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Old 01-03-2020, 07:45 AM
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Exclamation The trump administration just killed iran’s most famous military commander. We’re not

By: Murtaza Hussian - The Intercept - 01-03-20 8:26 a.m.

UNTIL HIS DEATH last night in an airstrike near Baghdad International Airport, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was the United States’s most formidable adversary in the Middle East. As commander of the Quds Force, the external operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Suleimani fought a decadelong proxy war against the U.S. and its allies across Iraq and the region. It was a conflict in which the Iranian side has largely come out on top, as their own leaked internal documents have shown.

The reported airstrike last night has taken this bitter conflict to an altogether new level. The killing of Suleimani, along with several other top Iraqi Shia militia leaders, is the single most significant lethal operation since the joint U.S.-Israeli assassination of Lebanese Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in 2008.

It is also perhaps the most reckless foreign policy action by President Donald Trump since he took office. Unlike Mughniyeh or other nonstate militants that the United States has killed over the years, Suleimani was a ranking official of a foreign government. He was a popular figure among Iranian nationalists whose reputation as a battlefield commander in Iraq and Syria had been publicly promoted by a regime looking to boost its flagging domestic popularity. His killing seems to mark the beginning of direct hostilities between the United States and Iran, with top officials apparently not off-limits for violence. Late last night, the Department of Defense issued a statement claiming responsibility for Suleimani’s killing, saying that he and the Quds Force were “responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

Although that claim is doubtless true, the statement did not indicate what the United States or its allies expect will occur in the wake of this extreme step. Despite their differences with Iran, neither the Obama nor the George W. Bush administrations thought it wise to kill Iran’s best-known military commander.

“This seems like a very shortsighted decision. I can’t imagine that much thought went into it besides the perception that killing Suleimani would look like a big victory,” said Dina Esfandiary, an expert on Iran at the Century Foundation. “The Iranians will definitely respond, but not in a way that triggers an all-out war, which they know they would lose.”

Based on past precedent, any Iranian response is likely to be asymmetric and carried out by proxy groups, and may also include physical or cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. To a degree not seen in years, U.S. personnel in Iraq may now also be at risk. In the past, directly targeting U.S. troops in the country was seen as taboo given the longstanding Iranian goal of preventing escalation that could lead to all-out war. But with the conflict suddenly turning into a hot war with the top-ranking Iranian as a target, that may well change. The consequences could be painful for both sides.

The killing of Suleimani is in many ways a watershed moment in a policy of confrontation with Iran that Trump has pursued since taking office. The relationship between the United States and Iran reached a relative high point following the signing of an Obama-era agreement over Iran’s nuclear program in 2015. From the beginning, that agreement had been opposed by hawks who recoiled against any compromise with Iran and pushed for the most aggressive stance possible. Trump’s decision to revoke U.S. participation in the nuclear deal after taking office helped set off the chain of events that has brought the two countries closer to full-blown war than at any time since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Suleimani’s killing has also likely eliminated the possibility of a future U.S. president reentering the nuclear agreement should Trump lose the 2020 election.

“The strike is bad news, as it takes off the table any prospect of future dialogue between Iran and the United States,” Esfandiary says. “Suleimani was a popular figure inside Iran and even many Iranians who are against the government are likely to be outraged about the targeting of a high-ranking official of their country. No Iranian leader will be able to spare the political capital to engage with the U.S., at least for the foreseeable future.”

The killing of Suleimani is the latest and most significant event in an intensifying U.S.-Iran conflict inside Iraq. In response to shelling by Iranian militias that killed an American contractor and several Iraqis, the U.S. carried out an airstrike earlier this week that killed dozens of Shia militia members tied to Iran. Days later, members of that same militia stormed the U.S. embassy, smashing windows and forcing diplomatic staff to barricade themselves inside for safety. That brief siege ended without any casualties.

To be clear, Suleimani was a military commander who had spent almost his entire life at war. He was no stranger to violence and in all likelihood envisioned such a death for himself. In secret cables, Iranian intelligence officers lamented the brutal and sectarian manner in which he had waged the war against ISIS in Iraq. In April, the Trump administration took the unusual step of designating the Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization. But the decision to kill such a powerful individual without any apparent idea of what comes next is chillingly reckless. What happens in the coming weeks and months is still a matter of speculation. But it is safe to say that if, as likely, bloodshed in the region immediately escalates, Iraqi civilians will pay the highest price.

“From the Iranian side, there will obviously be anger and a desire to retaliate,” said Thomas Warrick, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “It is safe to assume that the Iranians or any militias in Iraq that they support had plans they were prepared to execute if an attack like this occurred. It’s clear that this is not going to be over tonight.”


Personal note: Trump's timing or authorizing of knocking off this guy - was to deter the ongoing impeachment issues currently in the news. He wanted to deflect all this daily negative noise and turn the public's mindset - to one of - Look What I Just Did! - I authorized killing our No. 1 enemy in the Middle East.

Well that's all good for sure - but the issue is he's using this bush-whacking of this bad guy - into something positive for his personal Presidential image. Which in turn - to deter the ongoing media - into something - other than his impeachment. He's no dummy this was an opportunity (regardless of the cost) he just couldn't turn down - this action would deflect the media - over to a new daily subject.

I know Trump has his supporters - and this guy he knocked off was a bad guy. But to use his death now - as an opportunity - now at this time - makes him think it could result in something positive (that he authorized) - and would be a worm turner in the daily news.

