability and it needs them and the iranians and resents them resists them all simultaneously this is. an unsolvable problem so far for the iraqi government which is. nominally or rather nominally ruling over a majority country which since the us invasion of iraq in 2003 has become far more subject to iranian influence than before going call thank you very much let's go back to the iranian capital tehran my colleague also to body also any reaction there yet. i. just heard john state television they've officially announced the death. of him clearly manu they said he has been martyred. in iraq had that is all they know what the moment.
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they move him or cared apparently according to a t.v. in an attack that was carried out and still waiting to get more information but this is likely to be extreme alarming news to not only official but merely. not on the weekend which is friday morning today i guess if there was a u.s. military planner involved in this conversation that we're having also you might say we were going off to a high value target by suspects in tehran it'll be perceived as a targeted assassination. yes certainly i mean often when the money was himself under u.s. sanctions and united nations sanctions for years but what for specifically part of the revolutionary guard good deals with. external missions and external policies outside of iran that's the role the special role of the pope worked with she was the head of. yeah when it became 5 part of
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a terrorist organization by the united states in april of last year they designate the whole of the revolutionary guard including for as a terrorist group now even units have been adamant that this is not something that concerns them really but to this assassination it's likely to change everything the other important point to note is that since early money has been on their u.n. sanctions for years and part of the 2015 nuclear deal one of the sanctions that was going to be lifted in october of 2020 was the lifting of u.n. sanctions on this specific figure and often still in money. that was one of the reasons the president has found the hyundai's for the fact that iran has stayed in the nuclear deal despite the fact that the united states withdrew from it last year and imposed a series of sanctions on iran so it just gives you a sense of how pivotal how significant how important conference on the morning was
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in the south which meant in iran goes to thank you let's go to simona 14 she joins us on the line from baghdad simona any reaction that. we're hearing to people in tahrir square which is of course the place where anti-government protesters have camped out for almost 3 months have begun celebrating. the killing of a castle for the money and i'm out of the hundreds this crowd is of course a crowd that has been out in the streets to protest against the government and against iran and for once in iraq and they've long been calling on the government to rein in the pm of the popular mobilization for. then especially groups like the hezbollah brigades and. other groups that are not just accused of launching rocket attacks on u.s.
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personnel in iraq but also are using violence against the protesters of course this move is one that is met with a lot of support in tahrir square but the question on everybody's mind now is what will happen after next. several roads are blocked off in in baghdad and there is a curfew that has apparently been imposed according to the joint operations command and many people are bracing themselves for what they fear will be retaliation by the popular mobilization forces here in iraq is it a difficult situation for the iraqi government in one sense because on the one hand we've seen those pictures we're looking at them right now people demonstrating their joy at the news of tsunamis death and yet on the other hand we're also learning that he was a regular visitor to baghdad. he was indeed
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a regular visitor to baghdad and he was you know basically meeting at the very high circles of government and many people accused him of actually running the show you know of actually basically telling the government what to do is specially how to respond to the 3 months of anti-government protests which were met with a violent crackdown so definitely cousins for the money does not have any popular support from iraqis they see him as the embodiment of iranian meddling here in the country of course the sentiment will be quite different among the popular mobilisation forces which have very close ties to iran and will basically you know seek us and for the money as one of their leaders and of course the un $100.00 was the 2nd in charge of the popular mobilization for these forces and he is the 2nd person who was killed so what we can expect is a strong show of force and reaction from the popular mobilization forces and let's
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remember that this is a force that consists of tens of thousands of members of this is not a small group we can expect them. to basically you know reject of course this act and to come out in force either in baghdad streets to demonstrate that or to retaliate on u.s. positions here in iraq but that reaction is is likely to be completely opposite of the general public opinion in iraq it appears that many people in paris square but also more broadly will more like most likely feel a certain relief ok simona thanks very much let's talk to gabriel elizondo in washington so again we think we've had a presidential reaction i noticed on twitter donald trump has tweeted out just a full frame picture of the stars and stripes. yes peter and i
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was just handed a statement from the department of defense just as you started talking to me i have not read it yet but this is an official statement from the department of defense that just came to my hands just now and i'm going to read it in full it's kind of long so bear with me but it's important we get this information out as soon as we have it here it is at the direction of the president the u.s. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect u.s. personnel abroad by killing customs so the money the head of the iranian revolutionary guard corps force a u.s. designated for foreign terrorist organization the statement from the pentagon goes on to state general so the money was actively developing plans to attack american diplomats and service members in iraq and throughout the region general solo money and his codes force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of americans and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more he had orchestrated
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attacks on coalition bases in iraq over the last several months including the attack on december 27th culminating in the death and wounding of additional american and iraqi personnel general so the money also approved the attacks on the u.s. embassy in baghdad that took place this week at the pentagon statement or the department of defense statement in what the following 2 sentences the this strike was aimed at deterring future iranian attack plans the united states will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world period so that is a statement that just came in to us right now from the department of defense confirming that an american airstrike killed so the money. ok gabe thanks very much
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let's talk to hillary mann leverett former white house national security official she's currently c.e.o. of strategy a political risk consultancy she joins us live from washington hilary welcome back to al-jazeera what's the strategy here behind the u.s. openly and i use the word advisedly because we think this will probably be how it's perceived in tehran openly assassinating 2 high profile influential militia leaders. i think there really is no question that it was an open assassination on 2 of the most hope high profile political leaders in the region. on the money was the most high profile and the most popular person official in iran there is there is a scientific polling done by the university of maryland that showed him for the past 2 years since president trump had withdrawn the united states from the iran nuclear deal also in solomon his popularity in iran had really skyrocketed so they killed a figure who's incredibly important and popular in iran and incredibly in for and
