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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Murder of Gen Soleimani: Beyond the fury of Iran

Murder of Gen Soleimani: Beyond the fury of Iran

Hezbollah, Soleimani, Nasrallah

Qasem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was killed in a US strike on Baghdad’s international airport. PHOTO: AFP
THE bumbling regime headed by Mr. Donald Trump has finally crossed the line by cold-bloodily assassinating a top actor of another state on the street.

Major General Qassem Solemaini is not a shadowy chief of a murderous extremist band or a boss of a violent drug cartel, not even a commander of a rebel army or a rogue general on the run. He was a charismatic general of an established and legally recognised institution of a formal state.

General Solemaini was the military commander of Iran’s elite Quds force or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the equivalent of US Special Forces or the marine. 

The General discretely arrived in the neighbouring Iraq, where Tehran has been playing vital role to stabilise the country after it was devastated by the United States, and was on a small convoy of cars from the airport, when the deadly drone attack was orchestrated, killing both General Soleimani and his Iraqi host, along with few others.

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Mr. Trump and his Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompei, gloated over the state-sponsored murder of a senior military official of another state. This is certainly crossing the line.

Assassinating foreign leaders through the complicity of intelligence agencies with local proxies are normal routine in the deadly game nations sometimes play, as in the overthrow of Chilean leader, Allende Salvador in 1973, or the 2011 assassination of the Libyan leader but there is not yet a case, until now, when a head of state ordered the killing of a key actor of another state in peace time, despite ideological or political disagreement.

Mr. Trump’s Washington has set a dangerous precedent that must not be allowed to stand, otherwise key state actors of other countries, be they military commanders, diplomats, ministers, heads of state think-tanks and banks, even scientists, could be framed for unproven terrorist acts and simply murdered by the accusing state.

The murder of General Solemani was cowardly and showed that Washington has long but unsuccessfully laboured to find local proxies and accomplices within the Iranian rank, and in desperation, chose the most cowardly way to murder a distinguished military commander.

Washington should have declared war against Iran and go ahead with some military dexterity to take out General Solemani in a battle, with his troops either decapitated or put in disarray. To take out a military leader on a routine state visit without troops or arms is an action that is beneath the famed prowess of the US military.

In remarks that should worry Americans about the intelligent quotients of those they have put in high offices, President Trump claimed that he ordered the killing of General Solemani to prevent war and not to start one. Mr. Pompeii, who issued advisory for Americans to leave Iraq immediately without even going to their embassy in Baghdad for consular help, claimed that the killing of General Solemani would make Americans safer in the region.

Iranian foreign minister, Mr. Zarif, was right on point when he called Mr. Pompeii, an arrogant clown masquerading as a diplomat when the US Secretary of State claimed that Iranians were dancing on the street, following the murder of Gen. Solemani.

Despite the small circle of his Republican party co-travellers, the vast majority of Americans, including key political figures, have expressed outrage and queried the wisdom in the murdering of a man, who would do more harm to America, while dead, than he would have done, when and if alive.

Even more serious and sober US administration has poor record of post-conflict peace building and reconciliation, which has left the US bogged down in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. A chaotic Trump’s regime characterised by internal purges and dissensions can hardly be expected to pick up the pieces from the fallout of Washington’s most heinous decision in a normally restive region.

Anyone who imagined that the killing of General Solemaini would have no consequences only had to take a look at the stock markets worldwide and how panic is driving them downwards even as oil prices take a leap upwards. And these are mere jitters to anticipate Iran’s fury. General Solemaini is a towering military figure in the Middle Eastern region.

At the peak of the power of the Islamic State, ISIS, when Washington and Gulf States in the region were treating the deadly extremist jihadists with kid gloves, General Solemaini orchestrated a hard and harsh military reprisals that put the delusional zealots in disarray, and restored the modicum of territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, two key states targeted by ISIS as the fountain head of their dream worldwide caliphate.

Despite the chaos in the neighbouring Afghanistan, General Solemaini ensured that the extremist Jihadist never get a foothold there. It is ironic that President Trump, who demonstrated absolute zero tolerance for the Islamic State, ISIS, could order the cowardly murder of the strategic arrow-head in the defeat and dismantling of Islamic State.

Many commentators, including respected Americans, are worried that as with Mr. Trump regime, the murdering of General Solemaini may not have been thought through.

Last year, Washington had one of its unmanned spy plane brought down by the Iranians and President Trump later said that he called off supposedly punitive military reprisals against Iranian targets after being advised that the cost of the attack would be nearly 200 dead. Later an Iranian oil tanker was seized in the coast of Gibraltar by British Special Forces ostensibly at the US prodding.

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Almost immediately, the Iranians retaliated by grabbing a British flagged ship in the strait of Hormuz but the tit-for-tat confrontation was resolved when both ships were released by their respective captors.

Though conflicts have continued to simmer between the two states, it has never been taken to the level of gruesome assassination of each other’s formal key state actors. That is why Mr. Trump’s action in ordering the assassination of General Solemani is a dangerous escalation that is unprecedented in contemporary international relations.

Iran traditionally do not bluster and the firm commitment of the Iranian leadership to seek revenge for the state-sponsored murder of their top state official is sending jitters across the world.

The American regime of President Trump must be held accountable for consequence of their thoughtless and heinous action and key regime figures, including Mr. Trump himself, should be individually held responsible for turning a revisionist page on the emerging multi-polar world order in which finding a common ground, despite differences, is the defining creed of contemporary international cooperation.

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