Trump Orders Killing Of Iranian Top Military Chief, Qassim Suleimani - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Trump Orders Killing Of Iranian Top Military Chief, Qassim Suleimani

              
•Qassim Suleimani

From Gold Sharon,Foreign Desk

The United States  killed a  top commander of Iran’s secretive Quds Force, Qassim Suleimani, late Thursday,  the Department of Defense(DOD) said in a release sighted by The Daily Crucible.

Qassim Suleimani is believed to be behind the spate of attacks on US personnel and Coalition base in Iraq and other places since last year.

The United States President, Donald Trump, authorised the precision airstrikes which killed Qassim Suleimani near Bagdad Airport, Iraq, fuelling concern that  the state sponsored killing could heighten tension between US and Iran.

"At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. 

"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.

" 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.  

"This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world," DOD said.

Suleimani was an iconic military commander of Iran's military forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.

Another man said to be the deputy of militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was also killed in the strike, according to Iraqi Television reports.

Rioters  for two days attempted to scale the fortress-like walls at the world's largest embassy. They retreated under a show of force from the Pentagon; 100 Marines were airlifted into the compound and about 700 more Army paratroopers are expected soon in Kuwait from a global response force based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Mark Esper threatened a pre-emptive strike against Iranian militia if there were any renewed attacks against U.S. personnel or interests in Iraq.

The Chairman of the Joint Chief told reporters attackers would run into a buzz saw.

Al-Muhandis was one of the closest Iraqis to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and he had been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for acts of violence against Americans. He was also considered a close adviser to Suleimani.

While U.S. strike comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran over rocket attacks in Iraq that U.S. officials had blamed on Iranian-backed forces and the attempted breach of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The conflict at the embassy occurred after U.S. fighter jets  struck weapons depots in Iraq and Syria that the United States said were linked with a group called Kataeb Hezbollah, which it blames for attacks on bases of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in recent months.

At least 25 militia fighters were killed in the airstrikes. The strikes followed the death of a U.S. contractor who was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk that also hosted coalition forces Dec. 27. Several U.S. members were also injured.

The Defense Department said Thursday in announcing the strike that killed Suleimani that he had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over several months, including the Dec. 27 attack that killed the contractor.

He "also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week,” the Defense Department said in the statement.

Iran is likely to retaliate with terrorism and cyber attacks, Norman Roule, a 34-year CIA veteran who oversaw national intelligence policy on Iran before he retired in 2017, told NBC News in a phone interview in a phone interview Thursday.

Roule said the U.S. move puts the U.S. and Iran in a confrontation unlike any since the hostage crisis in 1979.

"I believe it is highly likely the U.S. would not have undertaken this action unless it believed doing so would have prevented the loss of American lives," Roule said.

"American officials are fully aware of the consequences such an action would produce," he said.

Trump has not appeared to comment on the strike but tweeted an image of an American flag with no text.

Earlier this week, when asked about the possibility of war with Iran, Trump said: "I don’t see that happening. No, I don't think Iran would want that to happen."

"I want to have peace; I like peace. And Iran should want peace more than anybody," Trump told reporters at his New Year’s Eve event at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

At least one U.S. Congressman expressed alarm at the reports.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, who sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, tweeted: "Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That's not a question."

The question is this — as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war? Murphy said in the tweet.

Sen. Marco Rubi, R-Florida, who also sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted that the U.S. and Trump "exercised admirable restraint while setting clear red lines and & the consequences for crossing them" following what he said were repeated attacks by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"#Iran's Quds Force chose the path of escalation," Rubio said in the tweet. "They are entirely to blame for bringing about the dangerous moment now before us."

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that, "This is very simple: General Soleimani is dead because he was an evil bastard who murdered Americans." Sasse said "the President made the brave and right call."

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, said in a statement that Soleimani "masterminded Iran’s reign of terror for decades, including the deaths of hundreds of Americans."

"Tonight, he got what he richly deserved, and all those American soldiers who died by his hand also got what they deserved: justice,” Cotton said, adding that America is safer with the Quds commander dead.

The Trump administration in April announced it was designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, which is the first time the U.S. had used that designation on part of another country’s government.

Since then there have been several tense incidents involving the U.S. and Iran, including when Iran in June shot down a U.S. surveillance drone that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said entered Iranian airspace. U.S. Central Command said the aircraft was in international airspace.

The Trump administration also blamed Iran for a September attack on oil sites in Saudi Arabia, which prompted the U.S. to deploy military forces to the Middle East that Esper said at the time would be defensive in nature.

The militia official who was killed in the strike near the airport, al-Muhandis, has been accused of plotting attacks on the U.S. since the 1980s. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death by Kuwait for his role in the 1983 attacks on the American and French embassies in Kuwait. Those attacks killed five Kuwaitis.

Al-Muhandis’ role in the embassy attack was cited by the Treasury Department in its designation of him as a Specially Designated National, a list of terrorists subject to U.S. sanctions. That designation also said he took part in an assassination attempt on the emir of Kuwait in the early 1980s -  additional report: nbcnews

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