The Pentagon has been insisting that they had full justification for killing the Ayatollah’s right hand man, but haven’t been sharing any of the juicy details. With chaos in the region at the maximum, our leaders chose to play things close to the vest for a while.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump broke the silence as much as he can, explaining the reason why the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani shortly after he touched down in Iraq.
“We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” the president told reporters. “We caught a total monster and we took him out.” Speaking from the White House, Trump emphasized that it “should have happened a long time ago.”
Violent protesters outside of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad were really Iran-backed militia members under Soleimani’s orders. According to President Trump, Soleimani wanted those protests to become more violent and they did. An attempt was made to storm the embassy and could have turned into another Benghazi.
“That was a totally organized plot. And you know who organized it,” Trump insists. “That man right now is not around any longer. Okay?”
Soleimani had even bigger plots brewing. “He had more than that particular embassy in mind,” Trump added.
A senior U.S. defense official told Reuters that “Soleimani had orchestrated protests at the embassy and acknowledged there had been such plotting to blow up the embassy.”
It was New Years Eve in Baghdad. Dozens of Iranian backed militia, many in uniform, smashed the gate and shoved their way into the compound. They were stopped by tear gas and gunfire about 60 feet from the main building. At least half a dozen U.S. soldiers defended the building from the roof.
Outside the compound, all the elements of a medieval siege were in place. Hundreds of angry protesters had set up tents. The mob proceeded to “set fire to three trailers used by security guards along the embassy wall.”
AP journalists reported the crowd tried to scale the embassy walls, shouting “Down, down USA!,” “Death to America,” “Death to Israel.”
Eventually, about 30 Iraqi soldiers showed up in armored vehicles to chase out the remaining protesters and secure the compound.
Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani took charge of the Quds Force running Iran’s foreign military operations. He promised to follow in Soleimani footsteps but he’s going to have his work cut out for him.
One of Soleimani’s key talents was keeping the other field commanders on a leash. Whenever they would get too creative on their own, he slapped them down hard. His missing whip hand is already having an effect, as field commanders are releasing statements conflicting with the high command.
Iran’s foreign minister promises that the recent missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces “had concluded Tehran’s response to the killing of Soleimani.” That way both sides can step back from the brink and let this thing cool down.
On the other hand, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards issued new threats on their own Thursday. One senior commander promises “harsher revenge soon” and another said the missile strikes were “only the start.”