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40

Soleimani was killed together with the leaders of some Iranian-backed Shia militias, who themselves have been accused of attacking US targets in Iraq, in particular Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis: He was credited with being a key leader in the Shia militias, the Popular Mobilisation Forces, known as the Hashed (al-Shaabi), employed as shock troops in the bloody ...


29

I'm not sure there is a clear answer to this. US forces currently in Iraq aren't there as part of a formal agreement of any sort. They are there 'informally' at the invitation of the Iraqi government. Most commentators suggest that the Iraqi parliament has no capability to legally demand the removal of US troops - it would require the government to make the ...


26

According to the BBC: The 62-year old [general] spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran's elite Quds Force. [...] Under his leadership, Iran had bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon and other pro-Iranian militant groups, expanded Iran's military presence in Iraq and Syria and orchestrated Syria's offensive against rebel groups ...


26

There were none located in those places. Those paragraphs from Foxnews explain: (emphasis mine) U.S. defense officials told Fox News the U.S. military did not attempt to shoot down the ballistic missiles fired from Iran because there were no American military assets in place to intercept them. The Patriot and Avenger anti-missile defense systems are ...


25

According to this BBC article Soleimani was in Iraq to meet the Iraqi Prime Minister: The Iraqi prime minister revealed he had been due to meet Soleimani on Friday, the day he was killed along with six others when their vehicles were hit by missiles as they were leaving Baghdad airport. [...] "I was scheduled to meet martyr Soleimani at 08:30 in the ...


25

It doesn’t seem so. Citing an unnamed US official, the LA Times reports that no attempt was made to intercept the missiles and those that did not fail during flight did hit the base. The lack of casualties was due to early warning radar which allowed base personnel to take cover: Iran launched 15 missiles, of which 11 hit their targets and four failed in ...


22

Here are a couple easy ones. Iraq occurred first, and the war in Iraq turned out to be, at the very least, quite unpopular. When the situation in Syria came up, many people were fed up with the idea of war and nation-building because of how Iraq went down. People didn't want Syria to turn into another Iraq. Russia supports Assad's government, and unlike ...


18

Who was Soleimani? Major General Qasem Soleimani was the leader of the Iran Revolutionary Quds Force, the unit responsible for unconventional warfare, [...] intelligence activities, and [...] extraterritorial operations. He was also, by some estimates, the second most powerful person in Iran after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "He was more important than the ...


17

'America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests' - Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State It serves US government's interests (which, to dig one hole deeper, MAY or MAY NOT be the same as "America's interests") to support Sunni rebels in Syria. More specifically, the reasons are both: domestic: Al-Assad is seen as a brutal mass-homicidal ...


17

Other things aside, Saddam HAD in the past developed and actually used (against Kurds in Iraq) chemical weapons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_poison_gas_attack He also used them against Iran in Iraq-Iran war. Also, he either refused to abide by UNSCOM inspections or, when he pretended to let them in to ease off international pressure, would NOT ...


15

I'll preface this by saying that I think this is a good question. Those who disagree probably oppose IS on an "us vs them" principle not an ideological one. I oppose them because I don't believe that what they want is desirable. For one thing, it's very Islamic-based and I'm an atheist. Let's cover morality first. It's important to remember that the Islamic ...


14

First of all, the US is not supporting ISIS (or ISIL or IS, as it's also called) in Syria. The presence of extremist elements among militant groups in Syria is one of the major reasons why the Obama administration has been so cautious about giving weapons to Syria rebels. This concern seems to be widespread among the US political leadership (for example, it ...


14

The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) requires signatories to try and avoid destruction of cultural heritage sites since they are all part of our shared cultural heritage. The USA was involved in the creation of the convention in 1954, but didn't actually accede to the treaty until 2009: during ...


13

Firstly this is an article with slightly more information: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/09/isis-seizes-chemical-weapons-plant-muthanna-iraq What is states is different from your article in several points: a) These weapons are from the 80ies (Some usage was in the Iraq-Kuwait war) Chemical weapons need to be stored properly or they degrade; ...


13

I do not doubt Soleimani was in Baghdad at the invitation of the Iraqi government, and he accepted the invitation. By almost 2 to 1, Iraq is a Shia majority country. Iran is a 95% Shia country. The arbitrary land border between Iran and Iraq is around 60 years old, while the Shia/Sunni divide is centuries old. Its only natural for two majority Shia, ...


