The entire 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division is now headed to the US base in Kuwait, multiple outlets reported citing anonymous Pentagon officials on Friday. The deployment does not appear to be directly in response to the Thursday assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, however, but rather part of the build-up set in motion on Tuesday, following the siege of the US embassy in Baghdad.
A small force of US Marines reinforced the embassy and fended off the Iraqi Shia militia that had attempted to storm it in protest over a US airstrike against their bases last weekend. US President Donald Trump blamed Iran for both a rocket attack that killed one US contractor in Iraq last week, and the embassy siege. He ordered the strike that killed Soleimani in retaliation, the White House said.
Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and coordinated operations throughout the Middle East, including against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Washington considered him one of the most dangerous enemies to US interests in the region.
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