In response to the protesters who stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad this week, President Donald Trump warned that Iran would face consequences for any damage or casualties that occurred as a result of the onslaught.
“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” Trump wrote on Tuesday. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”
The tweet drew the attention of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who suggested that Trump lacked the resources or will to confront his country militarily – a bizarre insinuation given the appetite within the U.S. foreign policy establishment for a campaign against Iran.
“That guy has tweeted that we see Iran responsible for the events in Baghdad and we will respond to Iran,” Khamenei wrote. “First: You can’t do anything. Second: If you were logical —which you’re not— you’d see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan have made nations hate you.”
Khamenei continued: “If Iran wants to fight a country, it will do so openly. We are committed to the interests and dignity of our people and we will confront whoever threatens that without any consideration and hurt them.”
Well, there are a number of laughable elements to Khamenei’s tweets (not the least of which is the fact that Khamenei is tweeting in the first place). There is the suggestion that Iran is NOT responsible for this violence, which is absurd on its face. There is the idea that President Trump is powerless to do anything, which is even more absurd. And then there is the notion that Iran fights toe-to-toe, out in the open. That is pretty much the exact opposite of what Iran does, and the whole world knows it.
As for Trump not being able to “do anything,” the doing has already begun:
The U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division’s alert brigade has been issued orders to deploy rapidly to Kuwait amid the unrest in Baghdad, three U.S. defense officials told Fox News on Tuesday.
At least 750 paratroopers are set to deploy to the region immediately, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement.
The alert brigade of roughly 4,000 paratroopers, known as the DRB — the Deployment Ready Brigade — has been told to prepare for a possible deployment in the days ahead after hundreds of Iranian-backed militiamen tried to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad Tuesday.
Within that alert brigade, three rifle battalions had a certain alert sequence, 18 hours, 36 hours and 54 hours for the third. The entire brigade had a 96-hour alert window to deploy.
As Trump said on Twitter, this response is the “anti-Benghazi.” Unlike his predecessor, this president is not afraid to back his convictions with courage and force. Iran may want to rethink the way forward.