Today, Iranian military general Qassem Suleimani was killed by a drone strike in Baghdad ordered by President Trump. Head of the Quds Force, a division of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Suleimani led battles against ISIS in Iraq.
This follows the news of local protesters attacking the US Embassy in Iraq earlier this week. Suleimani's death has escalated tensions between Iraq and the United States. Adding insult to injury, Trump tweeted a picture of the American flag, which catalyzed Twitter users to circulate memes speculating on what they would do if World War III did in fact commence. #WWIII is trending as a result.
However, the strained relations between Iraq, Iran and the United States prove this turn of events is no laughing matter. In U.S. cities with large Iranian populations, police departments are tweeting about increased surveillance to protect them from potential xenophobic and racist hate crimes. Los Angeles, home to almost half a million Iranians, more than anywhere outside of Iran, is one place issuing protective notices.
The U.S.-ordered drone strike also killed an Iraqi general
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was killed alongside Suleimani, was the deputy commander that oversaw Iraq's militia groups. He was a veteran of the Iraq War, and has been a lifelong ally to Iran. According to AP News, Iraqi leaders and citizens are now also calling for revenge against the U.S.