qassem soleimani

Irans Response to Soleimanis Killing Is Coming   10%

BEIRUT—About two years ago, Qassem Soleimani delivered a speech at a ceremony in Tehran marking a decade since the death of Imad Mughniyeh, the senior Hezbollah commander killed in a car-bomb explosion in the heart of Damascus, an attack carried out by the CIA with support from Israel. Standing in front of a huge portrait of Mughniyeh superimposed against a panorama of Jerusalem, Soleimani addressed an audience of senior Iranian officials, as well as representatives of Iran’s proxy militias in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Syria, and Yemen.

Soleimani hailed Mughniyeh as “the legend” responsible for practically all the achievements of Iran’s so-called axis of resistance, which according to the Iranian general included building Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas into formidable threats to Israel and killing 241 American service members in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. “The enemy knows that punishment for Imad’s blood is not firing a missile or a tit-for-tat assassination,” he told the crowd. “The punishment for Imad’s blood is the eradication of the Zionist entity.”

[Read: We’re just discovering the price of killing Soleimani]

Following Soleimani’s killing in an American air strike this month, it is worth remembering the man’s own words. Soleimani, Mughniyeh, and the current Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, formed a trio of men who carried out Iran’s strategy across the Middle East under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And so it is hard to overstate the magnitude of the blow that Soleimani’s death has delivered. The focus in the days since his killing has been on the perceived impulsiveness of Donald Trump’s decision, Iran’s retaliation—limited thus far to the firing of 22 missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq, with no reported casualties—the public displays of grief for Soleimani in Iran, and the national- security implications. But as with Mughniyeh’s death, to paraphrase Soleimani himself, the response to the Iranian general’s killing will not be restricted to a lone missile attack or a tit-for-tat move—Iran is not yet done.

Take the case of Mughniyeh. In the summer of 2012, a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists and a driver in an attack in a Bulgarian resort town. U.S. and Israeli officials suspected that the bombing, which occurred four years after Mughniyeh’s death, was retaliation for the Hezbollah commander’s killing, as well as for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, which Tehran blamed on Israel. “I have received many messages from brothers in the resistance asking for permission to carry out martyrdom operations” to avenge Soleimani’s death, Nasrallah said during a speech aired at memorial services for Soleimani held throughout Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and the country’s south. Revenge, he continued, will be a “long” battle.

For now, in responding to Soleimani’s killing, self-preservation and maintaining staying power mandate restraint. The strike that killed him also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who commanded the largest of the seven main Iraqi proxy militias working for Iran, according to Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based security analyst with the European Institute of Peace. Iran’s ability to retaliate is also complicated by the fact that it is loathed by most Iraqis, including its fellow Shiites, who recently attacked Iran’s missions in Baghdad and the south of Iraq. Iraqi Shiites blame Iran and the militias and parties affiliated with it for killing more than 500 protesters in Iraq since October, and they see these same actors as being behind much of the corruption and plundering of the country’s resources that has hobbled Iraq’s ability to deliver services and economic opportunities to its citizens. Mounting economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Iran and its allies in Iraq will also restrict their room to maneuver.

[Read: The Soleimani assassination is America’s most consequential strike this century]

Similar dynamics are at play in Lebanon, home to Hezbollah, Iran’s most powerful regional proxy force. Once beloved as a resistance movement that liberated southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation in 2000, Hezbollah is now regarded by many Lebanese as part and parcel of the corrupt, dysfunctional, and sectarian political class that has brought the country to the brink of economic collapse. Residents of predominantly Shiite cities in southern Lebanon such as Nabatieh and Tyr, which are seen as bastions of support for Hezbollah, have even joined their fellow Lebanese in protests that have been ongoing for months. “The prevailing mood now is ‘Give me money and I’ll come out on the streets and chant against America and endorse any of your illogical propositions. But you do not want to give me money and still want me to come out against America, no,’” Ali al-Amine, a journalist and politician who is among the most outspoken anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Shiites, told me.

Given these limits to Iran’s short-term capabilities, it will likely focus on assessing the impact of Soleimani’s killing, plugging holes and vulnerabilities in its intelligence and security apparatus, reevaluating its strategy and approach, and streamlining its operations throughout the region. Tehran will also seize opportunities for détente with its regional archnemesis, Saudi Arabia, and seek rapprochement with the region’s Sunni Arabs, whose animosity toward Iran worsened after it partnered with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to crush an uprising in Syria, primarily carried out by the country’s Sunnis, that began in 2011.

Over time, the United States, Israel, and their allies—and all those perceived as harming Iran’s regional strategy—will face retribution, though, most likely in the form of covert operations and actions that will be much harder to trace back to Tehran. It would, in a way, be back to basics: bombings, assassinations, and stealth tactics long attributed to Mughniyeh. Indeed, Soleimani himself touted such efforts both at the memorial service for Mughniyeh and in a rare TV interview he gave in October. As Soleimani put it, it is the technique of “appearing like a sword and disappearing like a ghost.” It’s as if he were instructing his soldiers on the path they would have to take after his demise.

