Friday, January 03, 2020

From Ian:

Powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani killed in Baghdad airstrike
Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran’s Quds Force, was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad International Airport, Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials officials said Friday.

The US Department of Defense confirmed it had carried out the airstrike.

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” it said. “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

The Iraqi officials said the strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Iranian state television said the attack was carried out by US helicopters.

“Two vehicles were attacked with missiles by US forces” and all 10 passengers, including Soleimani, were “martyred,” Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, told state television.
Noah Rothman: Soleimani Deserved His Fate
This was a long time coming.

The strike President Donald Trump authorized on Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Qasem Soleimani neutralized a bad actor with American blood on his hands. According to a Pentagon estimate, roughly one in six U.S. casualties sustained in the effort to subdue the insurgency during the Iraq war was attributable to Iranian actions. Soleimani took an active part in that campaign, establishing training camps and setting up factories to produce the explosive charges that penetrated American armored vehicles.

Soleimani remained outside America’s grip under George W. Bush, and, when the Obama administration began withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq in 2010, the Shiite militias he controlled proved a critical backstop for an Iraqi president who couldn’t rely solely on the hapless Iraqi Security Forces. When the Obama administration lifted travel restrictions on Soleimani amid its quest to secure a nuclear accord with Iran, one of his first stops was in Moscow, to coordinate Iranian and Russian efforts to crush the U.S.-backed anti-Assad rebellion in Syria.

In the months leading up to Soleimani’s death, Iran had begun prosecuting a region-wide campaign of provocations. In 2019, Iran was responsible for the piracy of foreign-flagged vessels in the critical Strait of Hormuz. It engaged in what the nations Iran targeted called a “sophisticated and coordinated” special forces strike on international oil tankers. Iran downed a multi-million-dollar American surveillance drone, and it executed a sophisticated strike on the world’s largest petroleum processing facility in Saudi Arabia. For all this, Tehran faced no proportionate response from the West.

In December alone, Iranian Shiite proxy forces began targeting joint US-Iraq military facilities in Iraq with increasingly sophisticated missile strikes. There had been ten such strikes by the time Secretary of Defense Mark Esper asked the Iraqi government to help prevent attacks targeting U.S. soldiers on December 16th, though to no avail. A rocket attack by an Iranian-backed militia killed an American contractor and wounded three U.S. troops on December 28. In response, the U.S. carried out retaliatory strikes on the militia’s positions in Iraq and Syria. Tehran did not relent.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal: Iran’s Deadly Puppet Master
Suleimani is no longer simply a soldier; he is a calculating and practical strategist. Most ruthlessly and at the cost of all else, he has forged lasting relationships to bolster Iran’s position in the region. No other individual has had comparable success in aligning and empowering Shiite allies in the Levant. His staunch defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has effectively halted any progress by the Islamic State and other rebel groups, all but ensuring that Assad remains in power and stays solidly allied to Iran. Perhaps most notably, under Suleimani’s leadership, the Quds Force has vastly expanded its capabilities. His shrewd pragmatism has transformed the unit into a major influencer in intelligence, financial, and political spheres beyond Iran’s borders.

It would be unwise, however, to study Suleimani’s success without situating him in a broader geopolitical context. He is a uniquely Iranian leader, a clear product of the country’s outlook following the 1979 revolution. His expansive assessment of Iranian interests and rights matches those common among Iranian elites. Iran’s resistance toward the United States’ involvement in the Middle East is a direct result of U.S. involvement in the Iran-Iraq War, during which Suleimani’s worldview developed. Above all else, Suleimani is driven by the fervent nationalism that is the lifeblood of Iran’s citizens and leadership.

Suleimani’s accomplishments are, in large part, due to his country’s long-term approach toward foreign policy. While the United States tends to be spasmodic in its responses to international affairs, Iran is stunningly consistent in its objectives and actions.

The Quds Force commander’s extended tenure in his role—he assumed control of the unit in 1998—is another important factor. A byproduct of Iran’s complicated political environment, Suleimani enjoys freedom of action over an extended time horizon that is the envy of many U.S. military and intelligence professionals. Because a leader’s power ultimately lies in the eyes of others and is increased by the perceived likelihood of future power, Suleimani has been able to act with greater credibility than if he were viewed as a temporary player.

