Canada is urging restraint following the killing of Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad last night. Soleimani was the Commander of Iran’s Special “Quds force” responsible for covert operations and leader of the Revolutionary Guard.
“We call on all sides to exercise restraint and pursue de-escalation. Our goal is and remains a united and stable Iraq,” Foreign Affairs Minister FP Champagne said. Canada took command of NATO’s mission in Iraq in November, 2019. There are 850 military personnel stationed in Iraq as part of Operation Impact.
The United Nations (UN) has released a statement echoing Canada’s. “This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf,” UN Spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.
The drone strike was authorized by President Donald Trump. According to media reports, administration officials called the killing a “target of opportunity.” It followed weeks of escalating tensions in the area that resulted in protests outside the US Embassy. Soleimani was killed alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, identified as the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces.
Iranian officials are calling it a targeted killing. “The US bears responsibility for all the consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted. No specifics on what form the retaliation might take. The US has deployed an additional 750 airborne soldiers to the area.