Imminent Attacks? Trump Originally Ordered Soleimani's Death In June

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2020

President Donald Trump, in the meantime, is facing pressure to provide more information about the imminent threat Soleimani allegedly posed to justify the US airstrike that killed him. Iran eventually retaliated via missile attacks on Iraqi military bases hosting US troops, but the strikes appeared created to avoid casualties and further escalation. He later added that Soleimani "had more than that particular embassy" - in Baghdad - "in mind".

"I think the president is making clear that the Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and nearly taking the side of terrorists and those who are out to kill the Americans", she said.

Trump has defended the targeted killing of the Iranian general, saying he posed an imminent threat to the US because he was plotting attacks on USA embassies.

The Trump administration's initial justification for the 3 January strike that killed Iran's Soleimani was the threat of "imminent" attacks against American interests.

Then, on Friday, Pompeo told reporters at the White House that that attacks were expected "against American facilities, including American embassies, military bases, American facilities throughout the region".

But on Sunday, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in an interview with CBS News that he "didn't see" specific evidence of an attack "with regard to four embassies" being threatened. He did not cite any specific intelligence during the interview. Several senators also said the administration had not mentioned any imminent threat to four embassies - let alone embassies in general - during a classified briefing last week.

Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and the second-in-command of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were assassinated on January by United States in an airstrike near the Baghdad International Airport. He says that killing Soleimani was part of the Trump Administration's goal of "real deterrence".

According to NBC News, Trump directed the military to kill Soleimani if any Americans died as a result of Iranian aggression.

Pompeo also pointed to increased USA naval exercises in the South China Sea in response to China's militarization of disputed islands and Trump's imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports as aspects of the administration's deterrence strategy.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the strike on Soleimani was aimed at stopping a "continuing upward spiral" of violence in the region.

Other reports by iNewsToday