US forces in Iraqi military base near Baghdad’s international airport on Monday shot down two Iranian armed drones, Reuters reported, citing Iraqi security sources. There were no casualties. Meanwhile, the Twitter account of Maariv and The Jerusalem Post were hit by pro-Iranian hackers early Monday morning, with an illustration showing a blown-up model of the Dimona nuclear facility accompanied by the warning, “We are close to you where you do not think about it” in English and Hebrew.
On Saturday, thousands rallied in Baghdad to mark the second anniversary of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi subo0rdinate in a US drone attack on January 3, 2020. The marchers chanted “Death to America,” naturally.
Soleimani was taken out by a drone near Baghdad airport, on the command of then-president Donald Trump. On Monday, an official of the US-led international military coalition told Reuters the attack involved “two fixed-wing suicide drones,” which were “shot down without incident.”
The Soleimani assassination was strongly condemned by Iran, whose government held a mass multi-city funeral for the departed General in Iraq and Iran. Hours after his burial on January 7, 2020, the Iranian military launched missiles against US military bases in Iraq. The Pentagon reported 110 Americans had been wounded in the strikes, but no lives were lost.
According to an analysis in Iran International last January, Qasem Soleimani’s death had significant consequences for the Islamic Republic, its leader Ali Khamenei, the Revolutionary Guards and its Qods Force, and Iran’s proxy forces in the Middle East, and has weakened the regime in Iran.
Iran International noted that Soleimani had also been Iran’s chief diplomat in the region, “far more powerful than the foreign minister.” A sign of his demise was Mustafa Al-Kadhimi—who is more independent from Iran than his predecessors—becoming Iraq’s prime minister after Soleimani’s death. The website also cites signs of the weakening of the Quds force in Syria, the Gaza Strip, and Yemen. Soleimani’s replacement, Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, does not possess Soleimani’s clout, energy, and imagination.