I am a Burmese exile taking a near-permanent refuge in New York and Sydney. Here are my essays about Burma and anything else I feel like writing about. And posting the articles I like from selected sites. Bridging Burma to the world this Blog is more of a Politically-Oriented Literary Blog than a Plain News Blog or a Sophisticated Thoughts Blog.
Donald Trump on Saturday warned Iran that if it retaliates for the killing of
one of its top leaders, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, it will face U.S. attacks on 52
targets, a number he said was symbolic. The president tweeted that the number
of targets matched the number of hostages held by Iran in 1979, when 52
American diplomats and citizens were held for 444 days.
"Let this serve as a WARNING that
if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have.........targeted 52
Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years
ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian
culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY
HARD," he said. "The USA wants no more threats!"
tweet was vaguely worded, but the United Nations Security Council appears to
suggest the targeting of cultural heritage sites is prohibited. Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded early Sunday, accusing Trump of
threatening a "war crime" and breaching the norms of international
law. "That is, a big(ly) "no no"," he said.
added in further tweets that "They attacked us, & we hit back. If they
attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them
harder than they have ever been hit before!"
Saturday, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement that there were two
early evening attacks, including rocket fire, near Iraqi bases that host
American and coalition forces. No injuries to coalition service members were
reported. On Sunday, U.S.-led international coalition against ISIS said it had
paused training and support of Iraqi security forces due to repeated rocket
attacks on bases housing its troops.
Iran's state television announced that
the country was ending its commitment to limit enrichment of uranium as part of
the 2015 deal with world powers that eased crippling economic sanctions in
exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear development.
unilaterally withdrew from the deal last May, leaving it in tatters as other
foreign leaders attempted to keep the deal alive. The decision to renege on the
agreement has led to months of escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
said Friday the attack was undertaken to prevent war and further bloodshed for
Americans who had been targeted by Soleimani in future operations. "We
took action last night to stop a war," he said in a televised address to
the nation. "We did not take action to start a war."
the White House has yet to offer the public proof that the general's plans were
significantly out of line with his history of directing Iran's proxy wars and
covert operations, which have indeed cost American lives. The White House
blamed violent protests earlier this week at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on the
presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted that
Trump was "threatening to commit war crimes." "We are not a war
with Iran," she wrote. "The American People do not want a war with
Iran. This is a democracy. You do not get to start a war with Iran, and your
threats put our troops and diplomats at greater risk. Stop."
congressional leaders, including U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, have said
Americans deserve to see the evidence behind the targeting of Soleimani. Two
senior Capitol sources told NBC News that Congress on Saturday received formal
White House notification of the attack. Such documentation, which the sources
said was classified, is required by law.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement Saturday night that the
notification was insufficient. “This classified War Powers Act notification
delivered to Congress raises more questions than it answers," she said.
"This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing,
manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in
hostilities against Iran."
said the White House's lack of transparency on the Soleimani attack was
concerning. "The highly unusual decision to classify this document in its
entirety compounds our many concerns, and suggests that the Congress and the
American people are being left in the dark about our national security,"
Pelosi said. The speaker called on the Trump administration to brief Congress
on its plans for Iran.