10 Quotes On The U.S. Assassination Of Iran’s Famous Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani
Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top general and head of its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, died Friday local time in a U.S. airstrike ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump at Iraq’s Baghdad international airport. At least six others died in the attack.
The U.S. said that the assassination was an attempt to deter attacks against U.S. embassies, service members or diplomats.
“At the direction of the president, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani,” the Department of Defense said in a press release.
This action was taken without the consultation of Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. The Trump administration did not inform Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) before the strike, an aide told HuffPost via email. “The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation,” Pelosi said.
The assassination came hours after the Pentagon warned Iran-backed militias against further provoking the U.S. following an attempt to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
The airstrike is sending shockwaves through the Middle East and beyond. It’s “the most major decapitation strike the U.S. has ever engaged in,” according to Phillip Smyth, a Shia Islamist militarism expert and senior fellow at the Washington Institute.
While Soleimani was seen as a U.S. adversary plotting attacks against allies and assets, it is important to remember the role both he and Iran played in the fight against ISIS, Nick Patton Walsh wrote in a CNN analysis. “Soleimani was reported to have often led that fight from the front line,” Walsh wrote.
When ISIS emerged in Iraq in 2014 and rolled over Iraq’s army, Soleimani beat the U.S. to the front lines, arming ethnic Kurdish forces and calling for militias to mobilize against ISIS. In the hours after his death, one person posted, “General Soleimani, Antiterrorism.”
His killing was not like other attacks to eliminate U.S. enemies such as Osama bin Laden or ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Karl Vick wrote for Time. “Soleimani was a major public figure in Iran … easily the most popular official in an Iranian government that generally is not.”
Here are 10 quotes on the U.S. assassination of Iran’s Famous Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani
Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran
“The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation. The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” tweeted Javad Zarif, foreign minister of Islamic Republic of Iran.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, 2020 presidential candidate
“When I voted against the war in Iraq in 2002, I feared it would lead to greater destabilization of the region. That fear unfortunately turned out to be true,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted. “The U.S. has lost approximately 4,500 brave troops, tens of thousands have been wounded, and we’ve spent trillions. Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars. Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.”
Jasmine El-Gamal, Former Middle East Advisor at the Department of Defense
“Soleimani was not indispensable. No one is. He was good at his job. He will he replaced. And now that he’s been ‘martyred’ we have done our job to move towards war,” tweeted Jasmine El-Gamal, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council on Middle East, Syria, refugees and extremism and former Middle East Advisor at the Department of Defense.
“Maybe it was done to foil a plan,” El-Gamal continued tweeting. “But make no mistake: this is an escalation with Iran the likes of which we have not seen in decades. To not inform Congress is v disturbing. I hope the admin has a plan for what might unfold. If it doesn’t, then this move is truly reckless.”
Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
“Make no mistake: any war with Iran will not look like the 1990 Gulf war or the 2003 Iraq wars. It will be fought throughout the region w a wide range of tools vs a wide range of civilian, economic, & military targets. The region (and possibly the world) will be the battlefield,” tweeted Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Max Fisher, writer for New York Times
“If reports are true, assassinating Iran’s Soleimani would represent a major, overt act of war. Functionally and legally, it’s not a ‘risk of war’ or ‘tantamount to war.’ It is war outright, and against a country that has invested years of preparation into enduring just that,” tweeted Max Fisher, who writes for the New York Times on ideas and context behind major world events.
“This is not Saddam’s half-decomposed Iraq or some bunch of North Vietnamese irregulars,” Fisher continued. “Iran is a big, sophisticated regional power with far greater military capabilities than any country the US has gone to war with since WW2.”
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, said through a spokesperson that he is “deeply concerned” with the U.S. attack. “This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint,” Farhan Haq said in a statement on Guterres’ behalf. “The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf.”
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that the U.S. had the right to defend itself by killing Soleimani. “Just as Israel has the right of self-defence, the United States has exactly the same right,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office Friday. “Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks.”
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called for revenge on the death of Soleimani.
“Meting out the appropriate punishment to these criminal assassins … will be the responsibility and task of all resistance fighters worldwide,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a statement.”We who stayed by his side will follow in his footsteps and strive day and night to accomplish his goals.”
The NATO military alliance said it is monitoring the situation in Iraq closely with an eye on the safety of its training mission there, Al Jazeera reported.
“NATO is monitoring the situation in the region very closely. We remain in close and regular contact with the U.S. authorities,” spokesman Dylan White told AFP. “At the request of the Iraqi government, NATO’s training mission in the country is helping to strengthen the Iraqi forces and prevent the return of ISIS,” he said.
Russia condemned U.S. airstrikes as a “reckless step” that risked “regional peace and stability” in the Middle East. “Such actions do not create … solutions to complex problems in the Middle East. On the contrary, it will lead to a new round of escalation of tensions in the region,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted to its website, Voice of America reported.
“The killing of Soleimani … was an adventurist step that will increase tensions throughout the region,” the foreign ministry said, according to news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS. “Soleimani served the cause of protecting Iran’s national interests with devotion. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.”