Col. Richard Kemp: Barbarous Iran is the real Great Satan, but the morally bankrupt Left is incapable of admitting it
Fortunately our prime minister and foreign secretary have not fallen into the trap of taking Tehran’s side. They recognise that Iran is as great a threat to the UK, sometimes branded by Tehran as the ‘little Satan’.
Soleimani’s Quds Force directed the killing of dozens of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, alongside over 1,000 Americans. In 2015 Soleimani’s proxies set up a bomb factory with three tons of explosive materials in north London. Elsewhere in Europe, a Quds Force organised bombing attack in France was prevented in 2018 and two Dutch citizens were assassinated in Holland in 2015 and 2017.
Khamenei has said he will no longer adhere to the nuclear deal with the P5+1. Despite European leaders’ determination to cling to President Obama’s agreement, they know Tehran has been duping them since it was first put in place. In any case this flawed deal would have allowed Iran to legitimately develop material for nuclear weapons in a few years, threatening the whole world.
Rather than unintentionally encouraging Khamenei’s plans for violent retribution, European political leaders should be working towards the downfall of his vicious dictatorship or at least coercing him towards moderation. Already under severe threat from within, the regime has been seriously weakened by the killing of Soleimani which exposed to their own people Iranian vulnerability in the face of superior American power. EU governments should condemn Iran and its violent actions everywhere and support President Trump in re-imposing sanctions. No matter how bitter a pill for them, it is the right course for the decent people of Iran and the safety of others across the Middle East.
According to Sir Keir Starmer, current favourite to replace Corbyn: ‘We need to engage, not isolate Iran.’ He is precisely wrong, presumably unaware that decades of engagement and appeasement have led only to greater violence, never one inch closer to peace. The Government should ignore him and prepare to back America with diplomatic and military action if this situation escalates, making it clear to Tehran that they will do so.
Caroline Glick: Qassem Soleimani is dead. Who’s next?
Political commentator, journalist and author Caroline Glick joins Eve Harow to explain – with her trademark directness – the huge importance and ramifications of the US killing of arch terrorist Qassem Soleimani.
A tremendous destabilizing force who was responsible for the murder of thousands in and out of the Middle East, this act has created an opportunity for regime change in Iran.
Caroline shares her opinion on the players in the region and how American strength is critical to ensure security for good people around the globe.
Iraq, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Europe, Egypt – get ready for an hour-long primer on the maelstrom surrounding little, stable Israel.
Lee Smith: Iran and America Are Suddenly Both Naked
By taking decisive action against Soleimani, Trump showed that Iran’s power is an illusion generated by D.C.’s willingness to look the other way
U.S. officials even had scholarly support to rationalize their failure to hold Iran accountable. During the 1990s, Middle East experts promoted a thesis holding that the clerical regime in fact had little to do with Hezbollah. According to the “Lebanonization” thesis, Hezbollah was a homegrown resistance movement that came into being as a local response to Israel’s 1982 occupation of Lebanon. In fact, as Tablet colleague Tony Badran has written, Hezbollah was seeded in Lebanon in the mid-’70s by “Iranian revolutionary factions opposed to the shah.” U.S. policymakers preferred the fiction that Hezbollah was a homegrown product because it supported both their emotional needs and their policy goals: The West had earned the righteous anger of the natives, and there was nothing to be done except atone by way of offering human sacrifices.
In 1996, Iran’s proxy in Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah al-Hijaz, bombed the Khobar Towers, killing 19 U.S. Air Force personnel. The Clinton administration’s hopes for rapprochement with Tehran under the leadership of so-called reformist President Mohammad Khatami required the U.S. to pretend Iran was not responsible.
Between 2003 and 2011, according to a State Department assessment, Iran and its Shiite allies were responsible for killing more than 600 U.S. servicemen in Iraq. The body count doesn’t include the U.S. servicemen killed by the Sunni fighters ushered from Damascus international airport to the Iraqi border by Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, Iran’s chief Arab ally. Yet George W. Bush reportedly passed up opportunities to kill Soleimani, deciding against opening a third front against Iranian terrorists that might endanger his doomed “Freedom Agenda.”
There was even less of a chance Obama would kill Soleimani, though his administration reportedly had him in the crosshairs, too. Soleimani was the key to the JCPOA, Obama’s crowning foreign policy achievement. He admired Soleimani, a hard man who got things done. Rather than stop the Quds Force commander, Obama told Arab allies that “they need to take a page out of the playbook of the Quds Force.”
