President Trump ordered the attack on Major General Qassem Soleimani, a master terrorist and the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on January 2nd. He was killed along with seven others as he arrived at the Baghdad Airport. Here are key facts about this man, who was responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of people around the world.
Soleimani was the most powerful Iranian general. While other generals may have outranked him, as Commander of the Quds Forces, he answered only to Iran’s Supreme Leader. His authority was outside the normal military chain of command in Iran and he was given carte blanche authority for the export of terror around the world as he coordinated and directed the numerous Iranian militias and proxies worldwide.
The Quds Forces were responsible for assassinations, terrorism and unconventional warfare that Iran exports and executes globally, including places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. He was the benefactor of Hamas and Hezbollah. He was linked to assassinations and assassination attempts in the U.S., Germany, India and Argentina.
He was also linked to the deaths of over 600 U.S. service members in Iraq, as he supplied enhanced Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to the insurgency there. Thousands of U.S. troops were wounded and maimed by these weapons. The IRGC was responsible for 17 per cent of all U.S. casualties in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.
We are in a War on Terror since September 11, 2001. Iran is the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, and the Quds Forces have been declared a terror organization. In war, a general officer of an enemy force is a legitimate military target. This was not an assassination. It was the killing of an enemy soldier in a war.
According to Secretary of State Pompeo, he was not killed because of his past deeds, but because the U.S. became aware of planned attacks by Soleimani on U.S. personnel and others. The attacks were imminent.
Because of this, President Trump was not required to notify Congress in advance. Under his Article Two powers in the U.S. Constitution, and in accordance with the War Powers Act, the president can take military action if a threat against the United States in imminent.
The attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad were not mere demonstrations. They were coordinated attacks on the U.S. compound and its personnel directed by Soleimani and his Quds Forces, in coordination with Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq.
Soleimani was also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of demonstrators in Iran as they protested against government corruption and a failing economy in Iran.
Over the last several weeks, hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators were killed as they protested against Iranian influence in their own country and government corruption in Iraq. The use of live ammunition against these demonstrations in Iraq can also be traced back to Soleimani.
The events of the last several days are a reminder that there are evil people and terrorist forces who seek to do us harm. When they chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” they truly mean it. Our nation’s leaders and our men and women in the military have a solemn obligation and a Constitutional mandate to protect America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We pray for our nation’s leaders and our men and women in uniform.