‘Completely Lawless President’: Trump Reportedly Tried to Kill Another Top Iranian Commander on Same Day as Soleimani
“Multiple strikes on top IRGC officials is starting a war. These were decapitation strikes.”
By Jake Johnson
The Trump administration reportedly tried and failed to assassinate a senior Iranian military official in Yemen on the same day it killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike in Baghdad last week, nearly sparking a full-blown regional war.
The Washington Post reported Friday that U.S. forces carried out a “top secret mission” targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-level commander of Iran’s Quds Force. According to the Post, the U.S. launched a strike against Shahlai in Yemen but it was unsuccessful for unknown reasons.
According to the Post:
The Trump administration views Shahlai as a particularly potent adversary.
The State Department offered a $15 million reward last month for information leading to Shahlai and the disruption of [the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’] financial mechanisms. The announcement said that Shahlai is based in Yemen and has a “long history of involvement in attacks targeting the U.S. and our allies, including in the 2011 plot against the Saudi ambassador” at an Italian restaurant in Washington.
Critics said the Post reporting undermines the Trump administration’s claim that it assassinated Soleimani due to an “imminent threat” to American interests—and indicates the general’s killing was part of what was meant to be a far more sweeping effort to damage the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“This suggests a mission with a longer planning horizon and a larger objective, and it really does call into question why there was an attempt to explain this publicly on the basis of an imminent threat,” Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank, told the Post.
If this operation had succeeded, how was this administration going to claim that an IRGC commander in Yemen of all places – was an "imminent" threat to Americans?https://t.co/B6sAQsv7wM
— Alex Emmons (@AlexEmmons) January 10, 2020
Multiple strikes on top IRGC officials is starting a war. These were decapitation strikes. All the claims about an imminent threat are bullshit pretext. https://t.co/ynGPU2BWcO
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) January 10, 2020
The Post reported that the strikes on Soleimani and Shahlai were approved at around the same time but the latter was not disclosed because “it did not go according to plan.” One senior official told the Post that Shahlai “may be targeted in the future.”
“If we had killed him, we’d be bragging about it that same night,” another official told the Post, referring to the night the U.S. assassinated Soleimani.
News of an attempted second U.S. strike comes after legal experts and members of Congress condemned the assassination of Soleimani as a violation of both U.S. and international law. On Thursday night, the House of Representatives passed a War Powers Resolution aimed at barring Trump from taking military action against Iran without congressional approval.
“Congress has not authorized military action against Iran,” Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), tweeted in response to the Post story. “This is a completely lawless president.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s hawkish Iran policies, said “Congress needs answers” to serious questions raised by the new reporting.
“What was the full extent of the Trump administration’s plans to kill Iranian officials?” Khanna tweeted. “How does the attempted killing in Yemen have anything to do with an imminent threat?”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Was ‘Imminent Threat’ His Impeachment? Trump Reportedly Admitted Soleimani Killed to Appease GOP Senators
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both seized upon the report as evidence that Trump nearly sparked a catastrophic war for political gain.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on Friday accused President Donald Trump of dragging the U.S. to the brink of war for political gain following a report that Trump privately admitted he ordered the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani to appease Republican senators who are crucial allies in his upcoming impeachment trial.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that following the drone strike on Soleimani last week, Trump told unspecified associates “he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.”
It was unclear which GOP senators specifically Trump was attempting to satisfy, but the story does cite hawkish Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as proponents of the Soleimani strike.
“Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions based on his own personal political needs.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
Warren and Sanders, both contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, immediately seized upon the reporting as evidence that the president nearly sparked another devastating Middle East war to advance his own political agenda.
“Today’s reporting confirms what I said on Sunday—why did this strike happen on the eve of an impeachment trial?” Warren tweeted. “Trump is taking us to the edge of war for his own political benefit. It’s reckless and dangerous. We must speak out. No war with Iran.”
Today's reporting confirms what I said on Sunday—why did this strike happen on the eve of an impeachment trial? Trump is taking us to the edge of war for his own political benefit. It's reckless and dangerous. We must speak out. No war with Iran. https://t.co/4C1ioLVBm8 pic.twitter.com/3hHMmFUWWv
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 10, 2020
In a statement, Sanders warned that “once again, we have a president who is pushing us to the edge of war based on false claims.”
“Unbelievably, we find out that Trump himself told people he was under pressure to deal with Soleimani ‘from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate,’ according to the Wall Street Journal,” Sanders said. “Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions based on his own personal political needs.”
“As a United States senator,” Sanders added, “I will do everything I can to rein in this reckless president and prevent a war with Iran. I call on my colleagues to do the same.”
The Journal‘s report comes as the Trump administration continues to face scrutiny over its justification for assassinating Soleimani, who the White House claims was plotting “imminent” attacks against Americans.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted during a Fox News interview Thursday night that the administration doesn’t know when or where the supposed “imminent” attacks were going to take place.
In response to the Journal‘s reporting, Sanders foreign policy adviser Matt Duss tweeted, “The ‘imminent threat’ was impeachment.”Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
‘We Need Everyone in the Streets’: More Than 180 Events Planned Across US to Protest Trump’s March to War With Iran
“America, this is an emergency. If we spiral into war with Iran, millions could die. We have a short window of time to stop it. We need a massive protest.”
By Jake Johnson
After Iran’s retaliation for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani intensified fears of another catastrophic Middle East war, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups Tuesday reiterated their call for massive demonstrations across the U.S. to protest President Donald Trump’s “military brinksmanship” and demand immediate de-escalation of tensions.
“We will not be forced into another war,” said the coalition, led by MoveOn, Indivisible, Win Without War, and other groups. “On Thursday, January 9, at 5 p.m. local time, the anti-war majority in this country will get visible to oppose Trump’s war and say #NoWarWithIran.”
“In the wake of retaliation for Trump’s warmongering, it’s more important than ever to commit to showing up this Thursday to say #NoWarWithIran.”
As of Wednesday morning, more than 180 demonstrations have been planned across the U.S.—up from just 50 when the protests were first announced Tuesday afternoon.
Iran’s missile attacks on two U.S. airbases in Iraq—retaliation that was widely expected and promised by Iranian leaders—brought new urgency to the planned day of action, which will demand that Congress intervene to stop Trump from taking the advice of war-hungry right-wing pundits and launching a devastating war with Iran.
“America, this is an emergency,” said activist Kai Newkirk. “If we spiral into war with Iran, millions could die. We have a short window of time to stop it. We need a massive protest. Everyone, if at all possible, must come out this Thursday, nationwide.”
In the wake of retaliation for Trump's warmongering, it's more important than ever to commit to showing up this Thursday to say #NoWarWithIran. RSVP now: https://t.co/ulDB879Qy7 https://t.co/CAC8qxodjd
— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) January 7, 2020
“We need everyone in the streets,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “This is a critical time for the American people to be heard.”
In a statement Tuesday night, Indivisible national policy director Angel Padilla said the missile attack by Iran was an “entirely predictable” and “avoidable” consequence of the White House’s hawkish policies toward Iran and urged Congress “act decisively and fast to stop Trump’s warmongering.”
“Every day we wait is a message from Congress to Trump to continue his march to war,” said Padilla. “We urge the House to immediately pass a strong war powers resolution, as well as the bills offered by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that would prevent war with Iran, and urge the Senate to take those critical measures up immediately upon passage.”
“The anti-war majority of Americans will be paying close attention to what their members of Congress do,” added Padilla, “not what they say.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.