Should Iran advance the threat of retaliation against the United States, it should be able to count on several of its Middle East allies, some of whom have already condemned Soleimani’s murder.
Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Hezbollah, as well as the Iraqi Party Badr, are some of those who could ally with Iran, which has trained and funded them in the past. These groups are led by men with ties close to Soleimani.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah leader in Lebanon, said Friday that his powerful group of Shiite militias will continue the path of General Qasem Soleimani and it is the responsibility of all combatants to apply a fair punishment on the US.
Already in Palestine, the Hamas movement considered that murder “opens the door to all possibilities except calm and stability”blaming the United States for the situation.
Syria has also condemned the “treacherous and criminal aggression by the United States.” According to a source from the Syrian Foreign Ministry, the country considered that the attack on Soleimani will lead to instability in Iraq.
On the Iraqi side, resigning Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi warned that this assassination will “trigger a devastating war in Iraq” and the great ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a leading figure in Iraqi politics, called the killing “an unjustified attack” and “a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty.”
The supreme leader of Iran, O ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised to avenge the general’s death and declared three days of national mourning, while the head of diplomacy considered the death “an act of international terrorism”.
West calls for restraint
In contrast to the allies of Iran, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and China, they warned of unavoidable tensions in the region but urged the parties to try to reduce them and to contain them.
“Soleimani’s death was an adventurous step that will lead to escalating tension throughout the region”, declared the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Soleimani has devotedly served the cause of protecting Iran’s national interests. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.”
The ministry also praised the general’s efforts to combat terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and called his results “undeniable” in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
In Germany, Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman called for containment and a reduction in tensions. “We are at a dangerous point of escalating tensions. It is important to help alleviate the situation through prudence and restraint.“
The German Foreign Minister made the same request. “Since this morning we have been in contact with our British and French partners and other European countries to figure out how best to calm the situation down,” Heiko Maas explained.
President Emmanuel Macron will also be in contact with other powers to meet the priority of “stabilizing the region,” according to the French Secretary of State for European Affairs. “Today we have awakened in a more dangerous world,” said Amelie de Montchalin.
In China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for “relevant parties, especially the United States, that remain calm and contained to prevent further escalation in tensions. ”
Attack could violate international law, says UN
Agnes Callamard, a human rights activist and UN expert in extrajudicial executions, believes that Washington’s decision to assassinate Soleimani does not comply with international law.
“The murders of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis most likely violate international law, including human rights law.. The legal justifications for these deaths are not well defined and it is difficult to imagine how any of them could apply in this case, ”said Callamard.
General Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, also killed Friday in the attack on Soleimani, was a key figure in the coalition of pro-Iranian paramilitary groups in Iraq.
“In order to be justified under international human rights law, the use of potentially lethal force can only happen when strictly necessary in the face of a life-threatening threat,” said the UN expert.
#Iraq: The targeted killings of Qasem Soleiman and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis are most lokely unlawful and violate international human rights law: Outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal (1 )
– Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020
“In other words, whoever was responsible for the death of these two men needs to demonstrate that they posed an imminent threat to others. Past involvement of individuals in ‘terrorist’ attacks is not enough to make this murder legal“
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that “the world cannot allow another war in the Gulf” and called on international leaders to show “maximum restraint” as Iran calls for revenge for the US attack.
w / agencies