Soleimani played ‘vital role’ in fighting terrorism: American analyst

January 3, 2021 - 20:54

TEHRAN – An American political analyst says Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani played a “vital” role in fighting against terrorism in the region, especially the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group.

“I understand that he was a person of great integrity and high principles. His role in fighting terrorism was vital: He was a key figure in the anti-Daesh leadership,” Patrick Lawrence told Tasnim in an interview published on Saturday.

“To begin, the criminal assassination of Qassem Soleimani a year ago this week was not President Trump’s decision. As we have seen many times over the past four years, those around Trump imposed foreign policy decisions upon him,” Lawrence said.

He said that Soleimani’s assassination was the doing of U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper, adding that the two American officials presented the plan to Trump as a fait accompli a matter of hours before the drone strike occurred.

January 3 marked the first anniversary of the U.S. assassination of General Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s IRGC Quds Force. He was admired as West Asia’s most influential anti-terror commander.

He was martyred in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad during an official visit. His Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi anti-terror force, was also killed along with their other companions when their convoy was hit.

Lawrence said the role of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in the assassination is not entirely clear at this point. “However, coordination among the U.S. and these nations is now a well-established reality.”

On the possibility of an attack against Iran, he said, “I don’t think there is any real threat of an attack on Iran.”

“The Pentagon generals know any such thing would be foolhardy, and [Iranian] Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif has been clear about the Islamic Republic’s willingness to respond as necessary for its self-defense. In my judgment, this is a final bit of theater authorized by Pompeo in his final days in office,” he argued.

On the characteristics of General Soleimani, the American analyst said Soleimani was a person of great integrity and high principles, who was en route to Saudi Arabia to advance efforts toward a rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran, having stopped in Baghdad to confer with the Iraqi prime minister.

“I can’t think of a worthier and more important contribution to the cause of regional peace and security,” he stated.

He also said the assassination of General Soleimani was a “turning point” in the effort to get U.S. troops out of West Asia.

“It turned Iraqis decisively against the U.S. presence on Iraqi soil, and one is sure the rest of the region was watching. I would like to see that tragic event as a key moment in Iran’s effort to forge a regional security pact and the mechanisms to make it work,” he concluded.

MH/PA

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