By Stella Calloni – January 4, 2020
The assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, recognized as a national hero in his country and in his region, through a brutal terrorist attack ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump at the suggestion of his personal “advisors”, shocked the world at the beginning of this sure to be a complex year. It is already marked by major popular rebellions in different places and especially in Latin America, where it ended 2019 with a coup d’état in Bolivia, prepared, advised and financed by the U.S. government.
Along with Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi military commander and leader of the People’s Mobilization Forces, and 10 other important figures from both countries were killed. It was a terrorist action, which constituted an act of crude provocation, encouraged by Israel whose name appears in scarce analysis, although it is key in this case, violating Iraqi sovereignty and knowing that, Soleiname as a high official of the Iranian State had diplomatic immunity, in accordance even with the anti-terrorist treaties signed by the United States.
It was also an act that is clearly a declaration of war, which authorizes Iran to appeal to the United Nations since this type of crime violates international law as recognized by the international body’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamand.
The use of drones and any other means to assassinate people and even more so senior leaders and government officials in what is characterized as “collective killings” is illegal, so the intellectual authors and those who commanded the action must be tried and brought before international bodies.
Loved by his people who expressed themselves this Saturday and Sunday throughout the territory of Iran, Soleimani has an enormous prestige and even more in recent times for his fight against the supposed “Islamic” terrorists who in reality are mercenaries from various countries of the world hired by the North Atlantic Organization (NATO) that has a lot of experience in these types of shady characters. In the 70’s NATO armed the secret armies of criminals who intervened in the so-called “Operation Gladio” in Italy, and under different names in other European countries, leaving thousands of victims in attacks, in their objective of “exterminating” the left, in the scheme of the “Cold War”.
What Trump has done now energizes the advance of the supposed “war against terrorism, infinite and without borders” declared unilaterally by former President George W. Bush in September 2001, which has had enormous ups and downs and failures, further enraging the hegemonic power that is in visible decline and totally unmasked before humanity.
The Iranian general had inflicted a great defeat on the real terrorism of the mercenaries who sowed terror under the orders of the special forces of the United States, Great Britain, Israel and others, under the command of NATO in their colonial wars of the 21st century, invading and occupying nations.
Trump, who made the decision to assassinate Soleimani, has written in the last few hours that this should serve “as a warning, that if Iran attacks any Americans or American targets, we are targeting 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages captured by Iran many years ago), some with a very high level and importance to Iran and Iranian culture, and it will be very quick and very strong (…) The United States does not want any more threats.
It should also be remembered that the attack took place after weeks of protests by the Iraqi people, demanding the departure of the troops and mercenaries whom the US curiously calls “contractors”, who have remained there since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
That invasion carried out under false arguments that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which was confirmed to be false when genocide and the destruction of the country had already taken place, as well as a long period of human rights violations, with the creation of secret prisons, mass murders, aberrant torture, thousands of victims, condemning a dignified people to misery and begging. In short, Iraq is a country that has been colonially occupied in this century.
Moreover, under NATO command, they stole the great cultural riches and destroyed sites that were the heritage of humanity. The Iraqi people, who are still under the aggression of foreign troops, are not forgetting the crimes committed during this invasion, just as they will not forget those in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.
The Iraqi people have every right to fight for the departure of these troops from their territory, as was understood this past Sunday by the Iraqi parliament that decided to expel the foreign troops from their country, which was outraged by the invader and whose sovereignty was violated.
The argument that Soleimani was “preparing to kill Americans” is as false as the argument about weapons of mass destruction that did not exist in Iraq. There is no proof, only “presumptions”. The Iranian military had been summoned by the legitimate president of Syria, Bashar Al Assad, as he had also done with the Russian Federation when he found out that the United States, Israel and other associates were arming and directing the ferocious mercenaries disguised as the “Free Army of Syria” and that they were producing aberrant crimes against humanity against the population. Now it had also invaded Iraq, which had not only the right but the obligation to defend itself.
In the case of Syria, Donald Trump crossed all limits when he granted Israel the right to stay in the Golan Heights, Syrian territory as if he owned the world. And also when he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, against all the contrary reaction this produced worldwide.
In the same way, Al Qaeda, which emerged from the Taliban created by the United States in Afghanistan, were sworn enemies of Hussein, and it was NATO troops who introduced the mercenaries into Iraq and also into Libya, a country that has been devastated and is also in rebellion these days.
