Baghdad (GPA) – It’s time to debunk the common misconceptions floating around and cover important points missing in most mainstream op-eds, analysis, and Tweets about General Qasem Soleimani, the US occupation of Iraq, and Washington’s 67-year aggression against Iran.
9 Things Americans need to know about General Qasem Soleimani’s assassination and the US occupation of Iraq
After Washington’s illegal assassination of Iran’s decorated and beloved general, Qasem Soleimani, media outlets and pundits on both sides of the aisle wasted no time spewing falsehoods. These outlets and journalists rely on the ignorance of readers to peddle their lies and rewrite the narrative.
Indeed, most Americans had never heard the name “Qasem Soleimani” prior to January 2, 2020, but were suddenly instructed to hate him.
Pro-Trump Republicans smeared Soleimani as a terrorist. Liberals and the poor excuse for a left immediately ceded half the ground to Trump’s atrocious actions by starting Twitter rants with phrases like “Yes, Soleimani was an evil man but…”
Americans should be outraged, ashamed, and embarrassed over the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani and not just because Trump is the bad guy of the moment.
This article will debunk the common misconceptions floating around and cover important points missing in most mainstream op-eds, analysis, and Tweets about General Qasem Soleimani, the US occupation of Iraq, and Washington’s 67-year aggression against Iran.
1. The United States lied its way into occupying Iraq 17 years ago.
Who could forget Colin Powell’s famous “weapons of mass destruction” speech at the United Nations on February 5, 2003?
Who could forget that journalist Judith Miller at The New York Times published blatantly false intelligence directly from the CIA about Saddam Hussein hiding WMDs?
The United States knowingly launched a deadly and unjustified assault against Iraq in 2003, began an occupation, and never left. US troops have no business in Iraq. Their purposes are to protect US military contractors and oil facilities while providing a base for launching future attacks against Iran, Syria, and other countries in the region.
It’s imperialism — plain and simple.
288 thousand people have died in Iraq since Washington began its aggression, according to Iraq Body Count, with millions more displaced or injured.
Meanwhile, every US taxpayer has spent $24 thousand on post-9/11 wars with costs totaling nearly $6 trillion. Given recent events, they can only expect to pay more in the coming years.
The United States has no business occupying Iraq and never did.
2. Washington assassinated General Qasem Soleimani less than 100 miles from Iran’s border.
Many Americans may not realize that Iraq and Iran share a 905-mile border. In other words, about half the length of the US-Mexico border.
The drone strike that assassinated General Soleimini occurred at the Baghdad International Airport — less than 100 miles from Iran’s border — with no regard for civilians. That’s about the same distance between Monterrey, Mexico and Laredo, Texas. How would Washington and the international community respond if a US adversary like Cuba assassinated a top-ranking official in Monterrey?
Probably pretty aggressively.
Assassinating General Soleimani anywhere, let alone less than 100 miles from his home on a planned and publicly announced diplomatic visit, is a blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and declaration of war.
3. The United States has Iran completely surrounded with military bases.
The map below doesn’t show the 12 known US bases in Iraq but it does demonstrate the US military buildup around Iran, particularly in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
Many Americans have no idea why Iran and the United States have such a sordid history. Most just assume the relationship is naturally hostile, almost cartoonish.
In 1953, Washington and London overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader, Mohammad Mossadegh, in a coup d’etat for the crime of nationalizing Iran’s vast oil supply to benefit the Iranian people instead of western companies. Western powers installed the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Shah regime who gladly signed deals with British Petroleum and other foreign oil contractors for profit. (Yes, that BP).
After nearly two decades of stolen wealth and austerity, the Iranian people rose up, overthrew the Shah, kicked out the Americans and Brits, and the Islamic Revolution was born.
Washington has resented Iran ever since. Every US president since 1979 has made it their mission to punish Iran with sanctions, violence, and overthrow until they decide to “play nice” with global capital.
