Did Donald Trump really mean what he said—that it was to prevent war, and not make one, for which a top Iranian military commander was hit in Baghdad on his instructions? Will it de-escalate the prospect of war, as he claims the assassination was intended to do, or will it lay open an imponderable prospect of a serious conflagration between the US and Iran?
As the NYT says, it is not so much if the extrajudicial killing was justified as whether it is wise to take an action that is dangerously fraught. The Trump tweets (alliteration unintended), which are often nothing better than rantings of an uninformed and injudicious mind, are anything but de-escalatory in content.
Killed along with General Qasem Soleimani in the same drone attack was the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a Shia force organised to fight ISIS and recognised by the Iraqi government as an independent military force, a one-time US ally in the fight against ISIS.