The former president’s conviction was simply the result of what American officials had been saying since 1979. Therefore, Obama counted on Soleimani’s ability to control the ground in Syria and help America stabilize the region. Yet only weeks after Obama diplomats and Iran agreed to the JCPOA in July 2015, Soleimani was in Moscow petitioning Vladimir Putin for assistance in Syria. In spite of the billions of dollars in sanctions relief that Obama had granted Iran, and the $1.7 billion in cash the U.S. shipped directly to the IRGC, the Quds Force and the Shiite international were on the verge of losing the war to rebels in pick-up trucks.
Six U.S. administrations were complicit in turning Iran into a regional power. In that context, the Obama administration’s decision to flood Iranian war chests with cash and recognize its right to build a nuclear bomb was the logical culmination of the rot eating away at the Beltway for four decades. It was perhaps to be expected that an outsider who often doesn’t know when to keep quiet, and can’t stay off Twitter, would be the one to sing out like the boy in the fairy tale. It’s true, the emperor has no clothes. The rules have changed but that doesn’t mean the Iranians won’t be looking for revenge.
Amb. Alan Baker: The Targeting of Soleimani and International Criticism
While political comment and criticism by states may well be an accepted mode of international diplomatic dialogue, one might nevertheless expect that international civil servants functioning in the framework of the expert bodies of the United Nations would refrain from publicly using their official position and professional role to vent political criticism, not to mention openly tweeting their personal viewpoints in social media.
A recent chain of tweets by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Agnes Callamard, an acknowledged French human rights expert, raises several questions regarding the UN Charter’s requirement of UN officials to demonstrate the highest levels of integrity, independence, and impartiality.
This off-the-cuff analysis, rapidly tweeted throughout social media by a senior UN official, raises questions both regarding the legal content and accuracy of the analysis, but also regarding the appropriateness of such an impromptu tweet by a senior functionary representing the United Nations.
To seriously suggest that Soleimani, in his role as head of the Quds Force, and as the major purveyor of regional terror throughout the Middle East, was “outside the context of active hostilities” is indicative of a further attempt to manipulate international human rights law to suit Ms. Callamard’s own political views.
Ms. Callamard chooses to ignore the fact that at any given moment, Soleimani was heavily involved in the planning and execution of massive acts of terror. That was his function within the Iranian military and terror infrastructure. His every move was related to the organizing and operation of ongoing acts of terror, and as such was well within the context of “active hostilities.”
Furthermore, to seriously suggest that the terror threat posed by Soleimani was not, at any given moment, an imminent threat to human life, therefore not justifying the use of lethal force against him, is to naively underestimate the fact that in effect he was a literal “ticking bomb” representing an immediate, instant, and overwhelming danger both to U.S. forces and to civilians throughout the area. As such, the use of force against him was legally justified.
Obama continued on his course of rapprochement at all costs. Desperate to reach a nuclear accord with Tehran, he ignored terrorist fundraising networks, such as Hezbollah’s multibillion-dollar drug and weapons trafficking business, and tolerated Iranian plots against U.S. interests.
What provokes a particularly contemptuous laugh about the contention that the Iran deal kept a lid on bad behavior by the Iranians is that at the time, its supporters argued that other issues, such as terrorism and human rights abuses, would be dealt with on a separate track. After striking a deal with Iran in 2015, John Kerry declared at the outset: “First, what we are announcing today is an agreement addressing the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program — period — just the nuclear program.”
In other words, they said the two were unconnected when the deal was struck, and now they want us to believe that the collapse of the deal is what produced Iranian hostilities. The idea that the nuclear deal exclusively dealt with nuclear issues was, in any case, a myth. The reality was that the issues were treated separately when it came to the U.S. restricting bad Iranian behavior, but they were not dealt with separately when it came to numerous concessions that enabled bad Iranian behavior. As a result of the deal, Iran received hundreds of billions of dollars of sanctions relief, which Kerry himself conceded might be used to finance terrorism.
The Iran deal was not disastrous merely because Obama accepted a ludicrously weak inspections protocol, although he did. It was awful because, even if the deal were followed to the letter, it still enabled the regime to become a more powerful conventional threat by providing the mullahs with the money to pursue terrorism and the freedom to develop ballistic missiles. Furthermore, restrictions imposed by the deal would have started to sunset after 10 years, meaning the terror state still maintained its long-term ability to develop nuclear weapons.
The Obama administration and its allies ignored bad Iranian behavior to secure the nuclear deal and then downplayed subsequent Iranian bad behavior to defend the deal. Now, they’re attempting to blame Trump for bad Iranian behavior to distract people from recognizing the failed legacy of the deal.