The Trump Maze
In this scenario, moreover, no one can ignore that Trump is in the electoral campaign mode and this decision revives the war industry and the hardest sectors of the empire. That on the one hand, and on the other, has fulfilled another objective of Israel, the country most interested in erasing Iran from the map. This will not be good for the president who is acting more and more in favor of the interests of the powerful global Israeli lobby, which is generating unrest in political sectors of the American right itself, as has been expressed in some media and documents.
In this regard it is worth considering especially the “advisors” chosen by Trump, and who carry more weight than his Security and Defense officials, as he has done on the issue of the Middle East, by naming his son-in-law Jared Kushner, husband of his daughter Ivanka, son of one of the most powerful members of the Jewish lobby in the United States, who have direct influence on the government.
That is the shadow behind the throne, since long ago the Israeli right-wing insists not only on bringing war to Iran, but on the possibility of using nuclear weapons against that country.
On December 30, Trump was visited by the U.S. National Security team at his comfortable resting place in Florida for a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, with a mission to brief him on the latest operations by U.S. forces in the Middle East such as the bombings of allegedly Iranian-sponsored “Shiite militias” in Iraq and presented some options. They then expressed surprise that the president ordered the attack on the Iranian general – a decision that would have been “suggested” by the president’s advisers, according to the Los Angeles Times. All the analysts thought of Kushner.
Several U.S. media outlets report that upon learning of the decision, there was a strong move at the Pentagon and the CIA “to work tirelessly” to locate Soleimani so that a successful operation could be conducted.
Considering that Israel is the country that has done and still does the most intelligence work not only in Arab countries, but in the Persian nation and elsewhere, and that it has also followed the movements of the murdered Iranian general for a long time, it is impossible to think that they did not actively participate in this attack.
Only three days later the terrorist attack took place that could lead to an escalation of violence. In this case, the world must prepare for the actions that may be taken by the terrorist powers responsible for these events because of their proven ability to carry out false flag attacks-which are accused of groups or countries to use as arguments-executed by their own special forces and thus escalate the war.
Trump officials like Pompeo said to justify their unjustifiable action that there was “irrefutable” information that Soleimani was preparing violent actions, “attacks that would have killed hundreds or thousands of Americans. We brought together our best and brightest experts found an opportunity and brought this guy down.”
Whose “irrefutable information” could it be? The one who knew in advance about Trump’s order and openly celebrated the criminal success of the attack was the man who has sown the most hatred for Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who mentioned that the U.S. has as much right as Israel to “defend itself,” as if this crime were an act of defense. Or as if the extermination of the Palestinian people had any justification.
The consequences of this brutal act are limitless and even more so if we consider that Iran is a country with a strategic geographical position for which Israel has undoubtedly been the most interested for years in destroying; a nation with deep cultural roots and strong influence in the region and in the world.
Trump’s exaggerated reaction to portray himself as the “savior” of his country in the face of “deficient democrats” like Barack Obama, whom he slyly mocked, and other important opposition figures, while it may attract more votes from the hard-liners, in the midst of the crisis over the impeachment trial he is being subjected to, also encounters a contrary reaction in much of the world and in governments that have begun to express their weariness, in the face of the due obedience demanded of them by the declining imperial power.
The important marches in the U.S. rejecting this crime, the warning given by intellectuals and important figures of culture, art, and youth, is beginning to have similarities with the rebellion of thousands of Americans against the Vietnam War in the 1970s.
The analyses by various international experts suggest that neither side wants war; neither has anything to gain, as Heiko Wimmen, Crisis Group’s head for Syria, Lebanon and Iran, argued, but he does warn that the danger arises from a head-on collision, with each side hoping the other will back down. If neither does, it could end in disaster,
For many, Iraq will once again become the first battlefield in the region. Trump has talked about sending about 3,500 troops to Iraq, which would increase the number of troops in that country, while the Iraqi people demand that they leave.
In this scenario, we are walking on the edge of the abyss, although most serious analysts remember the great responsibility with which the Iranian government has walked with in the last years, with intelligence and diplomacy, against the endless attempts of the U.S. and Israel to provoke an excessive reaction. The truth is that a match has been thrown on a dry meadow and there is no one who can predict at this hour the magnitude of the fire.
Featured image: Thousands protest in the US against the threat of war against Iran. Photo: Bill Hackwell
Argentina, journalist and writer. José Martí Latin American Journalism Award. Author of the Operation Condor book. She is an international correspondent and analyst.