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January 10, 2020

Disruptive

Opinion

January 10, 2020

On the surface, it made not one iota of sense. The murder of a foreign military leader on his way from Baghdad airport, his diplomatic status assured by the local authorities, evidently deemed a target of irresistible richness.

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” The words from the Pentagon seemed to resemble the resentment shown by the Romans to barbarian chiefs who dared resist them.

“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.”

The killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force in a drone strike on January 3, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces, or Hash a-Shaabi and PMF Kata’ib Hezbollah, was packaged and ribboned as a matter of military necessity.

Soleimani had been, according to the Pentagon, “responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.” He was behind a series of attacks on coalition forces in Iraq over the last several months

including attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31, 2019.

US President Donald J Trump had thrown caution to the wind, suggesting in a briefing at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that an option on the table would be the killing of Soleimani. The Iran hawks seemed to have his ear; others were caught off guard, preferring to keep matters more general.

A common thread running through the narrative was the certainty – unshakable, it would seem – that Soleimani was on the warpath against US interests. The increased danger posed by the Quds Force commander were merely presumed, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was happy to do so despite not being able to “talk too much about the nature of the threats.

But the American people should know that the president’s decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives.” (Pompeo goes on to insist that there was “active plotting” to “take big action” that would have endangered “hundreds of lives”.) How broadly one defines the battlefield becomes relevant; the US imperium has decided that diplomatic niceties and sovereign protections for officials do not count. The battlefield is everywhere.

Trump was far from convincing in reiterating the arguments, insisting that the general had been responsible for killing or badly wounding “thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill may more… but got caught!” From his resort in Palm Beach, Florida, he claimed that the attack was executed “to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

Excerpted from: ‘Disruptive Assassinations: Killing Qassem Soleimani’. Counterpunch.org