“Soleimani has been called a monster. And he was a monster. And he’s no longer a monster. He’s dead.” pic.twitter.com/k4ImZlrmD4
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) January 7, 2020
Iran’s propaganda trumpets are presenting Qasem Soleimani as a Shiite version of a saint whose martyrdom deserves religious glorification.
Soleimani trained, armed, and provided funds to terror organizations and used Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and Hizbullah instructors, as Iran’s national security policy sought to distance the frontlines from Iran’s own borders.
At the same time, Iran strove to place the jihadi front as close as possible to Israel’s borders on the Golan Heights, Lebanon, and Gaza, and close to its rival, Saudi Arabia (by aiding the Houthis in Yemen), and to Shiite areas ruled by Sunnis (such as Bahrain).
Soleimani helped save the Assad regime in Syria by establishing a “Shiite foreign legion” of more than 100,000 Afghani, Pakistani, Iraqi, and Lebanese Hizbullah fighters. The price to Hizbullah for Iran’s success in Syria was more than 2,000 Hizbullah fighters killed and 8,000 wounded.
In 2016, when Mustafa Badreddine, the commander of Hizbullah forces in Syria, objected to the overuse of Hizbullah fighters in Syrian battles under Iranian command, Soleimani personally murdered Badreddine near the Damascus airport, according to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.
Soleimani’s instructing militias to invade the American Embassy compound in Baghdad was an arrogant move that did not take into account the American national trauma of the 2012 invasion of the American Embassy in Benghazi (and the murder of four Americans), as well as the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran.
It is clear to the Iranians that the United States could, if it chooses, threaten key regime assets and even the regime itself. Therefore, the Iranian regime will probably not hurry to respond in a way that could bring the unprecedented destruction of its energy infrastructure and endanger the regime.
The European Union said Wednesday it “will spare no efforts” in its attempts to keep alive an international deal preventing Iran from developing atomic weapons.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said her foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell will continue to work “in the midterm” to reach out to all participants in the global deal in the hopes that the 2015 nuclear agreement can still be saved despite a rollback on commitments from Tehran.
Von der Leyen also reiterated the need to de-escalate the tension in the region, especially after Iran’s missile attack on two American bases in response to a US strike that killed one of its top generals, Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
“The use of weapons must stop now to give space for dialogue,” she said. “We are called upon to do everything possible to rekindle talks. There cannot be enough of that.”
Speaking alongside von der Leyen, Borrell urged all parties involved in the growing tensions to eschew more military action.
It was instructive that in the heated debate on these matters over the last few days in the Council of Representatives in Baghdad, only three Sunnis and no Kurds participated. If Iraqi politics are resectarianised, it will be a disaster for Iraq but also for Iran. And if the US puts Iraq under financial sanctions as a result, the flow of dollars – on which Iran increasingly relies – will dry up again.
So the regime in Tehran, like everyone else, faces a moment of choice. Whatever else might be said about it, one decisive effect of the assassination is that it has served to clarify the options before us. And that sort of clarity is what we need in Britain.
For the last decade or more we have effectively subcontracted our foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa to the UN and the EU, hiding behind UN special missions or empty EU policy pronouncements.
But when the rubber hits the road, as we have seen repeatedly in Libya, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, the only things that matter are expertise, influence and power. We used to be good at all three. Now we’re not.
We need urgently to rebuild. And when we do, we need to choose sides.
If the point of foreign policy is to shape the world, then we need to be in the room when that happens. And unless we think our future is with China or Russia, that room is going to be American for the foreseeable future.
US President Donald Trump insisted “All is well!” on Tuesday after Iran fired over a dozen surface-to-surface missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops. He promised to make a statement to the nation Wednesday morning about the increasingly precarious situation with Iran.
Trump offered no immediate indication of whether he would retaliate, and stayed out of sight Tuesday night as news of the missile strikes emerged.
But he tweeted that an assessment of casualties and damages was under way. The initial outlook, he said, was “So far, so good!”
Hours after Trump’s statement, an Iranian regime-run media outlet made an uncorroborated claim that more than 80 Americans were killed in the strike.
The Iranian missiles came in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Trump and his advisers are under pressure to disclose more details about the intelligence that led to the US strike.
Iran attempted to launch 15 ballistic missiles into Iraq:
•10 hit Al-Asad Air Base
•1 hit Erbil
Source: U.S. military spokesman
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) January 8, 2020
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Our Missile Attacks Were a “Slap” to the Americans; America’s Corrupting Presence in the Region Must Come to an End pic.twitter.com/Etofze6ldK
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 8, 2020
Iran has concluded its “self-defense” response following Soleimani’s killing; does not want further escalation. Now is the time for the US and its allies to step up pressure against Iran, which is on the ropes. https://t.co/Sa5sUcb00Q
— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ ⋁ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) January 8, 2020
US President Donald Trump addresses the public on Wednesday after Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles and targeted US bases in Iraq on Tuesday night.
