Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush smile while on the first tee during the first round of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider

On Thursday evening, the Pentagon confirmed that at the direction of President Donald Trump, U.S. forces killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in an air strike near Baghdad's airport, the most drastic step towards conflict with Iran of the 21st century.

Soleimani had been one of the most important and highly-regarded military figures in Iran for decades, playing a pivotal role in shaping Iranian foreign policy and the politics of the Middle East today.

The killing of the high-level commander Soleimani, first reported by Iranian state TV and later confirmed in a statement by the Pentagon, is the United State's most significant escalation of tensions against Iran yet and is likely to further inflame conflict in the region and provoke severe retaliation.

In the immediate aftermath of the strike on Suleimani, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that "harsh retaliation" would be waiting for the U.S., with another military official, Moshen Razae, vowing to "take vigorous revenge on America."

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George W. Bush/Instagram

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.

In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.

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Petty Officer 1st Class Ross Taylor/US Navy

VIRGINIA BEACH — Bobby Rashad Jones couldn't help himself.

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Cpl. Reece Lodder/US Marine Corps

It's the 17th birthday of the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which gave President George W. Bush and every president since a blank check to deploy U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world in the name of going after terrorists.

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Iraq helped fight Islamic State and became a strategic U.S. partner in the Middle East. North Korea, of course, has just refreshed relations with the U.S., or at least with President Trump, after a high-profile handshake and vague talk of denuclearization.

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Wikimedia Commons

Will future historians speculate that President George W. Bush was Machiavellian in his foreign policy moves? I ask because when you look at the Middle East today, we see a new alliance between Arabs and Israel against Iran and its allies in the region. I don’t think that new alignment has been discussed enough in this country. I welcome your thoughts on it.

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