A judge in Baghdad issued an arrest warrant for President Donald Trump for his involvement in the Washington-ordered drone strike that resulted in the assassinations of both Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The investigative court issued the warrant on Jan. 7, following the anniversary of the strike from Jan. 3, 2020. The warrant is specifically for a charge of premeditated murder, which carries the death penalty on conviction.
Trump’s warrant is under Article 406 of Iraq’s penal code.
He initially ordered the strike because he accused Soleimani of plotting attacks against Americans. In fact, Washington accused Solemani of “masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region,” according to Reuters.
Al-Muhandis was killed alongside Soleimani in the attack. Soleimani was the head of the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, per The Associated Press.
Even though Trump considered Soleimani’s attacks to be “imminent and sinister,” many Iranians felt he was wrong to attack. Following the strike, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted, “The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.”
The Iranian’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a warning that there would be “harsh retaliation” aimed at the U.S., NBC reported.
The judge made the decision to issue the warrant after considering statements and claims made by the family members of Al-Muhandis, according to a statement that was made from the Supreme Judicial Council.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has had a warrant issued for his arrest. Iran issued a warrant back in June for the arrest of Trump and over 30 officials involved in the strike, but the international police agency Interpol had “no intention to meet Iran’s request” to make the warrant a “red notice,” CBS said.
Although investigations into the killings have been ongoing, the Associated Press said it is unlikely that the warrant will be carried out. However, the decision to issue the warrant is “symbolic in the waning days of Trump’s presidency.”
Part of the larger picture is that the strikes have created resentment and tension between the U.S., Iran and Iraq, considering that Iraq is a key ally of the U.S. in the Middle East, CBS said.
The order for arrest “highlights the huge resentment against U.S. policy in Iraq, and deeply entrenched influence of Iran among Iraq’s large Shiite Muslim population,” CBS said.
In Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the attack on Soleimani. He warned that the attack would trigger a war, Aljazeera said.
“Carrying out physical liquidation operations against leading Iraqi figures or from a brotherly country on the Iraqi lands is a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that triggers a destructive war in Iraq, the region and the world,” Abdul Mahdi said.
Trump will be out of office when Joe Biden gets inaugurated on Jan. 20.