The president said that the time has come for the UK, Germany, France and Russia to unite to stop Iran and to work towards a better deal with the country. Trump added that Iran will not be allowed to go forward. “I will ask NATO to be more involved in the Middle East peace process.”
Iran is believed to have deliberately sought to avoid US military casualties in missile strikes on bases housing American troops in Iraq launched in retaliation for the US killing of an Iranian general, according to US and European government sources familiar with intelligence assessments.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday the Iranians were thought to have targeted the attacks to miss US forces to prevent the crisis from escalating out of control while still sending a message of Iranian resolve. A source in Washington said overnight that early indications were of no US casualties, while other US officials declined comment.
“Under Obama as you know the policy was appeasement…the policy was to give over $100 billion to Iran… the missiles that we saw fired on U.S. servicemen and women tonight were paid for by the billions that the Obama administration flooded the Ayatollah with.” — Sen. @tedcruz pic.twitter.com/SNCcZw0KzZ
— ForAmerica (@ForAmerica) January 8, 2020
The US defence contractor whose death set off a spiralling confrontation between Washington and Tehran has been named as 33-year old Nawres Hamid. He was born in Iraq and worked as a translator with US forces. His sons are 2 and 8. https://t.co/h04GeCDtuM
— Louisa Loveluck (@leloveluck) January 8, 2020
Hezbollah will attack Israel if the United States responds to missile attacks carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Tuesday night, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency.
“We in no way consider the Zionist regime (of Israel) to be separate from the criminal US regime in these crimes,” the IRGC warned in a statement.
“We warn the Great Satan, the bloodthirsty and arrogant regime of the US, that any new wicked act or further aggression (against Iran) will bring about more painful and crushing responses,” the group stressed.
The IRGC warned on their Telegram channel that they would attack Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Haifa in Israel if Iranian soil is targeted, according to CNN.
The French foreign ministry advised French citizens in Haifa to exercise caution following the threat, Reuters has reported. “Following the recent escalation in tensions in the region, the city of Haifa has been the subject of explicit threats,” it said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday warned Iran against attacking Israel in response to the American killing last week of senior military commander Qassem Soleimani.
“We’re standing steadfast against those who seek our lives. We’re standing with determination and with force. Whoever tries to attack us will receive a crushing blow in return,” he declared at a conference in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu was speaking after Iran fired over a dozen missiles at US bases in Iraq. Iran claimed 80 US troops were killed in the strikes, and warned that it could strike next at Israel; the US said there were no casualties. “Iran is warning that if there is retaliation for the two waves of attacks they launched their third wave will destroy Dubai and Haifa,” Ali Arouzi, NBC’s Tehran correspondent, reported on Twitter, where he was relaying official comments from Iran’s state media.
“Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the death of countless innocent people,” Netanyahu said. “He destabilized many countries. For decades, he sowed fear and misery and anguish. And he was planning much worse.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration would not hesitate to conduct further military strikes against Iran following the killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.
Speaking before reporters on Tuesday, the nation’s top diplomat warned Tehran that if it “makes another bad choice,” President Donald Trump is prepared to approve further military actions like the drone strike in Iraq that took out Soleimani.
“We got it right,” Pompeo said of the intelligence factors that prompted the administration to move against Iran’s top general last week. “It was the right decision.”
As Iran plots retaliatory attacks, including ones that could take place within the United States, the administration will take decisive action to protect American citizens and its regional assets.
“I think the president’s been unambiguous in his—both the remarks he made down in Florida as well as the tweets that he’s put out—about the seriousness with which we take this, the risk attendant that we are deeply aware of, and the preparations we’ve made to prevent those risks.”
“In the event the Iranians make another bad choice, [the] president will respond in a way that he did last week, which was decisive, serious, and messaged Iran about the constraints that we are going to place on that regime so that it doesn’t continue to put American lives at risk,” Pompeo said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said the United States has no intention of harming Persian culture—unlike the regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.
MSNBC anchor and foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell asked Pompeo at a press conference whether he would advise President Donald Trump against targeting cultural sites in Iran, but Pompeo flipped the question around.
“Let me tell you who has done damage to the Persian culture—it is not the United States of America, it is the ayatollah,” Pompeo said.
Mitchell said she was “wondering” whether Pompeo would advise against targeting cultural sites, but Pompeo responded that he had been unambiguous in his prior statements, saying Mitchell was “not really wondering.” Mitchell read a tweet from Trump in which he decried the ways Iran has violated international law. The tweet also said Iranian leaders should not be able to dictate the rules of engagement.
