[News] With Suleimani Assassination, Trump Is Doing the Bidding of Washington’s Most Vile Cabal

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jan 4 12:55:12 EST 2020


https://theintercept.com/2020/01/03/qassim-suleimani-assassination-trump-administration-war/
With
Suleimani Assassination, Trump Is Doing the Bidding of Washington’s Most
Vile Cabal
Jeremy Scahill - January 4,2020
------------------------------

*While the media* focus for three years of the Trump presidency has
centered around “Russia collusion” and impeachment, the most dangerous
collusion of all was happening right out in the open — the
Trump/Saudi/Israel/UAE drive to war with Iran
<https://theintercept.com/2018/06/10/more-than-just-russia-theres-a-strong-case-for-the-trump-team-colluding-with-saudi-arabia-israel-and-the-uae/>
.

On August 3, 2016 — just three months before Donald Trump would win the
Electoral College vote and ascend to power — Blackwater founder Erik Prince
arranged a meeting at Trump Tower. For decades, Prince had been agitating
for a war with Iran and, as early as 2010, had developed a fantastical
proposal for using mercenaries to wage it.

At this meeting was George Nader, an American citizen who had a long
history of being a quiet emissary for the United States in the Middle East.
Nader, who had also worked for Blackwater and Prince, was a convicted
pedophile in the Czech Republic and is facing similar allegations in the
United States. Nader worked as an adviser for the Emirati royals and has
close ties to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince.

There was also an Israeli at the Trump Tower meeting: Joel Zamel. He was
there supposedly pitching a multimillion-dollar social media manipulation
campaign to the Trump team. Zamel’s company, Psy-Group, boasts of employing
former Israeli intelligence operatives. Nader and Zamel were joined by
Donald Trump Jr. According to the New York Times, the purpose of the meeting
<https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/19/us/politics/trump-jr-saudi-uae-nader-prince-zamel.html>
was “primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships
between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming
months, past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in
office.”

One major common goal ran through the agendas of all the participants in
this Trump Tower meeting: regime change in Iran. Trump campaigned on
belligerence toward Iran and trashing the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, and
he has followed through on those threats, filling his administration with
the most vile, hawkish figures in the U.S. national security establishment.
After appointing notorious warmonger John Bolton as national security
adviser, Trump fired him last September. But despite reports that Trump had
soured on Bolton because of his interventionist posture toward Iran,
Bolton’s firing merely opened the door for the equally belligerent Mike
Pompeo to take over the administration’s Iran policy at the State
Department. Now Pompeo is the public face of the Suleimani assassination,
while for his part, the fired Bolton didn’t want to be left out of the
gruesome victory lap:

Trump, who had no idea who Qassim Suleimani was
<https://theintercept.com/2020/01/03/four-years-ago-trump-had-no-clue-who-irans-suleimani-was-now-he-may-have-kicked-off-wwiii/>
until it was explained to him live on the radio by conservative journalist
Hugh Hewitt in 2015, didn’t seem to need many details to know that he
wanted to crush the Iranian state.

Much as the neoconservatives came to power in 2001 after the election of
George W. Bush with the goal of regime change in Iraq, Trump in his
bumbling way assembled a team of extremists who viewed him as their best
chance of wiping the Islamic Republic of Iran off the map.

While Barack Obama provided crucial military and intelligence support for
Saudi Arabia’s scorched earth campaign in Yemen, which killed untold
numbers of civilians, Trump escalated that mass murder in a blatant effort
to draw Iran militarily into a conflict. That was the agenda of the gulf
monarchies and Israel, and it coincided neatly with the neoconservative
dreams of overthrowing the Iranian government. As the U.S. and Saudi Arabia
intensified their military attacks in Yemen, Iran began to insert itself
more and more forcefully into Yemeni affairs, though Tehran was careful not
to be tricked into offering this Trump/Saudi/UAE/Israel coalition a
justification for wider war.