But the reality is - he has just inflamed the bad guys into more bad guys - and this in turn puts our Foreign Official's & Troops on the ground - in major jeopardy. I'm not saying they couldn't hold them off - but I don't think he gave much thought (or was given) as to sudden hostility - and the ramifications that would result all around their nation and to other's who are sympathetic to their cause.

Trump is not a soldier - never was - never would be. He's a gamer he bets on his own terms only - and doesn't abide by "any" rules - other than his own. He knows very little about Military Leadership and Battle Field Command. He listens to no one. He made the call - he now he has live with the ramifications and feed back from the field. Once more we can say: "he's not there" (our guys and gals are) and I seriously doubt they were prepared for this assassination (which will turn into an uprising - of which - we may (or may not) really be ready for.

All I can add is that God be with them all at this time.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Old 01-03-2020, 08:11 AM
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Post Iranians demonstrate in support of slain military commander

Iranians demonstrate in support of slain military commander
By: Erin Cunningham - Washington Post - Jan. 3, 2020 at 9:25 a.m. CST

ISTANBUL — Tens of thousands of Iranians demonstrated Friday in the capital, Tehran, and other cities in support of a senior Revolutionary Guard Corps commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, even as many privately expressed worry about the escalating conflict with the United States.

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force and Iran’s most powerful military leader, was targeted by U.S. aircraft early Friday as he traveled in a two-car convoy with senior Iraqi militia leaders near the Baghdad airport.

U.S. officials had accused Soleimani of orchestrating a series of rocket attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, including a strike last month that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded several American troops.

Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, vowed Friday to avenge the killing, calling it a “grave miscalculation” and a “heinous crime.”

The targeted killing of Soleimani has “caused great grief and sorrow” and has “doubled the resolve of the great Iranian nation . . . to stand up against the United States,” President Hassan Rouhani said.

“This cowardly and vicious act is another sign of the United States’ frustration and helplessness in the region,” he said. “Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.”

In Kerman in southeastern Iran, where Soleimani was born, a massive procession of black-clad mourners filled the streets and chanted religious slogans, according to footage broadcast on Iranian news channels.

In Tehran, demonstrators called on the Quds Force to take revenge.

“Soleimani’s blood spilled, the nation’s outrage against the enemy sparked!” the protesters chanted in a video broadcast by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

A senior Shiite cleric, Ahmad Khatami, said the commander’s death was “a cause for Muslims to be more united than ever.”

A Revolutionary Guard spokesman, Ramadan Sharif, said the force would be “starting a new chapter” following the deadly U.S. strike.

As he spoke to a reporter from Iranian state television, Sharif broke down in tears.

“The momentary happiness experienced by the Americans will soon turn into mourning,” he said.

But across Iran, residents expressed worry over the potential fallout from the strike, which threatened to plunge Tehran and the United States in a full-blown conflict. Tensions between the two nations have soared since President Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal that Iran struck with world powers, an agreement that curbed Tehran’s atomic energy activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

“My family is concerned and sad. Soleimani had many fans in Iran, not only among the supporters of the Islamic Republic,” said Maryam, 35, a resident of Tehran. Like other Iranians contacted Friday, she declined to give her full name so she could speak freely about the death of a senior military commander.

“There were people who were attracted to his charisma and considered him to be more clean than other Iranian officials,” she said. “There are rallies in different cities now . . . and I think that there will be more.”

In a statement Friday, Khamenei announced the appointment of Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghani as the new Quds Force commander, saying that the organization’s strategy will remain the same. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Ghani in 2012 for what it said was his role in distributing weapons and funds to Iranian allies in the region.

Soleimani, 62, oversaw the proliferation of allied proxy forces across the Middle East, including in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. He was often seen on the battlefield in both Iraq and Syria as he directed Iranian-backed Shiite militias in their fight against the Islamic State, and his military success against the Sunni militants made him widely popular inside Iran.

“Everyone is worried. The people I spoke with weren’t sad but shocked,” said Nazli, 40, from the northern city of Rasht.

“On social media, some people I thought didn’t support the regime are now expressing sorrow for his death,” she said.

The Iranian Embassy in Iraq said Friday that Soleimani’s body would be carried in a procession to the two holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq before returning to Iran, according to the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency.

“There are three groups of people in Iran now: those who are happy, those who are worried about security and the economy . . . and those who are sad,” said Davoud, a resident of the city of Mashhad.

He said some residents are scrambling to buy U.S. dollars and gold to stave off further economic repercussions. Iran’s economy has been battered by a near-total U.S. embargo that has targeted everything from oil exports to banking transactions and the Iranian aviation and automotive sectors.

In November, protests gripped Iranian cities following a government decision to reduce fuel subsidies for consumers. Authorities cracked down hard on demonstrators, killing at least 200 people, according to rights group Amnesty International.

Davoud said that before the unrest, Iranians likely would have turned out in much larger numbers to support the government in the event of a U.S. strike.

“But now, they don’t have the support of the people to be able to mobilize them,” he said of Iran’s leaders.

About this writer: Erin Cunningham is an Istanbul-based correspondent for The Washington Post, covering conflict and political turmoil across the Middle East. She previously was a correspondent at the paper's bureau in Cairo, and has reported on wars in Afghanistan, Gaza, Libya and Iraq


Personal note: It's ain't over yet - its far from being resolved. They just re-lit another candle and someone else will step up and use this assassination as a tool to stir up the hatred of the United States throughout the Muslim states. And to all those sympathetic to their cause. One goes down another steps up. Plenty of bad guys so the games still afoot! It won't end pretty.

Note: Lock & Load and Be Safe our Prayer's are with you all.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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