Washington: US President Donald Trump, in his first reaction after Iran's missile attack on two American bases in Iraq, insisted that "all is well" and promised to make a statement to the nation on Wednesday morning (local time).
On Tuesday night, Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq, the Pentagon said. According to Iranian state TV, the attacks were in revenge for the killing of the commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday, which was ordered by President Donald Trump.
Shortly after the missile attacks, Trump tweeted, "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."
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
Trump's tweet came after his reported meeting with his national security team, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper. Though there was no official confirmation of the meeting, Pompeo and Esper were seen entering the White House on late Tuesday night.
According to the White House, President Trump spoke with Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and thanked him for his country's strong partnership with the US. The two leaders discussed the situation in Iraq and Iran, as well as other critical bilateral and regional issues.
Trump also telephoned Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and the two leaders discussed the security situation in the Middle East and Libya and agreed to continue close coordination moving forward, the White House said.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo telephoned Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and updated him on the Iranian missile attacks on Iraqi air bases, including in Erbil.
Meanwhile the Democratic party leadership continued to blame Trump for the escalating tensions in the Middle East. "What's happening in Iraq and Iran today was predictable. Not exactly what's happening but the chaos that's ensuing," former US vice president Joe Biden said, blaming the situation on Trump's decisions of withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and ordering the missile strike in which Iranian general Soleimani was killed.
"Some of the things he's (Trump) done and said in the meantime have been close to ludicrous, including threatening to bomb holy sites...I just pray to God as he goes through what's happening, as we speak, that he's listening to his military commanders for the first time because so far that has not been the case," the Democratic presidential contender said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is closely monitoring the situation following the bombings targeting US troops in Iraq. "We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war," she tweeted.
On Tuesday, Trump threatened Iran of dangerous consequences in the event of an attack from them. "If Iran does anything that they shouldn't be doing, they are going to be suffering the consequences, and very strongly," he told reporters at the White House.