During the memorial for Soleimani, Nasrallah vowed to avenge his comrade’s killing by driving U.S. troops from the region and returning them to America “in coffins,” echoing the vow Soleimani made in 2018 to avenge Mughniyeh by “eradicating” Israel. Hezbollah will not shy away from carrying out operations against the U.S. and its allies, and may even resort to the campaign of assassinations and bombings that it turned to in Lebanon starting in 2005, when it felt under siege and compelled to defend its existence.

Elsewhere, having reconciled with Hamas after the two sides fell out over Iran’s support for Assad, Tehran could turn to the group to ratchet up confrontation with Israel in Gaza. In Syria, both Iran and Hezbollah will seek to maintain their presence and influence—Assad, for one, knows his survival hinges on patronage from Iran and Russia; Tehran, meanwhile, sees Syria as the second-most-important country in its axis of resistance, after Iran itself. And in Iraq, Iran’s proxy militias “have the wherewithal and expertise to escalate the situation and deliver painful blows to the U.S.,” Hashimi told me. There, too, he said, the focus will be on mobilizing assassination squads and mounting other special operations, rather than on carrying out conventional attacks on American forces.

[Read: Soleimani’s ultimate revenge]

In his October TV interview, Soleimani fondly recounted how, in 2006, he traveled through back roads to get to Beirut from Damascus during the 33-day summer war between Israel and Hezbollah, and how he, Mughniyeh, and Nasrallah oversaw the conflict from a command center in the Lebanese capital’s southern suburbs. He said that Israeli bombers were bringing down buildings all around them, and that they survived by moving around and dodging Israeli reconnaissance drones.

Soleimani hinted in the same interview that even if the trio were to all die, an entire generation had been groomed by them to continue the fight—in asymmetric warfare, he warned, there are no traditional fronts. “The enemy,” Soleimani said, “must contend with an expansive and smart field of land mines.”

Trump gives dramatic account of Soleimani's last minutes before death: CNN   -15%

U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.

Democratic debate: Only white candidates in latest 2020 showdown   15%

It is the first debate since the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani

Republican senator backs Bernie Sanders plan to cut off Trumps funding for military action in Iran   25%

Mike Lee supporting Democrat bill days after lambasting Trump aides' briefing on targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani

Were going to pay for it: Iran and its allies preparing to exploit Soleimanis killing to crush domestic opposition   -20%

Fears Qassem Soleimani's killing will spell trouble for protest movements in Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran

Trump gives dramatic account of Soleimanis last minutes before death: Report   -15%

US President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the US drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night

Iran has retaliation options beyond Hormuz in hitting Gulf oil supplies   16%

Iran is likely to intensify its attacks on Arab neighbors in the wake of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, but a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most critical chokepoint for

How a Hidden Parliamentary Session Revealed Trumps True Motives in Iraq   4%

The U.S. is adamant that its assassination of Qassem Soleimani and refusal to leave Iraq is about protecting Americans, but a little known Iraqi parliamentary session reveals how China increasingly strong ties to Baghdad may be shaping America's new Mideast strategy.

The post How a Hidden Parliamentary Session Revealed Trump’s True Motives in Iraq appeared first on MintPress News.

Germany, France, UK: 'Essential' Iran stick to nuclear deal   2%

Germany, France and the UK — who helped broker the 2015 accord — have urged Iran not to walk away. The treaty has come under increasing strain following the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Under Trump, the US interventionist policy towards the Middle East has reached a new low   -2%

The Gregorian year and decade are off to an awful start, so let us pray for a better beginning to the Year of the Rat. The United States’ resort to political assassination in the case of Iran’s major general Qassem Soleimani was an appalling breach of law, convention and common sense. It showed that the world’s most powerful state no longer respects the rules which have governed interstate relations. American exceptionalism has reached a new low and one which invites tit-for-tat retaliation.In…

Donald Trump gives new justification for killing Qassem Soleimani: he said bad things about US   -15%

US President Donald Trump gave a new justification for killing Qassem Soleimani, telling a gathering of Republican donors that the top Iranian general was “saying bad things about our country.”“How much are we going to listen to?” Trump said on Friday, according to remarks from a fundraiser obtained by CNN. He also used a vulgar expression to describe the nature of Soleimani’s comments.Trump spoke amid a brewing controversy in Washington, where some lawmakers, especially Democrats, have said…

US-Iran crisis: How China gains from Donald Trumps Middle East blunder  

The growing tensions between Iran and the United States are of deep concern to Asia-Pacific economies that look to the Gulf for energy supplies – but as China looks to avert more conflict in the region, there are diplomatic opportunities and strategic gains on the cards for Beijing.As the body of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani was laid to rest early on Wednesday, Iran stepped up its confrontation with the United States by launching 22 ballistic missiles at two military bases used by…