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and influential throughout the region this is someone who is not only well known in iran but iraq lebanon yemen throughout the region it's incredibly consequential figure who has been i think openly assassinated we have not only the department of defense's statement we have president trump has tweeted the american flag we also had oddly and i really had shivers down my spine last night before i went to sleep the u.s. embassy in baghdad yesterday e-mailed out an advisory to americans that they should have they should draft the will and they should have in their insurance and their life insurance they should designate beneficiaries so this is something that the trauma ministration has done knowing that it will spark or is likely to spark at least a war if not direct directed attacks against americans throughout the region it is an incredibly reckless step that the trial ministration is taking we understand
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that this iranian militia commanders web extended far and wide into iraq into syria into lebanon into according to one person we've been talking to the past few hours even yemen as well so given that and given his provenance and given how well connected he was in tehran will iran be bowman's out of iraq. i don't think that iran will be bombed out of iraq iran has deep ties that go beyond cos and so on the money he had he personified many of the deep ties that iran and iranian officials and other figures have in iraq cousins all the money has ties to iraq really were formed during the 198-981-9881 extension 908 iran iraq war when iraq invaded iran the revolutionary guard really came together then as a force and cousins all the money came together as a figure at that time he was someone who personally be friended many many kurdish
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figures who ended up rising themselves and in for him from what i understand he was one of the decisive people who worked with kurds to save them from the chemical attacks that saddam hussein's government was was raining down on iraq he kurdish citizens during that $18988.00 iran iraq for his ties were deep with the population throughout kurdish areas and shia areas inside iraq but he's not the only one he just personifies those types of ties i've met many iranians throughout my time in the u.s. government i negotiated with the iranians about afghanistan right after 911 many of them who served in the iran iraq war have those types of deep ties even though cousins all the money is a serious and significant loss to iran he is not the only $1.00 who has those ties he is not the only one that has the strategy and the tactics that have shown the
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islamic republic of iran to be an enduring force for over 40 years even though the united states the greatest power on earth we have thrown everything we've had at iran and iraq the islamic republic has stood the test of time it wasn't just because of one figure for us and so on the money as important as he was going to ask you hillary if your country has a functioning national security process but that would be pejorative so i won't ask you that. that's what i will ask you however there is but i will say it if i can just say on that note i also not only last night before i went to sleep that i have shivers going down my spine because of this e-mail sent up by the u.s. embassy in iraq that american should have drafted their will but the other thing that concerned me in terms of the domestic politics here there isn't what we would call a normal functioning national security process but the one piece of news that really started to me start on me was that yesterday from what i understand president trump started his day with breakfast having breakfast with senator lindsey graham one of
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the most strident militaristic senators here in washington so we don't have a normal process but it is something where you can read you can read the signs of who is talking to president trump and when and how he acts do you think there's a chance here that mr trump has just started a war with an m she's in the woods deliberately a stone seat a war with a congressional debate he's supposed to do that conversation is supposed to happen on the floor. it is and one of president trumps other important advisors from the senate so he president trump does listen to lindsey graham and i'm afraid that maybe lindsey graham's advice was the last piece of bit of advice he got on this yesterday but one of the other senators from what i understand that he listens to is senator rand paul rand paul has made it a critical part of his platform his political platform that these issues not only need to be debated in congress but congress must authorize these types of actions
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they must authorize congress must must authorize the united states going to war so we'll have to see what what senator paul says in the outcome of this mess but certainly president trump as jake has has potentially taken the united states to war without russian authorization circularly as ever we do appreciate your insight here in l.a. good to talk to you thank you so much for joining us from washington let's go back to lawrence korb former u.s. assistant secretary of defense he joins us from washington on skype as well larry korb thanks for keeping with us and giving us the benefit of your insight on this developing evolving story will the reaction really only possibly be an escalation regardless of where that reaction comes from. well i think the ball right now is in iran score i think the united states having killed stalin an e.m.t. and his other top official is going to say this is what happens when you
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attack americans and tell them as you did here are over the last 6 couple 6 of weeks the real issue then it is what will or rand bill as some of the rather cut commentators some said well they never respond you know like a greasing cyber attack so will they do some other type of the things in the in the in the region but really the ball is in their court because i don't think the united states is now one of the away after the whole you know r.p.m. populum over the mobile or mobilization fun and a lot will depend on what the iraqi government rocky's going to say doran ok you know this is gone on far enough you know we we don't want to ask a late this and heard them make sure you call off the demonstrations and let us get back to dealing with the threat from isis or will the iraqi parliament now vote to
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ask the united states to leave the region as seemed to the direction they were going before this event happened here would what we're talking about lawrence call have happened if the united states hadn't pulled out of the 2015 iran nuclear deal . no it wouldn't have i mean that is i think is going to go down as one of the greatest mistakes any government has ever may because what it did was basically stop what would be the most dangerous thing in the region a nuclear arms race between for example iran and maybe the saudis or the u.s. where it's getting more nuclear weapons and basically trump didn't like anything obama i mean he also you know gets out a whole lot of other agreements the powers climate a core of the transpacific partnership and basic way there were people who were not happy with that be open because they thought it would change iran's behavior
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completely and then arms control agreements not supposed to do that army agreements we had with the soviet union were 50 years you know while they say they were still doing things like invading afghanistan or crushing rebellions and not in the east in europe and people use that as an excuse to get out and it also empowered people like solomonic who did not want they said you can't trust the united states you shouldn't be making any agreement then they were able to say see we told you and i think that's why the ayatollah khomeini allowed you know solomon the to have more influence and cause the problems. in iraq lawrence cold thank you very much ok at the top of the hour if you're just joining us here on al-jazeera english let's just get you right up to speed with what we know 2 leading militia commanders one iranian one iraqi have been killed in a u.s. air.


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