CBS News: Iran has launched missile strikes against two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. forces in retaliation to the airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani five days ago. More than a dozen ballistic missiles targeted the Al Asad and Erbil military bases, the Pentagon said Tuesday, and U.S. officials are assessing the damage. It’s unclear if there were any casualties.
The Al Asad airbase houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces. The base was already on high-alert and recently paused their operation against ISIS fearing a revenge attack by Iran.
“This was an act of war”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of the president and an outspoken hardliner on Iran, called the ballistic missile strike by Iran “an act of war” and said that Mr. Trump has “all the authority he needs under Article II to respond.”
Graham spoke with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening.
“This was an act of war, Sean, by any reasonable definition,” Graham told Hannity. “The missiles were launched from Iran. The president has all the authority he needs under Article II to respond. How he responds is yet to be determined.”
Article II of the Constitution names the president as “commander in chief” of the armed forces, although Article I states that the power to declare war resides with Congress.
Graham also said that he spoke to Mr. Trump on the phone Tuesday evening.
“I just got off the phone with the president. Your fate is in your own hands in terms of the regime’s economic viability. If you continue this crap, you’re going to wake up one day out of the oil business,” Graham said, speaking directly to the Iranian regime.
Graham also said that the world just learned that “President Trump can go from zero to 60 pretty fast.”
Trump on Iran attacks
In his first tweet since the attacks on military bases in Iraq, President Trump assured the public that “All is well!”
“All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
Iran’s foreign minister: “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves”
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
Iran missile attack “crosses a red line”
The ballistic rocket attack by Iran on two Iraqi military bases “crosses a red line” for the U.S. and is likely to lead to retaliation, CBS News correspondent David Martin said on CBSN.
Martin said that the U.S. has been warning for days that Iran would be held responsible for any attack against American interests.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this attack crosses a red line and will draw a retaliatory strike. And the question really is: is the retaliatory strike going to be limited in scope to just the missile base, for instance, which fired these missiles? Or is it going to be a much broader attack which goes after the headquarters of the Iranian revolutionary guards, for instance, since that is the military unit that launched the strikes?” Martin said.
The Pentagon has not yet released any reports on casualties or damage caused by the strikes. However, Martin said the Trump administration might take these attacks as a justification for further conflict, even if there are no U.S. casualties.
“I think the red line has been crossed, regardless of whether there were American casualties. This was a direct attack on U.S. troops. That’s a cause for war. If U.S. troops were killed or injured, I think that would increase the scope of what the U.S. plans to do in retaliation,” Martin said.
Oil surges, stocks fall after Iran attack
Oil prices surged after the Iran attack on US forces in Iraq, raising the prospect of a regional conflagration that could disrupt oil supplies. Stocks fell sharply.
Brent crude futures soared $1.83, or 2.7 percent, to $70.10 by about 01:48 GMT, after earlier rising to $71.75, the highest since mid-September 2019.
The price of gold also shot higher, rising 1.91 percent on the spot market to $1,603.93 per ounce ($30,161.88 per gram) as investors rushed for safe-haven investments.
“We’ve moved on from how Iran will respond to now anticipating the US 52-pronged response as the US military forces in the region is in a heightened state of alert while likely preparing for war,” said Stephen Innes, strategist at AxiTrader. “It’s not going to be pretty today.”
Iran’s telecommunications minister: ‘Get the hell out of our region’
Following Wednesday’s attacks, Iranian telecommunication minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted: “Get the hell out of our region!”
Get the hell out of our region!#HardRevenge🇮🇷🇮🇶
— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) January 8, 2020
Featured Image Origin: ABC News