[pjw] NEWS/ACTION(S): US assassinates top Iranian General, protests 5 PM

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Fri Jan 3 13:46:29 EST 2020

Hello again IAG supporters

Yesterday Donald Trump ordered the drone-strike assassination of a top 
Iranian General, which the below article from NPR equates to someone 
killing the US' chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Republicans are 
falling all over themselves to praise this murder, saying how Maj. Gen. 
Qassem Soleimani was "responsible for the deaths of many Americans" 
without being specific in any way.


Democrats have actually used the term "assassination" but seem more upset 
that Trump didn't consult with them than that tactic being used, though 
they do seem to be expressing concern that this will lead to open war.

The Iranians for their part are calling for revenge, but also saying that 
the US killed Soleimani as revenge for the downing of a US drone and for 
Iran helping to defeat ISIS-- riffing off the common theory that the US 
created ISIS and used it as an excuse to maintain a foothold in the Middle 


Anyway, in addition to the PPRC weekly Friday rally tonight at 5 PM at SW 
Yamhill and Broadway, the Portland Democratic Socialists of America called 
for a rally at the same time at Terry Schrunk Plaza at SW 3rd and Main. My 
plan is to get the PPRC folks to march over to TSP.


Apparently there's a session of the UN Security Council meeting to discuss 
the US strike, but because our country is allowed to veto any actions 
there I don't hold much hope.


OK, see you in the streets?

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Trump Authorized U.S Strike That Killed Iranian Military Leader Qassem
     Soleimani Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed Friday in Baghdad. The U.S.
     secretary of defense said Soleimani "was actively developing plans to
     attack American diplomats and service members throughout the region."

U.S. Kills Top Iranian Military Leader In Airstrike
     January 2, 2020 9:29 PM ET
     [63]Bobby Allyn
     Updated at 4:27 a.m. ET Friday

     U.S. forces assassinated Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an
     airstrike early Friday near the Baghdad International Airport, an
     escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran that is prompting
     concerns of further violence in the region.

     Defense Secretary Mark Esper [66]said the Pentagon took a "decisive
     defensive action" in killing Soleimani, who Esper says was plotting to
     target American diplomats and service members.

     "This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans," Esper

     The attack, an action previous presidents have resisted, was undertaken
     at the direction of President Trump.

     For two decades, Soleimani led the elite Quds Force, a branch of Iran's
     Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, responsible for the country's
     intelligence and military operations outside of Iran.

     Hamid Mousavi, a political science professor at the University of
     Tehran, said the strike stunned many Iranians who revere the military

     "It would be akin to Iran assassinating the chairman of the Joint
     Chiefs of Staff," Mousavi told NPR. "Essentially, it's an act of war."

     The State Department on Friday urged U.S. citizens to immediately leave
     Iraq, where officials say the embassy in Baghdad was attacked by
     Iran-backed militias earlier in the week.

     The strike on Soleimani comes a week after a rocket attack in northern
     Iraq killed a U.S. contractor. American officials [76]said an
     Iranian-backed militia was responsible. The Trump administration also
     tied Soleimani to recent [77]violent protests.

     Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif [78]called the killing "an act of
     international terrorism," saying the U.S. "bears responsibility for all
     consequences of its rogue adventurism."

     Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement on
     Iranian state TV that a "harsh retaliation is waiting" for the U.S.

     Iran's President Hassan Rouhani [79]was just as forceful, describing
     the strike as a "heinous crime" for which Iran will seek revenge.

     "So the biggest question now is how does Tehran respond?" [80]wrote
     Ilan Goldenberg, a Middle East security expert who worked on Iran
     issues in the Obama administration.

     "Targeting an American diplomatic facility or senior leader with a
     terrorist attack elsewhere in the world may feel proportional for the
     Iranians but this is very hard to pull off. Outside of the Mideast
     their capabilities are much more limited," Goldenberg [81]tweeted.

     Trump, who is vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Fla., tweeted a
     photo of an American flag with no other message. Trump had earlier
     vowed that Iran would "pay a very big price" for the unrest at the U.S.
     Embassy compound in Baghdad.