In that sense, then, Suleimani’s success is driven by both his talent and the continuity of his time in positions of power. Such a leader simply could not exist in the United States today. Americans do not allow commanders, military or otherwise, to remain in the highest-level positions for decades. There are reasons for this—both political and experiential. Not since J. Edgar Hoover has the federal government allowed a longtime public servant to amass such levels of shadowy influence.

Despite my initial jealousy of Suleimani’s freedom to get things done quickly, I believe such restraint is a strength of the U.S. political system. A zealous and action-oriented mindset, if unchecked, can be used as a force for good—but if harnessed to the wrong interests or values, the consequences can be dire. Suleimani is singularly dangerous. He is also singularly positioned to shape the future of the Middle East.

Trump Calls the Ayatollah’s Bluff
The successful operation against Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, is a stunning blow to international terrorism and a reassertion of American might. It will also test President Trump's Iran strategy. It is now Trump, not Ayatollah Khamenei, who has ascended a rung on the ladder of escalation by killing the military architect of Iran's Shiite empire. For years, Iran has set the rules. It was Iran that picked the time and place of confrontation. No more.

Reciprocity has been the key to understanding Donald Trump. Whether you are a media figure or a mullah, a prime minister or a pope, he will be good to you if you are good to him. Say something mean, though, or work against his interests, and he will respond in force. It won't be pretty. It won't be polite. There will be fallout. But you may think twice before crossing him again.

That has been the case with Iran. President Trump has conditioned his policies on Iranian behavior. When Iran spread its malign influence, Trump acted to check it. When Iran struck, Trump hit back: never disproportionately, never definitively. He left open the possibility of negotiations. He doesn't want to have the Greater Middle East—whether Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, or Afghanistan—dominate his presidency the way it dominated those of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. America no longer needs Middle Eastern oil. Best keep the region on the back burner. Watch it so it doesn't boil over. Do not overcommit resources to this underdeveloped, war-torn, sectarian land.

Melanie Phillips: The killing of Qasem Soleimani
It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of the elimination of the Iranian al Quds commander Qasem Soleimani. He was killed by a US airstrike which targeted him at Baghdad airport, where he had been met by his close henchman Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and who was killed alongside him in a vehicle convoy with five others.

This was America’s response to Iran’s escalating aggression, including an attack on US forces at an Iraqi military base on December 27 that killed a US contractor and wounded several others, and after an Iranian-backed mob attacked the US embassy on December 29 scrawling “Soleimani is my leader” on the guardhouses.

That day, the US launched a series of five airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that killed 25 members of the Iranian-backed militia, Kataib Hezbollah. But taking out Soleimani moves all this onto a different level altogether.

Soleimani has been described by some outlets as a terrorist leader. This is vastly to underestimate his importance. The al Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is part of Iran’s hugely powerful proxy army, and Soleimani was the regime’s key military strategist and military commander.

He launched countless military operations against US, Israel and others. He was responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq. He was the invaluable architect of Iran’s territorial drive for regional incursion and hegemony.

Al Muhandis was also a key military player who was responsible for supporting the Iranian-backed militias, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, through which Iran has pushed for regional power.

How will the Iranian regime react to this devastating blow to their prowess and prestige?
What Qassim Soleimani's killing means
Trump's shift here is hard to overestimate. Until now, Trump had been keen to keep avenues of diplomatic intercourse open toward Iran. Trump had avoided direct military retaliation against Iran even after it downed a U.S. drone last summer. But this killing slams the door on diplomacy in a most public way. Soleimani was a hero of the revolution and will now be regarded as an heir to Husayn ibn Ali, the martyr of Shiite martyrs. Revenge will now rise to the very top of Iran's agenda. A global terrorist campaign of uncertain duration is likely. In the context of Iranian domestic political instability and deep economic pressures on the regime, Iran might also use this killing as an excuse to destabilize oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz. Each of those developments would require immediate American deterrent response.

This will also cause short-term strife for U.S. political interests in Iraq. Soleimani and Muhandis represented a powerful bloc of Iranian-aligned interests. But a bloc that was under growing pressure. They'll now seek to unify erstwhile competitors such as Muqtada al Sadr into punishing America for what has occurred.

Ultimately, however, the U.S. holds the cards here.