Trump said the military has a list of 52 targets in Iran, adding that the sites have strategic and cultural significance. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif responded on Twitter with a series of tweets saying Trump would commit war crimes by bombing cultural sites, but Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have stated that any military action against Iran would be lawful.
Pompeo advocated greater religious freedom for Iranians and the preservation of Persian culture.
“Persian culture’s rich and steeped in history and intellect, and [the ayatollahs] have denied the capacity for that culture to continue,” Pompeo said. He said the clerics have not allowed Iranian citizens to celebrate Persian holidays.
After years of suffering under Soleimani’s brutality, Syrians are finally free to celebrate his demise thanks to @realDonaldTrump’s decisive action. Syrian streets are ringing with shouts of “Soleimani’s gone” and filled with festive sweets. https://t.co/9N3drsWGza https://t.co/aU4tzU2jWh
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 7, 2020
Now that Iran has backed out of the catastrophic Obama nuclear deal, there are no more pretenses of compliance. The U.S. should once and for all end all civil-nuclear waivers, which Iran has long exploited. Read my statement with @SenTedCruz & @GrahamBlog: https://t.co/sHjQjztfw7
— Rep. Liz Cheney (@RepLizCheney) January 7, 2020
Flashback July 2015: Obama admin confirms terms of nuclear deal, which incl lifting UN sanctions vs. Soleimani.
Then they reveal that was plan all along.
“State Dept official… said terms for Soleimani agreed upon in Nov 2013 & conceded it was necessary to bring Iran to table” pic.twitter.com/hfsM6qOYlN
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) January 7, 2020
Iran is refusing to hand over for analysis the black boxes from a Ukrainian airliner that crashed near Tehran to the plane’s manufacturer Boeing, Iranian media said Wednesday.
The crash, whose cause is still unclear, came shortly after an Iranian missile barrage on US forces in Iraq.
“We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans,” Iran Civil Aviation Organization head Ali Abedzadeh was quoted by the Mehr News Agency as saying.
The Boeing 737 plane took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport at 6:10 a.m., climbed to 2,400 meters (7,900 feet), then disappeared from the radars and slammed into a field at Khalaj Abad, about 45 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Tehran.
There were no survivors among the 176 crew and passengers, who were mostly Iranian and Canadian nationals, according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry.
Search and rescue teams found the black boxes on Wednesday morning.
Canada’s foreign minister said Wednesday he’s been in touch with the government of Ukraine upon learning that 63 Canadians died in a Ukrainian passenger jet, just minutes after taking off from Iran’s capital.
Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne called it tragic news and said Wednesday that Canada’s “hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians.” He vowed to keep Canadians informed as the situation evolves.
The crash of the Ukraine International Airlines plane came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing US soldiers, but Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the 3½-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Ukrainian officials initially agreed, but later backed away and declined to offer a cause while the investigation is ongoing.
Iran is refusing to hand over for analysis the black boxes from the plane to Boeing, according to Iranian media.
Ukraine International Airlines noted the plane was relatively new, in good condition, and had an experienced crew.
The plane carried 167 passengers and nine crew members from different nations. No one on board survived.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke Wednesday morning following the Iranian missile attack on Iraqi military bases where US forces are located.
The attack comes in response to the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.
Khamenei said the attack on the bases was successful, and that “Iran is a peaceful country that does not seek escalation with any other nation. We are prepared to deal with the bullies of the world.”
The IRGC launched a rocket attack Tuesday night on two US Army bases in Iraq, including the Air Force’s Ain Al-Assad military base. Iran has claimed that the attack was revenge for the US assassination of Soleimani, who was assassinated five days ago at Baghdad airport.
Muslim countries should unite to protect themselves against external threats, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday after describing the U.S. killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani as immoral.
The world’s oldest premier, who has in recent months stoked diplomatic tensions by speaking out on issues concerning the Muslim world, also said the U.S. drone attack on Soleimani was against international laws.
Soleimani’s killing in Baghdad last Friday has sparked fears of a broader conflict in the Middle East. Mahathir, 94, said it could also lead to an escalation in “what is called terrorism”.
“The time is right for Muslim countries to come together,” Mahathir told reporters.
“We are no longer safe now. If anybody insults or says something that somebody doesn’t like, it is all right for that person from another country to send a drone and perhaps have a shot at me.”