Sometimes, US presidents will focus on sanctions and attack Iran’s allies (such as the case with Obama). Other times, US presidents will take a more direct approach as Trump did by assassinating General Qasem Soleimani. Regardless, American violence and aggression never let up.
But it’s not all about the oil. Iran is a thorn in Washington’s side in the entire region for all the right reasons. Through its Quds Force (which General Soleimani lead until his assassination), Iran supported countries and entities around the region who also shared the goal of removing US military, political, and financial control.
That’s why Washington and virtually all US officials, journalists, and pundits call Soleimani a terrorist leader and “evil man:” He was leading the fight against American capital and interests in the entire Middle East region.
4. General Qasem Soleimani led the fight to eradicate Daesh (ISIS) in the entire region.
As commander of Iran’s regional Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani was tasked with leading the fight against Daesh (ISIS).
Washington, on the other hand, routinely supplied weapons and equipment to Daesh — sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, sometimes covertly, sometimes overtly.
Remember when the United States armed the violent and reactionary Taliban to fight against the Soviets and communist government in Afghanistan? Yeah, it’s kind of like that except, in this case, Daesh was used to attack Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and other countries in the region that Washington and Israel didn’t like.
Plus, the fight against Daesh gave the United States the perfect excuse to continue its occupation of Iraq. The poor civilians in Mosul, for example, lived under Daesh terror for two solid years between 2014 and 2016.
While Washington and their allies in Tel Aviv and Riyadh were funneling weapons and equipment to Daesh, General Soleimani was strategizing the terror group’s defeat with great success. Even mainstream media sources acknowledged that Soleimani was the mastermind behind Daesh’s defeat in Iraq and Syria where the terror group enjoyed their stronghold.
General Soleimani saved countless lives in the region and even the west where Daesh-inspired radicals began carrying out terror attacks. The world is a safer place today because of Soleimani.
5. The PMUs helped defeat ISIS as part of the US coalition and are part of the Iraqi army.
Washington has conveniently failed to mention that prior to this violent escalation against Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, the United States had armed them with weapons as part of the fight against Daesh in Iraq.
The photo below shows a faction training under the command of the US Marines. After the victory over Daesh, the PMUs were officially integrated into the Iraqi army and the United States declared them “Iranian-backed militias.”
6. The US hasn’t stopped airstrikes and deploying troops even after the assassination.
Donald Trump claims his decision to assassinate General Soleimani in a precision strike was to “stop a war, not to start one.”
His military actions since the assassination prove that Washington does indeed want war with Iran in Iraq.
Washington began the recent round of aggression by attacking Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and killing 25 people despite a peace agreement between Baghdad and Washington to avoid this exact situation. After Soleimani’s assassination, Washington continued airstrikes on PMU targets throughout the country.
Not only that, but the United States announced plans to send some 4,000 troops to the region and 1,000 reportedly arrived in Iraq on Saturday.
It’s clear that General Soleimani’s assassination was intended to be a catalyst for a broader war against Iran.
7. Soleimani and Iran were never planning an attack on Americans.
Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and other US officials claim that General Soleimani was planning an “imminent attack” on Americans.
The State Department has provided absolutely no tangible evidence beyond citing that Soleimani had traveled between Damascus, Baghdad, and Tehran — a normal itinerary for a general with troops stationed in the region.
Using the same logic, would a situation that involves Pompeo traveling to Riyadh, Tel Aviv, and Abu Dhabi signal that Washington was planning an attack on Iran and justify Pompeo’s assassination? Of course not.
The real danger here is the rhetoric: State Department officials ambiguously claim Iran was planning an attack on “Americans,” as if Tehran planned to kidnap or kill US citizens in Beirut or Baghdad. That’s absolutely not the case.
As a general rule, whenever Washington claims that Iran (or any foreign power) is plotting an attack on “Americans,” they typically mean American interests like occupying US troops, Blackwater mercenaries, or wealthy military contractors exploiting resources — NOT innocent American citizens.
