rain.png
Tuesday February 25th, 2020 4:51AM

Trump to address the nation amid showdown with Iran

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump faces one of the greatest tests of his presidency after Iran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops and planned to address the nation on Wednesday. Iran's attack was its most brazen direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

The strikes pushed Tehran and Washington perilously close to war and put the world's attention on Trump as he weighs whether to respond with more military force. The Republican president huddled with his national security advisers on Wednesday morning but offered no immediate indication of whether he would retaliate. “All is well!” he said in a Tuesday night tweet.

The Iranian strikes came days after Trump authorized the targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force. Iran had pledged to retaliate, though its actions did not appear to result in any American casualties, according to a U.S. official. Its missiles targeted two bases — one in the northern Iraqi city in Irbil and the other at Ain al-Asad in western Iraq.

The lack of U.S. casualties could signal that Iran is not interested in escalating the tension with Washington — at least not now — and could give Trump an opening to calm relations with Iran and pull the U.S. back from the brink of war. Trump, who is facing reelection in November, campaigned for president on a promise to keep the United States from engaging in “endless war."

Sen. James Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters Wednesday that he spoke with Trump Tuesday evening after the Iranian strike and said the president indicated his desire to reopen negotiations with Iran.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a joint statement after a closed-door meeting on Mideast security warned that a further use of force “would lead to a new cycle of instability and would eventually damage everyone’s interests.”

In the hours before the missile strikes, U.S. officials said they expected some sort of response from Iran, and Trump warned the longtime U.S. foe against a disproportionate response. “If Iran does anything that they shouldn't be doing, they're going to be suffering the consequences, and very strongly.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the country had “concluded proportionate measures in self-defense."

But speaking on Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the strike was not necessarily the totality of Iran's response.

“Last night they received a slap,” Khamenei said in a speech. “These military actions are not sufficient (for revenge). What is important is that the corrupt presence of America in this region comes to an end.”

Soleimani's death last week in an American drone strike in Baghdad prompted angry calls for vengeance and drew massive crowds of Iranians to the streets to mourn him. Khamenei himself wept at the funeral in a sign of his bond with the commander.

The Iranians fired a total of 15 missiles in Wednesday’s strike, two U.S. officials said. Ten hit the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province and one targeted a base in Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Four failed, said the officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about a military operation.

According to a U.S. official, early warning systems detected the missile launches and alarms sounded, giving personnel at the bases time to get to shelter. Officials also said the U.S. was closely watching the region and communicating with allies, and was aware of preparations for the attack. It's unclear if any intelligence identified specific targets or was more general in the potential strike locations.

Two Iraqi security officials said a missile appeared to have struck a plane at Ain al-Asad, igniting a fire. There were no immediate reports of casualties from the attacks, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they had no permission to talk to journalists.

Ain al-Asad was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and it later was used by American troops in the fight against the Islamic State group. It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces. Trump visited it in December 2018, making his first presidential visit to troops in the region. Vice President Mike Pence visited both Ain al-Asad and Irbil in November.

In Washington, Democrats called on Trump avoid military escalation with Iran.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the administration needs to quickly “extricate us from what could lead into a full-fledged war with terrible casualties.” Engel said he feared the situation ”spirals out of control."

The fallout for Trump's order to kill Soleimani has been swift.

Iran announced that it would no longer be bound by the 2015 nuclear agreement and vowed to retaliate against the U.S., its allies and American interests. Iraq's Parliament also voted to expel U.S. troops from Iraq, which would undermine efforts to fight Islamic State militants in the region and strengthen Iran's influence in the Mideast.

The counterattack by Iran came as Trump and his top advisers were under pressure to disclose more details about the intelligence that led to the American strike that killed Soleimani.

Top Senate Democrats, citing “deep concern” about the lack of information coming from the Trump administration about the Iran operation, called on Defense Department officials to provide “regular briefings and documents” to Congress.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the senators said in a letter Wednesday that the White House’s classified War Powers notification to Congress was “generic, vague, and entirely inconsistent in its level of detail” compared with the norm.

They also registered their “grave concern” with Trump’s comments on targeting Iranian cultural sites and asked for clarification. They said they expected a response by Friday.

Trump said Tuesday that his decision saved American lives. Members of Congress were to be briefed on the strike Wednesday afternoon in closed-door sessions on Capitol Hill.

Trump and top national security officials have justified the airstrike with general statements about the threat posed by Soleimani, who commanded proxy forces outside Iran and was responsible for the deaths of American troops in Iraq.

But the details have been scarce.