     Republicans celebrated the killing of Soleimani, [82]saying America is
     safer after the violent leader was brought to justice. But Democrats
     slammed the White House for not consulting Congress before the strike
     and worried the attack [83]would lead to an "almost inevitable

     House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement the strike was
     "disproportionate," arguing that it "risks provoking further dangerous
     escalation of violence. America -- and the world -- cannot afford to
     have tensions escalate to the point of no return."

     The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Eliot
     Engel, D-N.Y., released a [84]statement saying he is worried about the
     security aftereffects of the strike, which Engel said had gone ahead
     without notice or consultation with Congress.

     "To push ahead with an action of this gravity without involving
     Congress raises serious legal problems and is an affront to Congress's
     powers as a coequal branch of government," Engel said.

     Naysan Rafati, a senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group,
     underscored just how significant the death of Soleimani is inside Iran,
     where he is among the country's most revered military leaders.

     "This is a major blow to the Iranians, symbolically as well as
     strategically. There has been no individual as deeply associated with
     Iran's regional network of partners and proxies as Soleimani, which
     made him a hero to Tehran's allies and a villain without peer to its
     rivals," Rafati said.

     Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi characterized the strike in dire
     terms, [85]saying it is "a dangerous escalation that ignites a
     devastating war in Iraq, the region and the world."

     The strike also killed Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis,
     an adviser to Soleimani.

     Iranian Quds Force commander Gen. Qassim Soleimani, seen in September,
     was killed Friday in a strike on the international airport in Baghdad.

     Iranian Quds Force commander Gen. Qassim Soleimani, seen in September,
     was killed Friday in a strike on the international airport in Baghdad.
     Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    A reach far beyond Iran

     Soleimani was one of Iran's most powerful and shadowy figures. As
     leader of the Quds Force, he was said to be responsible for the
     country's development and coordination with militias and proxy forces
     throughout the Middle East. U.S. officials accuse him of coordinating
     Iraqi militia attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

     U.S. officials have accused Soleimani of sponsoring terrorism and
     singled him out as a major figure for decades. The Trump administration
     placed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- which includes the Quds
     Force -- on the State Department's list of terrorist groups. It was the
     first time a government's official military was placed on the list.

     Norman Roule, now retired, tracked Iran through his career with the CIA
     and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He told NPR's
     All Things Considered the death of Soleimani was significant.

     "You can expect seismic waves to go through the Shia communities of
     Lebanon, Iraq and Iran," Roule said. "You can expect that the Iranians
     and the Iraqi militia groups will certainly seek some sort of

       Force protection of U.S. and allied interests will be foremost in
       the minds of U.S. and partner security forces. I expect State will
       issue a travel advisory and those in the region should adopt
       appropriate precautions. [90]https://t.co/olVHIc49Wb
       -- Norman Roule (@Norman_Roule) [91]January 3, 2020

     Roule called Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was
     also killed, Soleimani's "senior-most lieutenant in the Iraqi military

     Roule said he believed the U.S. would not have carried out the strikes
     unless "a significant terrorist attack was underway or about to be
     undertaken by these individuals and if neutralizing these individuals
     would prevent that."

     Soleimani's Quds Force is a "sort of a mixture of our special
     operations and Central Intelligence Agency," according to Roule. "He
     [had] been given charge of Iran's foreign policy in the region and in
     essence he used that authority to create a series of militias based on
     the Lebanese Hezbollah."

     "As a military commander he would not actually rank in capacity or
     stature with a first-world military commander, such as a U.S. general.
     However, his political reach was vast ... in that Iran basically ceded
     its regional activities to his purview," Roule said.

     [92]In 2018, Soleimani spoke with political authority when he responded
     to a tweet by President Trump, who said Iran would "suffer consequences
     the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before" if
     it repeated threats against the U.S.

     Soleimani was [93]quoted by the semiofficial Tasnim news agency: "As a
     soldier, it is my duty to respond to your threats," he said. "It is not
     in our president's dignity to respond to you."

     "Come. We are ready," Soleimani said, accusing Trump of using "the
     language of nightclubs and gambling halls."

    "If you begin the war, we will end the war," he said.

    NPR's Deborah Amos contributed to this report.

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