The US government claims to have killed Iranian General Soleimani primarily in order to prevent “imminent” attacks that he was planning in Iraq. A brazen lie, as the Iraqi Prime Minister made clear yesterday. Rather, Soleimani was on his way to bilateral peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which the Iraqi government had mediated. The murder was an assassination plot on a diplomatic emissary, and at the same time Sabotage the regional peace process. Is it even worse?
The information that #Iran Qassem Soleimani had an appointment with the PM in Baghdad and came to #Iraq to meet him the next day with established appointment, following a request of Trump for mediation, has been read to all MPs today by the #Iraq/i PM himself. pic.twitter.com/IoELuzm4ag— Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai) January 5, 2020
In a desperate attempt to justify the assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani by US drones, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the government had made an “intelligence assessment” that Soleimani was “actively working” in the Region to attack American interests before he was killed.
President Donald Trump explained his fateful decision to kill the Iranian General in even clearer language, stating that Soleimani was planning “imminent attacks” on U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel in the Middle East. “We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said. “We did nothing to start a war.”
Trump’s dubious rationale for an undeniable criminal assassination has been repeated in the major media.
At a press conference of the US State Department on January 3, at which reporters finally had the opportunity to demand proof of the claim of an “immediate” threat, a US official got a tantrum: “Jesus, do we have to explain why we do these things?”, he barked at the press.
“I was supposed to meet Soleimani at the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi to Iran” Iraqi PM said.— Mustafa Salim (@Mustafa_salimb) January 5, 2020
Just two days later, when Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi spoke before his country’s parliament, Trump’s justification for the assassination of Soleimani was exposed as a cynical lie. According to Abdul-Mahdi, he had planned to meet Soleimani on the morning of the general’s death to discuss a diplomatic rapprochement that Iraq mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
This is stunning - #Iraq prime minister tells parliament US troops should leave. Says @realDonaldTrump called him to ask him to mediate with #Iran and then ordered drone strike on Soleimani. Says Soleimani carrying response to Saudi initiative to defuse tension when he was hit.— jane arraf (@janearraf) January 5, 2020
Abdul-Mahdi said that while he was already planning the assassination, Trump personally thanked him for his efforts, giving the impression that the Iranian General could safely travel to Baghdad.
Soleimani had not arrived in Baghdad to plan attacks on American targets, but to co-ordinate the de-escalation with Saudi Arabia. He was actually killed on a peace mission that can create would have a political distance between the Gulf monarchy and members of the US-led Anti-Iran axis of Israel.
The catastrophic consequences of Soleimani’s murder are reminiscent of the assassination of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansur, a Taliban leader who wanted to negotiate a peaceful end to the US occupation of Afghanistan. Mansurs death destroyed eventually led to the hard-liners under the Taliban, who sought a total military victory over the United States instead of a negotiated solution, gained influence, this triggered an increase in violence across the country, and the hope that negotiations for a U.S. troop withdrawal.
After the assassination of Soleimani, the Iraqi parliament decided to expel all U.S. troops from the country, and the Iranian Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed “delicate revenge” on the “criminals who have stained their hands with the blood of Soleimani and the other martyrs.”
....targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
For his part, Trump tweeted a litany of gangster-like threats, announced he would destroy Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated, and threatened Iraq with sanctions “like never before” if U.S. troops were expelled.
President Trump said that if Iraq expels US troops from the country, he could impose sanctions "like they've never seen before" https://t.co/OW6ggEM7VB pic.twitter.com/RGkRk38EOT— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 6, 2020
Trump’s treacherous assassination has brought the US closer than ever to a war against a country that is more militarily powerful than any adversary it has faced since the Korean War. And as with the failed US Invasion of Iraq, Washington’s casus Belli for triggering this conflict was based on falsified information sold to Americans by government officials and on compliant capital media acting as a megaphone.
