IMPOTUS has just made a statement attempting to justify the killing of Qasem Soleimani, and like other presidential fantasies about moving Seoul or invading Venezuela, Trump made his decision without the gang of eight, likely because what will be Iranian asymmetric warfare responses might make Americans less safe and more likely to vote for incumbents in November.
Barry McCaffrey calls the assassination an “impulsive and ill-considered” act by Trump while also applauding the professionalism of JSOC military forces.
Trump surely wouldn’t want to ratchet up the GWOT, and surely couldn’t be influenced by associates like John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani, who are affiliated with the regime change cult of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)/MEK. WaPo explored more of the social context for yesterday’s assassination.
International experts have long known of Soleimani as the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the shadow commander of proxy conflicts across the Middle East, but many Americans first heard of the general in 2018, when he started arguing with Trump via memes on Instagram.
The Trump administration was engaged that year in a pressure campaign against Iran, whose president Hassan Rouhani warned in July that “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” This was relatively mild for a theocratic regime whose founding Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini dubbed the United States “The Great Satan,” but Trump took particular offense.[…]
“To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” he wrote on Twitter in all capitals.
A few days later, Soleimani stepped in to defend Rouhani. “It is not in our president’s dignity to respond to you,” he told Trump via Iran’s Tasnim news agency. “If you begin the war, we will end the war. You know that this war will destroy all that you possess.”
For a high-level commander in a regime that bans most major social media platforms for its citizens, Soleimani was unusually Internet savvy. That same month, he shared with his nearly 70,000 Instagram followers an image of the White House exploding, which was later archived by the Middle East Media Research Institute. The poster appeared to have been taken from the 2013 film “Olympus Has Fallen,” and doctored so that Soleimani stands in front of the inferno with a walkie-talkie in his hand.
New CJL Report: IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Designated By U.S. Treasury Dept., Is Active On Instagram; Posts Include Image Of White House Exploding https://t.co/9jP83VDsQ5 pic.twitter.com/ui8WA2is6z
— Steve Stalinsky (@SteveStalinsky) August 17, 2018
Soleimani posted memes antagonizing Trump on social media https://t.co/uVBlPwv9jx
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 3, 2020
As Jesus said, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, order a drone strike and kill everyone close to them. https://t.co/UphMgQxnJm
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 3, 2020
The disinformation begins:
Didn’t expect we were going to have an Iran Secretly Did 9/11 assertion today. https://t.co/pYEC1txE9G
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) January 3, 2020