BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:15 A.M.) – The commander of US forces in the Middle East, General Frank McKenzie, said that his country is “ready to respond” if Iran attacks it on the first anniversary of the assassination of the Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.
Speaking to reporters, he said, “We are ready to defend ourselves, our friends and allies in the region, and respond if necessary.”
He continued, “I think that we are in a very good position and that we will be ready whatever the Iranians and their allies decide to do.”
McKenzie indicated that he visited Baghdad, where he met the commander of the international coalition forces, General Paul Calvert, and the Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah.
He also said that he had visited Syria to meet with the American forces at the occupied Al-Tanf airport in the border triangle with Jordan and Iraq.
Soleimani, alongside the Deputy Head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandis, was assassinated outside the Baghdad International Airport on January 3rd, 2020.
Days later, on January 8th, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched as many as 18 missiles toward the US forces at two Iraqi military bases.
Despite the retaliatory strikes, Iran has vowed to launch more attacks against the US forces and assets; however, they have not specified when, where or who they are going to target.