By claiming " imminent attacks, “the Trump administration has essentially reissued Condoleeza Rice’s 2003 warning:” we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.“At that time, the United States attacked a sovereign state to eliminate weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. This time, the second most important Iranian government employee was killed to prevent terrorist attacks that were never planned. And Trump administration officials knew only too well that they were lying.
In fact, Pompeo Trump already a few months ago proposed the assassination of Soleimani – long before attacks were “imminent.” Following the General’s murder, a US government official told The New York Times that the NSA had intercepted communications between Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and General Soleimani, according to which the Ayatollah had not yet approved the general’s plans for an attack.
But the striking evidence that Trump’s justification for killing Soleimani is a gigantic lie has not generated the same media interest as the lie itself.
On January 3, three CNN reporters spread the Trump administration’s disinformation about Soleimani, claiming without a trace of critical distance that he was planning “targeted attacks on U.S. interests, including U.S. personnel.”
Absolutely stunning to see three @CNN “reporters” uncritically pass on US intelligence and propaganda just two weeks after the release of the Afghanistan War’s Pentagon Papers that exposed year after year of bald-faced lies. Shameful - a sign of what’s to come from US media. https://t.co/skPZ9TVwd9— Play a song for me, Mr. Bob Dylan (@TimothyS) January 5, 2020
After the story was published, CNN’s chief reporter Jim Sciutto turned to another official US source to “confirm"his now discredited piece of war propaganda. According to Sciutto’s logic, it must be true if more than one U.S. official says anything.
NatSec Adviser O'Brien confirms our earlier reporting on a briefing call, saying Soleimani was planning attacks on American troops and diplomats in the region. https://t.co/C70hNiVzCY— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 3, 2020
Sciutto is not just any ordinary foreign policy Reporter. During the Obama Era, he accepted a position as chief of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and stood in the center of the gathering Cold war between Washington and China. Sciutto, who is now back at CNN’s News Desk, likes to pretend to be a ferocious critic of Trump and provides the Pentagon and State Department with reliable stenographic services.
No president in recent history has been so despised by the capital press corps as Trump. Almost everything he says is met with contempt and distrust, even if he is telling the truth.
But when Trump and his administration try to lure the public into war against a supposed villain, the spearhead of the media reacts with reflexive confidence and shrugs when the lie is revealed in broad daylight.
Putin was on a state visit to Saudi Arabia at the end of October and the red carpet was rolled out there. Russian television had reported extensively. But more interesting than the reports about Putin’s visit was an Interview that Putin gave to three Arab TV channels in advance of the visit. In the Interview, Putin was also asked about the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran and Putin announced that he wanted to mediate in the conflict. On a process of rapprochement between the countries Putin said then:
As far as Russia is concerned, we will do everything to create the necessary conditions for such a positive dynamic. I think that Russia has good relations with Iran and good relations with our Arab friends. ( … ) If we use our good relations, both with Iran, and with the Arab world, with Saudi Arabia, with the United Arab Emirates, I think we can find something that can be of common interest.
On November 4, less than two weeks later, the spokesman of the Iranian president announced that Iran had officially presented Saudi Arabia with the proposal to cooperate on regional security issues. The Russian news Agency TASS quoted the spokesman of the Iranian President as follows:
The Iranian president has sent a letter to the king of Saudi Arabia on regional security, peace and stability (…) US pressure should not divide the neighbors in the Region. ( … ) To achieve peace, we need collective cooperation
Not a word of it can be found in the German quality media. It seems that in October Putin initiated a dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which was conducted through secret diplomatic notes that passed through Baghdad. This is understandable, because Iraq has good relations with both neighbors. Iraq is created as a mediator.
The Saudi reactions to the attack also suggest this. Saudi Arabia has always been at the forefront when it comes to the total annihilation of Iran. Apparently, the American fascists like Pompeo have lost power in the Region, according to the official Saudi statement.
We are extremely interested that the Situation in the Region does not escalate further. Of course, now is a very dangerous Moment, so we must recognize all the risks and dangers, not only for the security of the Region, but on a global scale. We hope that all players will take the necessary steps to avoid further escalation or provocation.