If it is willing to tolerate some U.S. casualties, the Trump administration can effectively out-escalate Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's regime and force it into backing down. But while lives have likely been saved by Soleimani's departure, the near-term future won't be pretty.
Seth Frantzman: Soleimani's luck couldn't last; this time he met his end (obit-analysis)
In Syria, they built a network of bases from Imam Ali to T-2, T-4 and others. This network sought to move precision guided munitions to Hezbollah in Lebanon; it also sought to import an air defense system, the 3rd Khordad system, in April 2018.

Consequently, Israel carried out more than 1,000 airstrikes against Iranian entrenchment in Syria and Israel’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said in December that Israel would act against Iranian entrenchment in Syria and Iraq.

For Soleimani and Muhandis, all was well in December, even as US rhetoric increased. They did not believe the US would decisively respond, as Pompeo threatened. They had seen national security adviser John Bolton and other Iran hawks come and go, and had judged US President Donald Trump to be an isolationist.

Consequently, they tried to push the US, via attacks in the Gulf and against Saudi Arabia, and then against US forces, waging 11 attacks on US bases since October, according to US sources.

Finally, after the killing and wounding of Americans, the US acted by carrying out the December 27 strikes.

Kataib Hezbollah responded two days later with the attack on the US embassy. Working with Badr Organization commander Hadi al-Amiri, who plays a role in the PMU and parliament, they opened the gates to the Green Zone and PMU members in fatigues assaulted the embassy. They wrote “Soleimani is my leader” on the guardhouses. It was a symbol. They were saying Soliemani runs Iraq and Baghdad, not the US.

Forty-eight hours later Soleimani and Muhandis were targeted in an airstrike near the airport. It is a fitting end to men who believed there would be no response to provocations. It will be a blow to their organizations and network, just as killing Mughniyeh was a blow.

But they still have cadres and loyalists. Qais Khazali, Hassan Nasrallah and Hadi al-Amiri are still in Iraq and Lebanon. Iran’s IRGC has powerful people in charge of it and it has developed new drone and missile technology.

Nevertheless, the US has sent a powerful message that killing Americans will not be forgotten or tolerated.
State Dept: Iranian General Killed In U.S. Strike Responsible For 17% Of American Deaths In Iraq
In a stunning move that many analysts are calling a potential “turning point” in U.S.-Iran relations, President Trump ordered an airstrike early Friday in Iraq that killed an Iranian general that the U.S. State Department says is ultimately responsible for operations leading to 17 precent of all deaths of U.S. personnel during the Iraq War.

Qasem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, was reportedly killed in a strategic strike at Baghdad International Airport early Friday along with at least seven other military officials.

As reported by Fox News, the State Department announced in April 2019 that Iran was responsible for the deaths of 608 U.S. soldiers during the Iraq War (2003 to 2011).

“Soleimani was the head of the Iranian and Iranian-backed forces carrying out those operations killing American troops,” Fox News reports. “According to the State Department, 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.”

“U.S. officials say the Guard under Soleimani taught Iraqi militants how to manufacture and use especially deadly roadside bombs against U.S. troops after the invasion of Iraq,” The Associated Press reports. Iran has denied the claim.

Iraq anti-government protesters sing, dance after Soleimani death
Iraqis who have demonstrated for months against a government they see as beholden to Iran broke into song and dance Friday after a US strike killed a top Iranian commander, an AFP photographer said.

“Oh Qasem Soleimani, this is a divine victory,” they cheered in Baghdad’s iconic Tahrir Square, the epicentre of their movement.

“This is God’s revenge for the blood of those killed,” one added, after nearly 460 people were killed in violence that many demonstrators have blamed on Iran-backed security forces.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted a video on Twitter Thursday night of Iraqis “dancing in the street” after the US killed the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani.

“Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more,” Pompeo wrote, alongside footage of scores of people running along a road and waving what appeared to be Iraqi flags and other banners.

Netanyahu lauds Trump for killing of Iran’s Soleimani, says Israel stands by US
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday praised the United States and President Donald Trump for killing Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in the early morning hours.

“Trump is worthy of full appreciation for acting with determination, strongly and swiftly,” he told reporters before departing Greece to head back to Israel. “We stand fully by the United States in its just battle for security, peace and self-defense.”

The prime minister said “Israel has the right to defend itself. The US has the same right exactly. Soleimani is responsible for the deaths of innocent US citizens and many others. He was planning further attacks.”