Missile attacks on US bases werent Irans real revenge on Donald Trump. This is   -10%

Iran’s apparent “standing down” after firing missiles at bases housing American military personnel in Iraq – an act of retaliation after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani – should not lead us to the hurried conclusion that the books are closed on the matter.It would equally be simplistic to assume that by killing Soleimani, the United States has achieved its primary objective for doing so – curtailing Iran’s regional adventurism.“The reasoning for these arguments can be found in the…

Would UK follow Trump into a war with Iran?   4%

Boris Johnson received news of the first major foreign policy challenge of his premiership while on holiday in the Caribbean. His initial response to the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on the order of US President Donald Trump was reportedly, a four-letter expletive. With his need to deliver on his election promise of “Get Brexit Done”, the UK prime minister needed being dragged into renewed conflict in the Middle East by its closest military ally, the US, like a bullet in…

US tried and failed to kill second Iranian leader on day of Qassem Soleimani drone strike   -18%

The United States carried out a secret operation in Yemen that targeted, but failed to kill, an Iranian military official last week, two US officials said on Friday.The strike was carried out on the same day that the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.The timing could suggest that the United States had sought to take out a broader swathe of the Iranian military leadership when it…

Will China try to solve the US-Iran crisis or view it as an opportunity?   -1%

Hours before Iran's missile attacks on Wednesday in revenge for the US’ killing of military commander Qassem Soleimani, a top Beijing envoy visited Tehran.As tensions with Washington reached what UN secretary general Antonio Guterres called “the highest level this century”, veteran diplomat Zhai Jun, China’s special representative in the Middle East, attended a security forum and met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Chinese foreign ministry said.According to the Beijing…

Iran tensions: Donald Trump claims Qassem Soleimani planned to blow up US embassy   -6%

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani shortly after he landed in Iraq last week in part because “they were looking to blow up our embassy”.The remarks could shed more light on what so far has been largely vague descriptions of the intelligence that drove Trump’s administration to conclude that killing Soleimani and disrupting his plots would justify any fallout Washington may face.The US saw some of the repercussions from…

Africa: Iran Crisis - the Impact On Oil Markets  

[Chatham House] The assassination of Qassem Soleimani has exacerbated the sensitivity of oil markets to political events and brought geopolitics back into global oil prices.

The U.S. Versus Iran: A Dangerous New Era in the Middle East   2%

By killing top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the U.S. has injected even more unpredictability into an already unstable region. Both sides have insisted they don't want war. But the conflict is likely to continue in the shadows.

U.S. military resumes counter-ISIS operations despite Iraqi calls for troops to withdraw  

Iraqi parliament had voted to expel U.S. forces following the targeted assassination of Qassem Soleimani however U.S. officials say training Iraqi forces will soon restart

Juan Cole: U.S.-Iran Conflict Enters Unprecedented Territory with Assassinations & Military Attacks   1%

Iran's retaliatory missile strikes on bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, following the U.S. assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, have dramatically raised tensions in the Middle East. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called the missile strike a "slap in the face" of the Americans and called for U.S. troops to leave the Middle East. The Iranian missile strikes come just days after the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel all foreign military forces from Iraq. We speak with Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan.

A View from Tehran: Iranian Professor Condemns U.S. Aggression & Warns U.S.-Backed Gulf States   -3%

Iranian forces fired 22 ballistic missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq early Wednesday in what Iran described as "fierce revenge" for the U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week at the Baghdad airport. The Iranian missiles targeted the Al Asad Airbase in Anbar province and a base in Erbil. There were no initial reports of U.S. or Iraqi casualties. Shortly after the attacks, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted, "We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression." Earlier today, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the missile strike a "slap in the face" of the Americans and called for U.S. troops to leave the Middle East. After the strikes, President Trump tweeted, "All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning." The Iranian missile strikes come just days after the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel all foreign military forces from Iraq. We speak with Mohammad Marandi in Tehran, where he is professor of English literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran. He was part of the nuclear deal negotiations in 2015.

Facebook censors explainer clip recalling when western media liked Soleimani and demonetizes popular account for sharing it   -5%

Facebook is doubling down on censorship of anything less than villification of slain Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, deleting a clip showing his history of fighting terrorism – and demonetizing the account posting it.
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Israeli army denies involvement in killing of Qassem Soleimani   1%

In Iran, protesters have been pouring onto the streets calling for the resignation of officials responsible for mistakenly shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane. This comes in the wake of the assassination of a top Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani, at the hands of the Americans. Iran later retaliated with missile strikes against military bases in Iraq that house US troops. To discuss this escalation, we're joined by Jonathan Conricus, the international spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces. He denies any Israeli involvement in the killing of Soleimani.