Biden says Trump must explain Baghdad killing of Iran general Soleimani

Former vice-president Joe Biden said the US could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Former vice-president Joe Biden warned that President Donald Trump "just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox" by ordering the killing of a powerful Iranian general in Baghdad on Friday (Jan 3).

"No American will mourn Qassem Soleimani's passing. He deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region," Mr Biden said in a statement.

But he added that Mr Trump "owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond".

Mr Biden, who has made his foreign policy experience in the Senate and the Obama administration the centrepiece of his presidential campaign, said: "I'm not privy to the intelligence and much remains unknown, but Iran will surely respond. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East."

In the hours after the attack in Baghdad, Republicans in Congress largely praised the President, while some of their Democratic counterparts said there could be consequences.

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On Twitter, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another Democratic presidential candidate, called the killing "reckless" and a move that "increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict".

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a rival of Ms Warren and Mr Biden, said in a statement: "Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one."

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