Netanyahu cut short his visit to Greece amid concerns Iran could exact revenge on the Jewish state for the US killing of the powerful head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. He had been visiting the country to sign a major deal for a gas pipeline.
Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz gives a statement for media in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, November 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Netanyahu’s chief political opponent, Blue and White chief Benny Gantz, praised Trump for his “brave decision” which he said showed leadership.

“The killing of Soleimani is a message to all the head of global terror: on your own heads be it,” Gantz said. The assassination was “fitting for anyone whose action brings about the murder of innocents and the destabilization of the region and the world.”

Gantz added that on matters of national security “there is no coalition and opposition.”

US vs. the Mossad: Assassination tactics and the death of Soleimani
Explosions, fireworks, 12 dead - and all in the area of a major international airport.

There is a stark difference between how the world's premier power, the United States, and a strong intelligence agency from a regional power, like the Mossad, do business. The assassination of Iran's IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is a case in point.

It's not that the CIA never carries out clandestine assassinations - it does.

And it's not that Israel never blows up its adversaries in places like Syria - occasionally it does.

But Israel prefers to act under the radar, often using the Mossad to take out terrorist masterminds or weapons scientists without leaving a trace.

In fact, the most common sign of alleged Mossad assassinations of terrorists in recent years, from Malaysia to Tunis, has been the high level of professionalism and complete absence of any footprints to the extent that observers doubt almost anyone but the Mossad could be that clandestine.

The Mossad also tries to take out only one person at a time and usually does so in a less public area, making the killing as low profile as possible.

Sometimes reports of an alleged Mossad assassination take time to even creep into the media, because other than unexpectedly finding a dead terrorist's body, there is no indication of what happened and when.

This was not the goal of the Trump administration on Thursday night when it killed Soleimani in as public a place as possible, with large casualties to his troops and flamboyant flare.

Iran Guards threaten US, ‘fake Zionist regime’ over Soleimani killing
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vowed revenge against the United States and Israel on Friday after Qassem Soleimani, one of its top commanders, was killed by an American strike in Baghdad.

“We remind enemies of the Islamic Ummah, especially [the] terrorist government of America and the fake Zionist regime, that General Soleimani was not one individual but a never-ending school and belief,” the IRGC said in a statement quoted by the Mehr news agency.

It also threatened the US strike would “open a new chapter in the path of anti-Zionism resistance and fighting occupying American terrorists in the region.”

A spokesman for the IRGC also warned US “joy” over Soleimani’s death would turn into mourning.

“Our determination to take revenge against the US and Zionism will be strengthened,” Gen. Ramezan Sharif said, according to the Tasnim news agency.

UN Watch: Suleimani: Top UN official threatens US officers with “criminal liability”
A top United Nations official declared the U.S. airstrike on Iranian terror mastermind Qassem Suleimani “unlawful,” saying it “violates international human rights law,” and she threatened U.S. officers with “individual criminal liability.”

Agnes Callamard, the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, made the charges in a series of tweets posted soon after news broke of Suleimani’s death.

However, as noted by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, her reaction contrasted with that of former UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, who following the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 said that he was “very much relieved by the news that justice has been done to such a mastermind of international terrorism.”

Callamard ignored Suleimani’s direct role in directing terror attacks throughout the region, including the killing of 500,000 men, women and children in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, said Neuer.

France, Russia and China condemn slaying of Soleimani as a destabilizing act
World powers on Friday criticized the US killing of a top Iranian military commander and called for restraint and calm in its wake.

The US strike in Baghdad that killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, had made the world “more dangerous,” France’s Europe minister said, calling for efforts to deescalate the deepening conflict in the Middle East.

“We have woken up to a more dangerous world,” Amelie de Montchalin told RTL radio, saying President Emmanuel Macron will consult soon with “players in the region.

“In such operations, when we can see an escalation is underway, what we want above all is stability and deescalation,” Montchalin says. “Our role is not to take sides, but to talk with everyone.”

Moscow warned that the killing of Soleimani would boost tensions across the Middle East, calling it “an adventurist step.” The foreign ministry said Soleimani “served the cause of protecting Iran’s national interests with devotion. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.”

China appealed for restraint from all sides, “especially the United States,” after the attack.
Palestinian terror groups denounce Soleimani death as a US 'crime'
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and some smaller Palestinian factions on Friday condemned the targeted assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, commander of Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and accused the US of increasing tensions in the region.