Soleimani was targeted while he was at an airport in Baghdad with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a veteran Iraqi militant, who also was killed.

___

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Lolita Baldor, Darlene Superville, Alan Fram and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump to address the nation amid showdown with Iran
The White House says President Donald Trump plans to address the nation at 11 a.m. Wednesday
9:26AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at bases in Iraq
Iran has struck back at the United States for killing a top Revolutionary Guard commander, calling it revenge for the U.S. killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani
7:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
Commercial airlines reroute flights amid US-Iran tensions
Commercial airlines are rerouting flights crossing the Middle East to avoid possible danger amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran
7:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
Local/State News
California governor targets homeless crisis in budget, order
California's governor is seeking $750 million in part to help pay rent for people facing homelessness in the most populous state's latest attempt to fight what he called a national crisis
9:21AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Fugitive ex-car tycoon Ghosn: Japan arrest was a plot
Nissan’s fugitive ex-boss, Carlos Ghosn, has described his detention conditions in Japan, from which he fled last month in a daring escape, as a “travesty” against human rights
9:21AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: NATO leader condemns Iran's missile strike
The NATO secretary general has condemned Iran's missile strike against U.S. forces in Iraq
8:37AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Nissan ex-chair Ghosn describes Japan arrest as a plot
Nissan’s fugitive ex-boss, Carlos Ghosn, has described his detention conditions in Japan, from which he fled last month in a daring escape, as a “travesty” against human rights
8:36AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Ghosn: detention in Japan 'travesty' against human rights
Nissan’s fugitive ex-boss, Carlos Ghosn, on Wednesday described his detention conditions in Japan, from which he fled last month in a daring escape, as “travesty” against human rights and dignity
8:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Commercial airlines reroute flights amid U.S.-Iran tensions
Commercial airlines are rerouting flights crossing the Middle East to avoid possible danger amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran
6:19AM ( 3 hours ago )
High-stakes decision looms for Trump in showdown with Iran
President Donald Trump faces one of the greatest tests of his presidency now that Iran has launched ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops
6:04AM ( 3 hours ago )
Philippines orders evacuation of Filipinos from Iraq, Iran
The Philippine government has ordered Filipino workers to leave Iraq and Iran and is sending a coast guard vessel to the Middle East to ferry its citizens to safety in case hostilities between the United States and Iran worsen. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said the government has raised the alert level in Iraq to the highest level
6:02AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
The Latest: Cyprus OKs US request to deploy evacuation team
An official says the Cyprus government has approved a U.S. request to temporarily deploy a "rapid reaction" team to help evacuate personnel from U.S. diplomatic missions in nearby countries if needed
8:18AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Slovenia will evacuate soldiers based in Iraq
Slovenia’s defense ministry says its six soldiers stationed in northern Iraq with a German-led training mission will be evacuated after their base came under Iran’s missile attack in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran's top general
7:14AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Analyst: Iran weighs revenge, avoiding US deaths
One analyst says Iran's missile strike against U.S. forces in Iraq was “the smallest attack that Iran could carry out while at the same time being able to say they got revenge
6:39AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Iraq says no troop casualties in Iranian strike
The Iraqi military says there are no casualties among its troops as a result of an Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces
1:56AM ( 7 hours ago )
California to examine effect of blackouts on communication
California's preemptive power shutoffs to prevent wildfires have affected more than just lights
1:42AM ( 7 hours ago )
Top issues in the 2020 Virginia legislative session
Virginia lawmakers are kicking off a 60-day legislative session with Democrats in full control for the first time in more than two decades
1:14AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at bases in Iraq
Iran has struck back at the United States for killing a top Revolutionary Guard commander, calling it revenge for the U.S. killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani
7:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
Gainesville City Council delighted as midtown rezoning application is approved
The lone obstacle preventing the sale of two downtown, city owned vacant lots to Atlanta developer Terwilliger Pappas was final approval of a rezoning request.
7:00AM ( 2 hours ago )
Former mayors watch as new Cornelia mayor takes oath
John Borrow was sworn in as the new mayor of Cornelia Tuesday night.
6:01AM ( 3 hours ago )
Gainesville police: Driver shoots himself after traffic stop
An unidentified man shot himself after being pulled over Tuesday afternoon by a Gainesville police officer.
By AccessWDUN staff
9:30PM ( 12 hours ago )
Detectives find dozens of pornographic images on Gainesville sex offender's phones
A registered sex offender is back in jail after Hall County Sheriff's Office investigators found 85 sexually explicit images of children on phones in his possession.
2:45PM ( 18 hours ago )