The New York Times would like you to know that General Soleimani – always and repeatedly “General” Soleimani – was the “universally admired” “master of Iran’s intrigue and force,” & that he made children feel safe in their beds & their love for him in return was in no way coerced pic.twitter.com/bTCqSQjjL6
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) January 7, 2020
AHMED: ?@POTUS? order for the #SoleimaniAssassination is WRONGLY portrayed as ‘ impulsive’ rather it was a deeply considered decision built over time and a service to humanity #Iran cc ?@FoxNews? pic.twitter.com/DzK14v2ZIK
— Qanta Ahmed (@MissDiagnosis) January 7, 2020
AHMED: LAUGHABLE Iran FM ?@JZarif? claims #Iran acts in bounds of international law given Irans 40 year history of #ISLAMIST terrorism & hybrid warfare AS IRANIAN MISSILES TARGET US MILITARY IN ‘SOVEREIGN’ #IRAQ #SoleimaniAssasination ?@IWF? ?@OutnumberedOT? pic.twitter.com/0uWu0d2DRi
— Qanta Ahmed (@MissDiagnosis) January 8, 2020
The last Shah of Iran, ousted by revolution in 1979, often warned of “the accursed alliance of the red and the black” that threatened his country. By this he meant the union between the radical left and Islamist reactionaries, two ideological camps that, in theory, should have little common ground.
My family, which had leftist leanings and opposed the monarchy, left Iran when I was young. I have never had a taste for monarchy, either in my native Iran nor my adopted country of Canada, and am not usually fond of quoting the Shah, a monarch who ruled Iran as an imperial state. But in recent days, as I’ve observed reactions to the assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leader Qassem Soleimani, I must admit that, when it came to red and black, the Shah was quite astute. And it will be interesting to see which side Western leftists support now that there is a real threat of regional war.
Soleimani was killed in Baghdad by a U.S. drone strike on January 3. Since the Iranian Revolution, he had served in various military roles, ending with a nearly two-decade tenure as top commander of Iran’s Quds force, a sub-unit of the IRGC specializing in extra-territorial and “unconventional” warfare. As commander, Soleimani was directly or indirectly responsible for a wide range of brutalities, including the provision of support to Syrian leader Bashar Assad during that country’s ongoing civil war—which, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, has killed nearly 600,000 people. The Iranian dictatorship was never put out by the body count, because it operated on the stated premise that, as one Iranian cleric put it, “if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”
The enraged public reaction to the killing of Soleimani in Tehran, Beirut and Baghdad was predictable. What was more surprising—at least to those unschooled in that “accursed alliance”—was the manner by which many Western leftists repeated the Ayatollahs’ talking points.
Fresh from her junket to Iran, the national co-director of CodePink, “a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs,” called Soleimani a “national hero.” Rania Khalek, a Lebanese-American contributor to leftist publications such as The Nation, Salon and AlterNet, and herself a recent state-approved visitor to Assad’s Syria, equated the killing of Soleimani with “Iran taking out Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Captain America all in one.” Actress Rose McGowan, a voluble advocate for progressive causes, posted a bizarre tweet in which she apologized to Iran (whose pre-revolution flag she reproduced with emojis), and called the United States government “a terrorist regime.” Fellow actress Sharon Stone sent out a video of a massive funeral procession for Soleimani, along with the deadpan line “What do u think of this?” Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, an activist best known for kneeling during the U.S. national anthem in protest of police brutality, explained how such brutality was linked to American militarism, as they both are about the “sanction[ing] and besieg[ing of] Black and Brown bodies.”
A half-century of blaming America first https://t.co/ciytA4C9rx
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) January 8, 2020
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who angled to serve as a backchannel between Iran and President Donald Trump last year, said the demise of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani marked the “death of diplomacy with Iran.”
“It lessens the voices of anybody that wants moderation or diplomacy, and even the Iranians will not be able to approach us on diplomacy until there’s revenge, until there is adequate revenge to satiate the people who want some kind of revenge,” Paul told CNN on Monday. “This is sad. The death of Soleimani, I think, is the death of diplomacy with Iran. I don’t see an off-ramp. I don’t see a way out of this.”
Paul predicted “military escalation” from Iran in response, saying that Iranian attacks against Americans were more likely and further negotiations were less likely in the aftermath of Soleimani’s death.
Trump last week ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad, angering Iran and sparking calls for violent retaliation. The Trump administration said the strike was ordered to prevent planned attacks by Soleimani, the terrorist leader of Iran’s Quds Force.
Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) said Tuesday that President Donald Trump is getting close to launching an attack reminiscent of 9/11 on Iran, citing Trump’s threat to retaliate for any further Iranian attacks.
