Although Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both spoke out that they would not follow through with Trump's threats, Trump reiterated on his threats by saying there would be a "major retaliation" if Iran were to attack the USA, according to NPR.
According to defense analyst and research fellow at the Center for Iranian Studies, Farhad Rezaei, the demise of Iran's most influential general was especially shocking given previous concerns that Tehran would spark a full-scale war in the Middle East if Soleimani were targeted. The assassination, ordered by President Trump, caused widespread confusion and fear of Iran's possible retaliation among both critics and supporters. These Iranian operatives were blamed for many major happenings in history: Major General Soleimani had a huge influence in salvaging the deadly Syrian Civil War for President Bashar Al-Assad's continued oppressive reign by gathering support and fighters from multiple countries in the Middle East. Soleimani was also believed to have armed and assisted groups the United States have classified as terrorist organizations, such as Lebanon's Hezbollah. The Senate was never going to convict Donald Trump, so it would be wrong to say that the killing Soleimani was done to increase Trump's chances of acquittal. And those attacks were imminent'.
"The answer to both is a strong YES" added Trump before insisting that "it doesn't really matter because of his awful past!" On Friday, Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that he believed four US embassies in the Middle East would have been targeted.
Concerns about increasingly brazen attacks by Iran and its proxies, including the downing of an American drone and strikes on Saudi Arabian oil field past year, have mounted within the US national security community for months, the officials said.
However, Sadr later said the crisis was over and called on the Iraqi factions to "be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions".
In the days after the Soleimani strike, the USA -led military coalition fighting ISIS was temporarily suspended, with defense officials citing attacks on Iraqi and us bases over the last two months as the reason for the shift. The New York Times reported two weeks ago that Pentagon officials were "stunned" Trump gave the order to kill Soleimani.
He cited the resumption of lethal military aid to Ukraine for defense against Russia-backed separatists, Trump's withdrawal from an arms control accord with Moscow and tests of a new US intermediate-range cruise missile. The present situations with Iran have led to a war-like situation in the Gulf, sheltering thousands of USA troops. However, it is clear that one of the results of the killing is that now events in Iran are now drawing attention away from impeachment, even as just new revelations from Tuesday indicate that Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and other friends of the administration were up to more trouble than initially thought in Ukraine.
Even as tensions appear to cool, the long-term effects of the strike are unclear and will likely be hard to predict, given the wide breadth and capabilities of Iran's network of proxies. But this is Esper speaking with CBS "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan Sunday.
Still, U.S. officials defend the strike as restoring a check on Iran's aggression.