Alwaght- The hawkish US President’s new threat to strike 52 important targets in Iran, including the cultural ones, has triggered condemnation, with many calling it a “war crime.”
"...targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!," Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU), were assassinated in US airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Friday.
Trump's threat came after Iranian authorities said they would show a harsh response to the US strikes.
Many were quick to say that deliberately attacking cultural sites is a war crime.
Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wrote on Twitter that his threat to hit Iranian sites “is a war crime.”
“Threatening to target and kill innocent families, women and children - which is what you’re doing by targeting cultural sites - does not make you a ‘tough guy.’ It does not make you ‘strategic.’ It makes you a monster,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel at the US Department of Defense said that targeting "the clearly-recognized historic monuments, works of art or places of worship" is a war crime.
"Making the clearly-recognized historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples ... the object of attack"
Geneva Convention Protocol I
(also: U.S. Department of Defense, Law of War Manual, 5.18)"
Colin Kahl, former deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and national security adviser to vice president Joe Biden said that "the Pentagon would not provide Trump targeting options that include Iranian cultural sites."
"For what it's worth, I find it hard to believe the Pentagon would provide Trump targeting options that include Iranian cultural sites. Trump may not care about the laws of war, but DoD planners and lawyers do...and targeting cultural sites is war crime."
John G Hertzler, an actor and an author, reacted by saying that the American people "are not" behind Trump in response to a Twitterer, who said he backed the president.
No. No we are not.
— John G Hertzler (@JGHertzler)
Eugene Gu who is politically active on social media, said "the President of the United States should never threaten on Twitter or anywhere else to target another country’s non-military cultural sites."
"The President of the United States should never threaten on Twitter or anywhere else to target another country’s non-military cultural sites. That is an act of evil terrorism with no strategic value whatsoever other than destroying people’s heritage and history."
Meanwhile, groups of protesters took to the streets in Washington and other US cities on Saturday to condemn Trump's order to conduct the air strike in Iraq and to send about 3,000 more troops to the Middle East.
"No justice, no peace. US out of the Middle East," hundreds of demonstrators chanted outside the White House before marching to the Trump International Hotel a few blocks away.
Similar protests were held in New York, Chicago and other cities. Organizers at Code Pink, a women-led anti-war group, said protests were scheduled on Saturday in numerous U.S. cities
Protesters in Washington held signs that read "No war or sanctions on Iran!" and "US troops out of Iraq!"