Regardless, Washington hasn’t provided any proof that Iran or Soleimani himself were orchestrating any kind of attack and you shouldn’t hold your breath for it either.
8. Soleimani and Iran had nothing to do with 9/11.
Given Vice President Pence’s recent Twitter rant, this apparently needs to be said. Iran had nothing to do with 9/11. They didn’t train, aid, or assist any of the hijackers.
On the contrary, many of the 19 hijackers did have questionable links to the Saudi government. Not to mention, families of the 9/11 victims are still waging a seemingly futile court battle against the Saudi government for its role in the attack.
Saudi Arabia is a key ally of the United States and its ideology, Wahhabism, is identical to the backward, intolerant, and violent ideology of Daesh and al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia even funds schools around the world in places like the Balkans, China, and Europe to spread their extremist ideology and encourage global terrorism.
One thing I've learned in my lifetime is to not believe our government when it comes to matters of war. Johnson and Nixon lied about Viet Nam. Bush and Cheney lied about WMD's in Iraq. Now Pence is lying about Iran/Soleimani's supposed involvement in 9/11. https://t.co/jm3oex867A
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) January 3, 2020
9. Americans can’t understand what Soleimani meant to Iran.
It’s safe to say that the United States does not have a coherent ideological system beyond free market capitalism and colonialism.
It’s evident today more than ever that US citizens do not share any type of coherent political, spiritual, or ethical system. That’s exactly why average Americans will never understand what General Qasem Soleimani meant to Iranians and how his assassination impacted them.
Even Iranians living abroad who do not support the current government are mourning the loss of Soleimani for who he was and what he represented.
Some writers have called Soleimani the “Muslim Che Guevara” due to his success leading resistance movements against US imperialism around the region. He was called “the living martyr” by many and embodied Iran’s revolution.
As Ramin Mazaheri writes for Press TV:
The Iranian revolution is just as international in scope and reach as the Cuban revolution Che was a part of creating and defending. Iran’s critics say they want to turn every Muslim into a Shia and make the laws of Iran the laws of the entire world but that is obviously the hubris of the imperialist West – Iran’s progressive goal is not control but liberation of the masses and then their empowerment.
Thanks in large part to Soleimani’s efforts, after so many decades of Western-led corruption, hate and brutality Iraq appears strong enough that they may even be able to expel the US immediately and even peacefully. I don’t think Soleimani would ask for any greater legacy than that – this is what he died for.
The United States must end its occupation of Iraq immediately.
Washington entered Iraq based on lies and kept conjuring up excuses to maintain its presence and exploitation of Iraq’s resources and land.
The last Iraqi elections displayed hope for the future of the country. The latest protests and Iraqi parliament vote to expel US forces show that the Iraqi people and government are finally prepared to kick the US troops out for good.
US troops in Iraq serve no humanitarian purpose that Iraq can’t receive from its neighbors and less aggressive allies. The US occupation of Iraq has resulted in atrocities such as unspeakable torture in Abu Ghraib, Daesh, thousands of civilian deaths, millions of refugees, and now the brink of war with Iran.
The United States only cares about Iraq for two key reasons: providing profit for American contractors and using the country as a massive base to plot attacks against Iraq’s neighbors. After nearly 20 years of occupation, the Iraqi people deserve to live in peace. Iran deserves to have the threat of US and Israeli aggression removed from its borders.
The only solution is for Washington to pull its troops out of Iraq now.
Featured photo: Khamenei.ir
Founder and editor of Geopolitics Alert, Randi Nord is a US-based geopolitical analyst and content strategist. She covers US imperialism with a special focus on Yemen, Iran, and Lebanon. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she started learning about the media’s pivotal role in selling “humanitarian” interventions as a teenager during the aftermath of 9/11 and Iraq war. Randi Nord has lived in the Empire’s neoliberal tropical paradise (Kingdom of Hawai’i) and Lebanon. She frequently participates in the UN Human Rights Council as a guest of NGOs speaking about Yemen.