U.S. Airstrikes have killed Qasem Soleimani, IRGC Major General and Quds Force commander, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, PMU leader and Kata’ib Hezbollah commander, at Baghdad Airport tonight.
AP News – A senior Iraqi politician and a high-level security official, confirmed to the Associated Press that Soleimani and al-Muhandis were among those killed in the attack. Two militia leaders loyal to Iran also confirmed the deaths, including an official with the Kataeb Hezbollah, which was involved in the attack on the U.S. Embassy this week.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said al-Muhandis had arrived at the airport in convoy to receive Soleimani whose plane had arrived from either Lebanon or Syria. The airstrike occurred as soon as he descended from the plane to be greeted by al-Muhandis and his companions, killing them all. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject and because they were not authorized to give official statements. The senior politician said Soleimani’s body was identified by the ring he wore.”
The Times of Israel – Soleimani has for years been seen as the architect of much of Iran’s malign activities in the Middle East, including attempts to place a foothold in Syria and rocket attacks on Israel, making him one of Israel and the US’s most sought-after targets. His killing was announced hours after missiles struck at least two cars at Baghdad’s International Airport, killing at least seven people, according to Iraqi officials.
There was no immediate confirmation of his death from Iranian officials. If confirmed, Soleimani’s death would likely mark a major escalation in a simmering conflict between the US and Iran that recently boiled over in Iraq with the storming of the US embassy by pro-Iranian militiamen following a US strike on a Tehran-backed militia. Lebanon’s Al-Meyadeen news outlet, seen as close to the Hezbollah terror group, an Iranian proxy group, also reported on Soleimani’s death.
Pentagon Statement (click here):
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.
A series of escalating events since October, where backed Iranian militias have been threatening and targeting the U.S. and allied interests. There were targeted attacks on commercial ships and then the Suadi Oil Field attack. Last week a U.S. contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that the Pentagon blamed on the militia. U.S. airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters of the Iran-backed group were viewed as retaliation, and Soleimani backed militias attacked the U.S. Iraq embassy.
Fox News-“Soleimani is our leader,” written under the window by Iran-backed militiamen at U.S. Embassy Baghdad, about the head of IRGC’s Quds Force, responsible for special operations in Iraq.
Trump’s comment following the Embassy attack as seen in the insert chart.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had compared Soleimani to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a strike by U.S.-led forces in October, a military mastermind and equally as dangerous.
Flashback Obama (Hudson Institue) – According to the terms of the Iran deal announced in Vienna on Tuesday, U.N. Security Council sanctions regarding nuclear-related issues will be lifted on a number of entities and individuals – from Iranian banks to Lebanese assassins, like Anis Nacacche. The name that most sticks out is IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani.
IRGC Major General Soleimani and his militias are responsible for 600 American soldier’s deaths, (17% of all American soldier deaths in Iraq per State department) and more injured, over the last decade in Iraq. More than 1000’s in the Middle East region have also met death by his orders. Quds Force (which operates and perpetuates atrocities in multiple nations like Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, and Lebanon. He was also behind the failed plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir in DC in 2011. Learn more here and here and here.
While leftist hate for Trump is not new, RFSO is stunned how rapidly the anti-American and Trump attacks came this evening.
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. So did Senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy:
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?
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 3, 2020
Senator Bernie Sanders Tweeted:
“Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions of more dollars. Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren Tweeted:
“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.”
Headlines and talking heads on CNN and MSNBC have been declaring we committed an act of war with an inference that the president has no authority to order such an attack. Next will come to the Op-eds claiming Trump and not Iran are accountable for any outcomes ahead, and each will be void of any historical timeline of Iranians mounting aggression on the world stage.
Following the Embassy attack, The RFSO’s take was that no Iran war is imminent, though a strategic strike may be in the cards (by the US or an ally). Today we witnessed our president’s bold, decisive action and premier strength of our military precision coordinated with excellent Intel. Soleimani has been a designated terrorist by the United States Treasury and State department for over a decade.
RFSO feels all those making a case that this proportional response, which limited civilian and US force casualties, is an invitation for Iran to go to war with the United States – we say pull up a chair are read the geopolitical chessboard. Iran’s government has been at war with the United States since 1979. It is the number one sponsor of state terrorism around the globe. This war has been waged by proxy and has caused Iranian citizens hardship and citizens of many countries’ heartbreak and suffering. Ask yourself why Soleimani was in Iraq in the first place, and why did he feel so confident his safety was not vulnerable in Iraq?
Masih Alinejad Tweet (Iranian Journalist):
IMPORTANT: For many Iranians, Qassem Soleimani was a warmonger who caused massive casualties in Syria. He was no hero to average Iranians who chanted against the country’s support for Hezbollah, and Hamas. Unfortunately, Western media misses the point by glorifying Soleimani – He was the common enemy for people in Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. His Involvement in a crackdown against university students in the late 1990s was another black mark against him.
You do not bow to a regime whose own people are in the streets chanting, “no money, no gas, screw Palestine”, a reference to the frustration brewing over money spent on proxy wars versus needs of Iranians. The Iranians are already in the street and primed to topple a government that is intent on destroying “Big Satan” (United States) and “Little Satan” (Israel).
Newsflash, this stance is decades old now and did not emerge suddenly when Trump became president. The Sanctions are working. But a “Big Stick” was needed too! This President, our Military, and our Allies are prepared to address any and all choices the Iranian Government makes going forward.
The real question is, will homebrew, anti-American politics, and its players continue to propagandize and impede progress just for the political points in an election year to say the Anti-war president Trump, got us in a war? Iran broke a few windows in a US Embassy, the U.S. just took out four major Iranian terror threats – we would say – advantage Trump. It’s Iran’s move now.
One thing is for certain, tonight, the Mullahs in Tehran, know President Trump does not play with lines in the sand.