The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has warned that “the world cannot afford another war in the Gulf”, saying “this is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint.”
Spokesman for UN Secretary-General said in a press release Friday that the organization has “consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf” and that the secretary general is “deeply concerned with the recent escalation” in the region following the looming conflict between the United States and Iran over the killing of an Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.
Soleimani was killed alongside Iraq’s Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah.
While the US’ Pentagon confirmed that the targeted killings followed orders from President Trump, Iran has said it views the killing of its General as an act of war and will respond accordingly.
Pentagon issued a statement on Friday justifying its action as defensive: “At the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect American personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated foreign terrorist organization.”
The Iraqi government has also reacted by condemning the killings on its soil, tagging it as unacceptable. Iraq has not said how it wishes to respond, but US’ considerable presence and influence in the country puts Iraqi government in a difficult position.
But Iraqi Shiites who relate well with Iran have voiced out their anger, sparking fears of reprisal attacks on American citizens in Iraq, and for this the US has already asked its citizens to leave the region.
Israel, which has a huge stake in the region, has said that it would shore up its defenses at its borders with Lebanon and Syria.
Reactions in the US have been divided along political lines, with the Republicans adopting a subtle approval while the Democrats see it as ill-guided. There are others in the US who believe Trump is using a war bait to smoother his impeachment crisis and get re-elected for a second term.