[image: Protesters shout slogans against the United States and Israel as
they hold posters with the image of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani,
who was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq, and Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani during a demonstration in the Kashmiri town of Magam on January 3,
2020. - Hundreds of people in Indian Kashmir staged "anti-American"
demonstrations in the troubled territory on January 3 within hours of US
forces killing a top Iranian commander. (Photo by Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP)
(Photo by TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images)]

Protesters shout slogans against the United States and Israel as they hold
posters with the image of top Iranian commander Qassim Suleimani, who was
killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
during a demonstration in the Kashmiri town of Magam on Jan. 3, 2020.

Photo: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

The assassination of Suleimani — a popular figure in Iran who is viewed as
one of the major drivers of ISIS’s defeat in Iraq — was one of only a
handful of actions that the U.S. could have taken that would almost
certainly lead to a war with Iran. This assassination, reportedly ordered
directly by Trump, was advocated by the most dangerous and extreme players
in the U.S. foreign policy establishment with that exact intent.

Assassination has been a central component of U.S. policy for many decades,
though it has been whitewashed and normalized throughout history, most
recently with Obama’s favored term, “targeted killings.” The U.S. Congress
has intentionally never legislated the issue of assassination. Lawmakers
have avoided even defining <http://fas.org/irp/crs/RS21037.pdf> the word
“assassination.” While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an
executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, they have each
carried out assassinations with little to no congressional outcry.

In 1976, following Church Committee recommendations regarding allegations
of assassination plots carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, Ford
signed an executive order banning “political assassination.” Jimmy Carter
subsequently issued a new order strengthening the prohibition by dropping
the word “political” and extending it to include persons “employed by or
acting on behalf of the United States.” In 1981, Ronald Reagan signed
Executive Order 12333, which remains in effect today. The language seems
clear enough: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United
States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”

As I wrote
<https://theintercept.com/2017/08/21/trump-may-not-survive-his-term-but-the-assassination-complex-will/>
in August 2017, reflecting on our Drone Papers
<https://theintercept.com/drone-papers/> series from two years earlier,
“The Obama administration, by institutionalizing a policy of drone-based
killings of individuals judged to pose a threat to national security —
without indictment or trial, through secret processes — bequeathed to our
political culture, and thus to Donald Trump, a policy of assassination, in
direct violation of Executive Order 12333 and, moreover, the Fifth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. To date, at least seven U.S. citizens
are known to have been killed under this policy, including a 16-year-old
boy. Only one American, the radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, was said to
have been the ‘intended target’ of a strike.”

There’s no justification for assassinating foreign officials, including
Suleimani.

While many Democratic politicians are offering their concerns about the
consequences of Suleimani’s assassination, they are prefacing it with
remarks about how atrocious Suleimani was. Framing his assassination that
way ultimately benefits the extremist cabal of foreign policy hawks who
agitated for this very moment to arrive. There’s no justification for
assassinating foreign officials, including Suleimani. This is an aggressive
act of war, an offensive act committed by the U.S. on the sovereign
territory of a third country, Iraq. This assassination and the potential
for a war it raises are, unfortunately, consistent with more than half a
century of U.S. aggression against Iran and Iraq.

For three years, many Democrats have told the country that Trump is the
gravest threat to a democratic system we have faced. And yet many leading
Democrats have voted consistently to give Trump unprecedented military
budgets and surveillance powers.

Five months ago, California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna offered an amendment
to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited this
very type of action, but it was removed from the final bill. “Any member
who voted for the NDAA — a blank check — can’t now express dismay that
Trump may have launched another war in the Middle East,” Khanna wrote
<https://twitter.com/RepRoKhanna/status/1212928766911143941> on Twitter
after Suleimani’s assassination. “My Amendment, which was stripped, would
have cut off $$ for any offensive attack against Iran including against
officials like Soleimani.”

Trump is responsible for whatever comes next. But time and again, the worst
foreign policy atrocities of his presidency have been enabled by the very
politicians who claim to want him removed from office.
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