“When al Qaeda attacked us on September 11, 2001, which targets did they select?” Markey said during a speech on the Senate floor. “They selected the World Trade Center, the symbol of capitalism in the United States. They selected the Pentagon, the symbol of our defense.”
In Markey’s view, Congress must support his resolution opposing the targeting of cultural sites because Iran may imitate “our reaction” to being attacked on 9/11.
“We have a choice to make right now out here on the floor of the United States Senate,” he said. “And that is to make a statement before we do that to the Iranians, because we ourselves experienced it, and we know what our reaction was.”
“They will rise up in a way that will make it impossible to reconcile. We will be in eternal war in the Middle East.”
Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Tuesday admitted Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was a terrorist after refusing to condemn the terror master in prior interviews.
“So he’s not a terrorist?” ABC’s The View host Meghan McCain asked.
“Of course he is,” Warren said. “He’s part of a group that our federal government has designated as a terrorist.”
McCain initially asked Warren why it was difficult for her to call Soleimani a terrorist. The senator evaded McCain’s question several times before calling Soleimani a terrorist.
During the election, Guido speculated on which terrorist friend Corbyn would invite to Downing Street first if he were elected in December. Luckily we will now never find out…
Corbyn has now unveiled his latest shocking foreign policy opinion in refusing to call Soleimani a terrorist – a man responsible for the deaths of thousands of Middle Easterners and Western forces; and something even Democrats like Elizabeth Warren have agreed with wholeheartedly. Is it any wonder Boris has refused to personally brief Jezza on Privy council terms? Every day we must be thankful he never got into power
President Trump’s decision to kill Qassem Soleimani is offering The New York Times an opportunity to put all its worst habits on display — and the newspaper’s many critics are having a field day pointing out the problems in the paper’s coverage.
Israel’s former ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, took issue with an op-ed piece the Times published. Oren tweeted: “NY Times columnist Slavin claims ‘Soleimani’s killing will unleash chaos.’ Meaning the massacre of 500,000 Syrians, the creation of millions of refugees, the supply of tens of thousands of rockets to Hezbollah and Hamas, and the backing of world terror was stability?”
An editor at The Wall Street Journal, James Taranto, pointed out an early version of a New York Times news article that described Mark Dubowitz as “chief executive of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank that supports a hard line against Iran.” Taranto tweeted, “they trot out ‘hawkish,’ ‘conservative’ AND ‘hard line,’ all in one sentence!” Taranto also noted that the Times quoted Robert Malley, a former Obama administration official, “without any ideological label.”
The Daily Wire, a site operated by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, compared a New York Times tweet about Soleimani, who the Times called “Iran’s master of intrigue and force” with a New York Times tweet about a football coach. That tweet noted that the football coach had been fined for barring a female reporter from a locker room. “Say what you will about Soleimani, but at least he never kept a female reporter out of a male locker room,” The Daily Wire drily observed.
Noah Pollak, a contributor to the Washington Free Beacon, cited a New York Times tweet that quoted an Iranian student saying, “Knowing General Soleimani was out there made me feel safer.” Pollak tweeted, “NYT is trying to turn a mass-murdering terrorist whose forces ethnically cleansed the Middle East into a provider of safe spaces. Mind-boggling.”
NBC News Tehran bureau chief Ali Arouzi relayed an Iranian state media report indicating that Iranian rocket attacks had killed 30 American soldiers—a report that was not confirmed and proved erroneous.
“The IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] was saying that Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of this country, was in the control center coordinating these attacks,” he told anchor Chris Matthews during a broadcast of Hardball on MSNBC. “This bit I’m not sure about but Iran state media says 30 U.S. soldiers have been killed in this attack.
“This is not confirmed, it’s just coming from Iranian media.”
He also said that Iran and the United States have “entered a very unpredictable time.”
Iran launched a missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq Tuesday night. The U.S. military said Tehran fired more than 12 ballistic missiles targeting at least two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. troops.
MSNBC is cheering for a terrorist nation that is attacking American soldiers https://t.co/yvgKRaFYUO
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 8, 2020
CNN on Monday conducted a lengthy interview with an Iranian government official who once served as the spokeswoman for a group of students who held 52 American diplomats hostage for more than a year in 1979.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour did little to push back on Iranian official Massoumeh Ebtekar’s assertions that the U.S. carried out a “terrorist” action by killing Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian general killed in a U.S. airstrike Jan. 2.
Amanpour also failed to acknowledge that Ebtekar was chief spokeswoman for a group of Iranian students who held 52 American diplomats hostage at the U.S. embassy in Iran for 444 days, from 1979 to 1981.
