Moon of Alabama – Jan 13, 2020
The Trump administration has given various justification for its assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani and commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. It claimed that there was an ‘imminent threat’ of an incident, even while not knowing what, where or when it would happen, that made the assassination necessary. Trump later said the thread was a planned bombing of four U.S. embassies. His defense secretary denied that.
Soleimani and Muhandis during a battle against ISIS
That has raised the suspicion that the decision to kill Soleimani had little to do with current events but was a long planned operation. NBC News now reports that this is exactly the case:
President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.
The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.
The idea to kill Soleimani, a regular General in an army with which the U.S. is not war, came like many other bad ideas from John Bolton.
After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.
But Trump rejected the idea, saying he’d take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president’s message was “that’s only on the table if they hit Americans,” according to a person briefed on the discussion.
Then unknown forces fired 30 short range missiles into a U.S. base near Kirkuk. The salvo was not intended to kill or wound anyone: