Pompeo: Killing Soleimani Part of a 'Broader Strategy' Applying to China, Russia

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did nothing to clear up confusion over whether there was "specific" intelligence supporting President Trump's claim that there was an "imminent threat" by top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani to attack four USA embassies, during a Monday night interview on Fox News.

Soleimani was the head of the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, which handles clandestine operations outside Iran, working closely with militias in the region blamed for attacks on USA interests. According to NBC, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to take out Soleimani at the time. He later added that Soleimani "had more than that particular embassy" - in Baghdad - "in mind". Congressional Democrats have said that they were left completely out of the loop over the planned attack.

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". Iran retaliated to the hostile act by firing ballistic missiles at a USA airbase in Iraq.

Pressed on whether there was a piece of intelligence that showed Martyr Suleimani wanted to attack U.S. embassies, Mr. Esper said: "I didn't see one with regard to four embassies". He did not cite any specific intelligence during the interview.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said in a Sunday speech that Trump was the biggest liar in the history of USA presidency, stressing that Qassem Suleimani was not planning for any attack against any United States embassy.

The administration's post-strike justification further evolved on Monday, when the secretary of state offered a mix of reasons for why Soleimani was targeted and why now. U.S. President Donald Trump has said the potential targets included four U.S. embassies.

He cited the resumption of lethal military aid to Ukraine for defense against Russia-backed separatists, Trump's withdrawal from an arms control accord with Moscow and tests of a new USA intermediate-range cruise missile.

Levi and other American services members are suing Iran in an effort to prove the attacks that took their limbs and loved ones were aided by Soleimani's forces.

Without knowledge of any alleged threats, the State Department didn't issue warnings about specific dangers to any U.S. embassy before the administration targeted Qasem Soleimani, Iran's second most powerful official, according to the sources. He says that killing Soleimani was part of the Trump Administration's goal of "real deterrence".

Even as the Trump administration faced questions about just how immediate any threat was, Attorney General William Barr on Monday argued it did not actually matter. Gen. Qassim Soleimani was planning an "imminent" attack, justifying the president's authorization of a drone strike assassination without notifying Congress.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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