The Palestinian groups said that the US “crime” won’t stop them from pursuing their fight against Israel.

Hamas and PIJ are the two major Palestinian factions which have long been closely affiliated with Soleimani and Iran. Leaders of the groups have visited Tehran on a regular basis over the past few years and met with Soleimani and senior Iranian officials.

The Palestinian Authority did not immediately comment on the pre-dawn US raid that killed Soleimani in Iraq. PA officials in Ramallah had previously accused Tehran of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians and supporting Hamas’s rule over the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, Hamas offered condolences to the Iranian people over the death of Soleimani and said he played a “prominent role in supporting the Palestinian resistance in various fields.”

The statement continued: “As Hamas mourns the commander Soleimani and the martyrs of the American raid, it also extends its condolences to the Iraqi people for the martyrdom of a number of their sons as a result of the treacherous American raid.”
Obama Invited Leader of Recent Iraq Embassy Protests to White House
One of the instigators of a multi-day siege of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad was controversially invited to the Oval Office by Barack Obama in 2011.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted pictures of those responsible on Tuesday, including one of Hadi al Amiri, who served as Iraq’s transport minister from 2010 through 2014 under then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and traveled with the prime minister to meet Obama at the White House in December of 2011.

Obama went through with the visit despite concerns over al-Amiri from former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.)

Ros-Lehtinen told The Washington Times in 2011 that it was “extremely disturbing that the White House would see fit to welcome al-Amiri to a discussion on the future of Iraq.”

“If anything, he should be subject to questioning by the FBI and other appropriate U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies,” she said at the time, referring al-Amiri’s suspected links to the deadly 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. “The victims of Khobar Towers and the families of thousands of U.S. troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq deserve no less.”

Corbynites Defend Suleimani; Creasy Calls for Recall of Parliament
The killing of Iran’s Quds Force Commander, Qassem Soleimani by a Trump-authorised drone strike has provided stark and shocking news for everyone to wake up this morning. Shed no tears…

Soleimani, according the Guardian, can be held partly-to-significantly responsible for:

The rise of Hezbollah
Iran’s propping up of Assad
The ascendancy of Shia militias in Iraq
The unspeakable torture of thousands of Iranians
Plus the deaths of hundreds of British and allied soldiers

And naturally, Corbynites have come out to condemn his killing. Continuing their stellar foreign policy record…

MEMRI: Iranian Campaign Touts IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani As 'Savior Of Iraq'; Soleimani: Iran Has Thousands Of Organizations Like Hizbullah; I Pray To Die A Martyr
Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, the elite unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) operating outside Iran's borders, is the most senior figure operating on behalf of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Iraq. Soleimani, who is close to Khamenei and is considered his protégé, is a senior representative of Iran's ideological stream, which opposes the trend of détente with the United States and the West.[1]

Previously, Tehran refrained from revealing its military involvement in Iraq and even denied it. Recently, however, the Iranian and other media began to publish numerous photos and footage of Soleimani in Iraqi cities in the company of commanders and fighters of Shi'ite and Kurdish pro-Iranian militias, as well as Shi’ite soldiers of the Iraqi army, that are fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in that country (see photo appendix below).

The Iranian regime views the Qods Force's anti-ISIS activity in Iraq as a useful tool for expanding its regional influence and improving its public image in the Middle East. On October 30, 2014, the daily Kayhan, which is close to Khamenei and is a mouthpiece of the ideological stream, explained that the Qods Force's activity in Iraq enhances Tehran's regional popularity and influence, and establishes commander Soleimani as a savior in the eyes of the Shi'ite and Iranian public, and in the eyes of the world: "Qassem Soleimani had a prominent role in operations to liberate [the Iraqi cities of] Jurf Al-Sakhar and Amirli. The presence of an Iranian strategist and believer in friendly neighboring countries, and his rescue of people of other faiths – Yazidis, Christians, Shi'ites, Sunnis, etc. – not only enhances his popularity in Iran and among the peoples of the world, but also enhances the Islamic Republic's popularity and influence in the region."[2]