Ebtekar said in an interview in 1979 during the hostage crisis that she would personally be willing to put a gun to one of the hostages’ heads and pull the trigger. (RELATED: Trump Ordered Airstrike That Took Out Iranian General Qasem Soleimani)
Ebtekar, 59, serves as vice president of Iran for women and family affairs.
“The American president made a serious miscalculation, they made a serious mistake by assassinating, by taking this terrorist action, against Commander Soleimani, and I’m sure that they regret what they have done,” she said in her interview with Amanpour.
Question from reporter in Iran in 1979: “Could you really do that? Could you personally lift up a gun and put it to the head of one of these people and kill him?”
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) January 7, 2020
The New York Times caught heat on Tuesday after posting its sanitized obituary for terrorist Iranian general Qassem Soleimani — especially in comparison to an obituary the news outlet recently posted for a football coach who kept a female reporter out of the men’s locker room.
Blurbing the obituary for Soleimani on Tuesday, the Times simply captioned and headlined the obit: “Qassim Suleimani, Master of Iran’s Intrigue and Force, Dies at 62.”
By comparison, when the Times posted an obituary for former NFL coach Sam Wyche, the publication felt it necessary to highlight Wyche “barring a female reporter from the team’s locker room.”
“Sam Wyche, who was the last coach to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl, but who was later fined by the National Football League for barring a female reporter from the team’s locker room, has died,” said the caption of the obituary, which was first published on Friday.
Six hours apart. pic.twitter.com/rLgIGgPmtv
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) January 7, 2020
The January 3, 2020 killing by the U.S. of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani prompted responses from white supremacist groups and individuals, who regularly comment on global issues. There have been two main types of response: mourning for an anti-U.S. and anti-Zionist figure, and support for or indifference to his killing since he was a) responsible for the deaths of U.S. soldiers and civilians, and b) a Muslim in a region far from the U.S. Also expressed was criticism of the U.S. government for the attack, on the grounds that it is fighting Israel’s battles.
The following is a review of reactions on white supremacist platforms and social media accounts:
Support For Soleimani
On January 5, the official Telegram channel of a white nationalist para-military organization posted an image of Soleimani with a message of support reading: “[we] would like to express our condolences to the Islamic Republic of Iran for the loss of the great Major General Qasem Soleimani.”
On January 5, a white supremacist Telegram channel shared a pro-Soleimani post that was translated from the original Ukrainian and posted other white supremacist and neo-Nazi channels. The post states that the Jews had used the U.S. government and its Trump-administration puppets to kill Soleimani; it included his image and a list of his accomplishments:
Organized 120 direct terrorist attacks on Jews.
Commanded Hezbollah in a victorious war with Israel.
He commanded the Iraqi militia in the battles against ISIL and Al-Nusra.
Suleimani’s quote about the Third Reich: “it was the last battle of the anti-Zionists of the West”
Collaborated with Hamas, Hezbollah, Europe’s Right.
Quote about migrants flooding the Europe: “Untermensch, human dirt”
Has organized several terrorist attacks on Americans in the Middle East.”
The post also includes a quote attributed to Soleimani:
“The battlefield is a paradise lost to mankind, where morality and true human behavior are visible in their highest manifestation. Usually people’s view of paradise is a breathtaking colorful landscape, creaking murmurs, beautiful women. But there is another kind of paradise – it’s a battlefield”
Syrian Opposition TV Criticizes Al-Jazeera’s Coverage of Soleimani for Echoing Iranian Narrative
On January 6, 2020, Orient TV (Syrian opposition) aired a report that criticized Al-Jazeera TV’s coverage of the killing of Qasem Soleimani. The reporter said that the killing of Soleimani was the “last nail in the coffin[s]” of Al-Jazeera TV and other hypocrite media outlets and that Al-Jazeera has echoed the official Iranian narrative so much that watching it has become similar to watching pro-Iranian media outlets such as Al-Manar TV (Lebanon) or Mayadeen TV (Lebanon). She said that the difference between Al-Jazeera and these channels is that Al-Jazeera does not receive funding from Iran, but that Al-Jazeera is still aligning itself politically with Iran. The reporter went on to criticize Al-Jazeera for only reporting on the funeral held in Iraq for Soleimani and not on Iraqi celebrations of his death. She said: “How could Al-Jazeera report on the joy of those Iraqis when it has been silent [about] the massacres perpetrated against them by Iran’s militias?” In addition, the reporter said that many of Al-Jazeera’s journalists have defended Qasem Soleimani on their personal social media accounts.
One of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen on this website. This guy used child soldiers and hangs homosexuals. pic.twitter.com/g6l2z3as2G
— neontaster (@neontaster) January 7, 2020
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