Trump 'Tossed Stick of Dynamite Into Tinderbox' With Drone Strike, Says Joe Biden

Democrat 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden believes President Donald Trump has not considered the consequences of the drone strike that killed the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, describing it as a "hugely escalatory move."

The former vice president said that even though "no American will mourn" the death of General Qassem Soleimani, his killing at Baghdad airport alongside local Iran-backed militias will not, as the Trump administration claims, deter future attacks by Iran. Instead, Biden believes it will "almost certainly have the opposite effect."

"President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops...our people and our interests," Biden said in a statement tweeted early Friday morning.

Qassem Soleimani
Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, is pictured in 2017. Former vice president Joe Biden has warned that his killing in a drone strike means the region is “on the brink of a major conflict.” MEHDI GHASEMI/Getty Images

"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. I hope the Administration has thought through the second and third-order consequences of the path they have chosen.

"But I fear the Administration has not demonstrated at any turn the discipline or long-term vision necessary—and the stakes could not be higher," Biden added.

My statement on the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020

His unease at the attack was echoed by fellow Democrat 2020 contender Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted that while she considered Soleimani to be "a murderer," the decision to kill him was "a reckless move" that now "escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict."

The flag of General Soleimani in defense of the country's territorial integrity and the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region will be raised, and the path of resistance to US excesses will continue. The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.

— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 3, 2020

Meanwhile, China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the U.S. should show restraint.

"China has always opposed the use of force in international relations," Geng said at a daily press briefing, adding: "We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions."

Konstantin Kosachev, who heads Russia's Federation Council's foreign affairs committee, called the killing a "worst-case scenario," and said he expected there would soon be Iranian retaliation.

"This is very grave news, a harbinger of new clashes between the Americans and radical Shiites in Iraq," he told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

"But I would be happy to be proved wrong because wars are easy to start, but very difficult to end," he added. On his Facebook page, he said that the attack ended any hope of resolving the issue of Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted on Friday morning that "the great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime," and that "the great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime."

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment. The Hill noted that the White House pointed to the statement by the Pentagon which said the strike against Soleimani, was a "decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad."

"General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region," the statement said.