As part of the Iranian media campaign lionizing Soleimani and his role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq, the Iranian online channel Nasr TV posted an English-language video describing significant milestones in his life,[3] and the IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency likewise published an article in his honor. The Fars article praised him as "the liberator of Iraq" who coordinated and supervised the Shi'ite and Kurdish military efforts and produced significant victories, in contrast to the 40-country coalition that failed to produce such results despite all its resources. According to Fars, Soleimani's widely-covered campaign in Iraq has been successful not only in defeating ISIS but in convincing the region and the world of the effectiveness of Iran's long arm.
MEMRI: IRGC Qods Force Commander Soleimani: 'War Is A Grand School For Love, Morals, [And] Loyalty'
The commander of the Qods Force in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Qassem Soleimani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, recently delivered several ideological speeches praising war, the Islamic Revolution, and Leader Khamenei, and attacking the U.S. and Sunni Muslim countries.

Praising the Islamic Revolution and its founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Soleimani claimed that the revolution had brought the Islamic world out of the crisis that it had been in since the fall of the Islamic regime in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century. He added that Iran continues to export the revolution successfully, even to Saudi Arabia, which is the stronghold of the Sunni world. Only Iran, he said, and not Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan, can lead the Muslim world, because it supports Islamic groups around the globe and defends Islam from attack.

Soleimani also said that the Shi'ite crescent in the Middle East was economic as well as political because it includes the oil-rich regions of eastern Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran. He added that Iran was successfully thwarting the global attack on the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

Following are excerpts from his statements:
"The War Completed The Islamic Revolution – And The Martyrs Live Forever; War Is A Grand School For Love, Morals, Loyalty, And Mysticism"

At an April 3, 2014 ceremony honoring martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war, in the city of Bam in southeast Iran, Soleimani said:[1] "There is no greater [source] of pride in this world than martyrdom. The martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war had a highly influential personality, much like that of the Imam Khomeini. In our country, [this] war became a grand school for creating man. War has completed the Islamic revolution, and the martyrs live forever. War is a grand school for love, morals, loyalty, and mysticism.

"During the revolution, the Imam Khomeini spread the slogans 'We Can' and 'America Can Do No Harm [To Iran].' The enemy thought that Iran was [weak] like Afghanistan and Pakistan, but disregarded its ability to accomplish anything – even to destroy its enemies – by relying on [its] people's resolve. The Iranian nation's resolve against its enemies is like steel.

Democrats, Media Attack Trump For Killing Terrorists Responsible For Killing U.S. Soldiers
Democrats and journalists attacked President Donald Trump on Thursday for killing a notorious terrorist who was responsible for murdering hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq.

“U.S. forces killed Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Qod’s Force — which is a designated terrorist organization — in an airstrike in Baghdad as he was traveling to Baghdad International Airport,” The Daily Wire reported. “Also killed in the strike was top Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who headed the Iranian-linked Popular Mobilization Forces.”

Fox News reporter Lucas Tomlinson noted that U.S. government statistics indicate that Iran was responsible for killing at least 608 U.S. troops during Iraq War and that Soleimani led all Iranian and Iranian-backed forces in those operations.

Numerous Democrats and journalists rushed to attack Trump for his decision to launch the strike, which was confirmed by the Department of Defense.

Socialist Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders responded by tweeting, “Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars. Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.”

Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren responded by writing on Twitter, “Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.”

CNN Anchor Compares Iran General to French War Hero
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper compared deceased Iranian general Qassem Soleimani to French war hero and former president Charles de Gaulle.

BBC Correspondent Says Death Of Qasem Soleimani Was 'Murder'
A BBC correspondent called the death of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was reportedly making plans to attack American diplomats and service members, a “murder” Thursday evening.

The leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force was killed during an airstrike Thursday ordered by President Donald Trump near the Baghdad, Iraq, airport, the Pentagon said in a statement. Soleimani was “actively developing plans” to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

“So it has escalated in this way, and I don’t think anyone would have expected this would have ended with the murder of Qasem Soleimani, a prominent head of an Iraqi militia, at Baghdad airport,” BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet said.
Ilhan Omar Attacks Trump For Killing Top Iranian Terrorist, Promotes Conspiracy Theory
Far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attacked President Donald Trump late on Thursday night for his order to kill top terrorist leaders in Iraq and also promoted a conspiracy theory.

Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were the two terrorist leaders who were killed. Al-Muhandis was in charge of the Iranian-linked Popular Mobilization Forces.

The Department of Defense released a statement stating that Trump ordered the strike because “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

“General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more,” the Pentagon continued. “He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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