1. General Qassem Soleimani was Targeted for Planning an 'Imminent' Attack on U.S. Soldiers
Although some critics of President Trump’s action have labeled the drone strike an assassination, most agree Soleimani was a terrorist mastermind.
CNN reported Jan. 3—the day of the attack that killed Soleimani—that a congressional source revealed that American intelligence had determined the general “was in multiple countries in the region planning specific attacks on U.S. interests, including U.S. personnel.” That source added that the Iranian plans were developing beyond normal chatter.
Meanwhile, a senior administration official told CNN they had evidence Soleimani traveled to Baghdad to execute future hits on American interests.
Tony Shaffer, a former intelligence officer with the Department of Defense, outlined the case against the general in an opinion piece for Real Clear Politics. It is important to note that Shaffer is a member of the Trump 2020 advisory board.
In the article, Shaffer said his opinion is shaped by his experience going “toe-to-toe with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Afghanistan.” That experience included interrogating an IRGC “enabler.”
“As the leader of the IRGC’s Quds Force, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, Soleimani was among America’s most vociferous and aggressive foes,” Shaffer wrote. “He was personally responsible for the deaths of thousands, including the killing and maiming of hundreds of American soldiers. He was an evil, remorseless man, and his death is a positive development for the entire world—including his own country.”
Shaffer maintains Iran was funding terrorist activity in Afghanistan and that Soleimani was directing those operations.
“Yet previous administrations refused to act on intelligence that would have allowed us to take him out far sooner,” Shaffer wrote, later adding, “Had it not been for the timely strike ordered by President Trump, Soleimani would have carried out further atrocities against U.S. troops and American interests—including an ‘imminent’ attack that the administration claims Soleimani was preparing to launch at the time of his death.
“This man was a terrorist in charge of an IRGC element that had been declared a terrorist organization. He was traveling, in violation of U.N. sanctions, to Iraq, with the apparent intent of inflicting harm on U.S. service members in the region. He was in a combat zone as a combatant in uniform—the legal basis to target him could not have been clearer, and the same goes for the moral justification.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chris McGrath/Staff, pictured is Iranian General Qassem Soleimani