13

Indeed, what we do know is what we don't know “The current U.S. military presence is based [on] an exchange of letters at the executive level,” said Ramzy Mardini, an Iraq scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace. The terms outlined in those letters have not been made public. Interestingly enough, an exchange of letters has the force of a international ...


12

PointlessSpike has given an excellent answer, but I would like to add another argument that has a strong power in a period of chaos. In fact ISIS is not as unique as many believes, there is a group that has achieved similar levels of brutality in the past: the Wahhabi sect. From Wahhabism: In 1901, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, a fifth generation descendent of ...


12

The BBC says: The Muthanna complex northwest of Baghdad houses remnants of rockets filled with sarin and other deadly nerve agents. The UN and US say the munitions are degraded and the rebels will be unable to make usable chemical arms from them. The CIA has information about this facility. Apparently, it was declared to the UN as a site where ...


12

This is not a complete answer, just what I gathered so far through the media. IS are equipped with U.S. heavy weapons. This is why Pershmerga got so much more successful when supported by air strikes; the strikes took out the armor, then the lightly armed Peshmerga took out the fighters. We will see how this plays out when Pershmerga fully deploys their ...


11

No, there wasn't a specific event that triggered the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its legality is a matter of debate. According to (then) UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan the invasion was illegal: When pressed on whether he viewed the invasion of Iraq as illegal, he said: "Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from ...


11

Yes, they were, for a few years, right up until they invaded Kuwait and the US counter-invaded Iraq. Why they were our allies, at any particular time, and why they did or did not get assistance from the USA is all linked to the US relationship with their constant rival, through the years, Iran. In 1953, for reasons that aren't especially relevant to the ...


11

Although the US invaded Iraq which ultimately led to the creation of the bases currently there, the forces now in country are there with the permission of the current Iraqi government, which the US is at peace with. There is a massive world of difference between having a military base in a country at with the permission of that country versus having one as ...


9

There is a significant backlash in the USA about the removal of Saddam Hussein. Note that of the last five major USA presidential candidates (Hillary Clinton; Donald Trump; Bernie Sanders; Ted Cruz; John Kasich), none now claims that removing Hussein was correct. Hillary Clinton is the closest, having voted in favor of the war resolution that lead to his ...


9

ISIS is not a member of the ICC, therefore it can't appeal to it. Intentionally killing journalists would be a war crime. However, if journalists are killed by an attack aimed at a legitimate target, it is not (otherwise armies would include journalists in every fighting unit).


8

The experiences of the past 15 years has finally taught some people that there are some problems foreign soldiers simply cannot fix. Who is willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of their own soldiers, not to mention enormous financial expenditures, just to have the same experiences the US has had for more than a decade fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and ...


7

I think there are two points which you haven't taken into account. 1) The Peshmerga suffered some early defeats during which IS took over portions of Kurdistan. But this was shortly after the Iraqi army had turned tail and run leaving IS armed with fairly sophisticated American weapons. Since then, the Peshmerga have retaken most of the Kurdish ...


7

The claim wasn't that Hussein had never used weapons of mass destruction. It was that Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction at the time of the invasion. Remember that the justification for the invasion was that Hussein was stonewalling UN inspectors and that the US had intelligence claiming that he had a supply of weapons of mass destruction. ...


7

My definition of non-combatant will be civilian. According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism around 33,000 people were killed by ISIS or ISIS affiliated troops between 2002-2015, but it doesn't specify if they were civilians. According to the UN 6,878 civilians died in Iraq last year in violence mainly inflicted ...


7

With regard to the convention: It requires signatories to institute laws which forbid its military from damaging cultural properties including ensuring that its judicial system is equipped to enforce the regulations. In the US Navy's case, it would require that JAG or Shore Patrol document and prosecute violations committed by US officers. A civilian ...


6

The simple answer is that it is not as simple as the question implies. Iraqi Kurdistan sits in the precarious political position of attempting to gain greater self-rule while also seeking support from the United States, which generally supports the Iraqi central government. Even this statement is a vast oversimplification, as the United States supports ...


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