By Randi Nord

A tale of a fearless yet humble General

January 4, 2021 - 18:39
“General Soleimani assassination demonstrates Washington's cowardice and love of chaos”

First, I would like to send my condolences to the Iranian people on the first anniversary of General Qassem Soleimani's death. This cowardly act is not a reflection of the general American public who would prefer peace with Iran. People immediately filled the streets across the country condemning Washington's actions and the potential war against Iran. I remember in Detroit alone we had several hundred people in attendance despite the bitterly cold weather.

 One of my best memories of 2020 was the unity I saw after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani. I spoke at an emergency protest in Detroit where we had like 200 people in attendance, including a lot of Palestinian organizers who all spoke fondly of General Soleimani. I remember it was extremely cold that day too. The same week, the Iraqi embassy opened its doors for people to send condolences for the martyrs. I went with a group of friends and we were welcomed inside with tea. We all talked about how this was such a disrespectful violation of sovereignty and they offered to help us get visas if we wanted to visit Iraq ourselves.

U.S. soldiers are quite literally cannon fodder in the eyes of politicians. It wouldn't be beneath the U.S. to stage an attack against its own troops to justify striking Iran, especially seeing as Trump keeps saying that if a single American dies he will strike Iran. The last few weeks of his administration could get dirty. Throughout my entire life, I've watched my government invade, sanction, and sow sectarian violence around the world. 

There are far too many embarrassing and disgraceful actions carried out in my name to count. However, one of the most outright cowardly and chaotic actions I've witnessed happened on January 3, 2020, when Washington decided to assassinate General Qassem Soleimani along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several others. 

Cowardly was indeed the first word that came to my mind. General Soleimani had just arrived at the Iraqi airport on a very public diplomatic visit to meet with Iraq's prime minister. 

As more details emerged, I felt even more shame and embarrassment. Not only was this an extrajudicial killing without any shred of evidence to justify it, but the manner in which they murdered General Soleimani was especially cowardly. Washington ordered a drone strike for this killing. Most drone strikes are carried out remotely, often from within rural strip malls inside the United States or bases in Europe -- thousands of miles from the site of the assassination.

The people operating these unmanned drones are notoriously detached from their targets and the reality of the violence they inflict. Drone strikes are like a video game from the killer's perspective: They require no bravery, skill, or physical fitness. There is absolutely no honor or dignity in a drone strike. Washington understands this and I believe this is why we have not seen Trump award Soleimani's killer with any type of honorable service medal.

Later, I started thinking about how this assassination demonstrates Washington's commitment to chaos in Iraq and the rest of the region. The United States actively armed ISIS in Iraq and other terror groups in Syria. The same country with several active military bases in Iraq -- including several in the northeast -- allowed ISIS to maintain control of Mosul and the surrounding areas for years. 

The poor people of Mosul, which I'm sure your readers know is a religiously diverse area, lived under unthinkable terror for over three years. It took almost a full year to liberate Mosul from ISIS rule and the success was largely thanks to the Popular Mobilization Units trained under General Soleimani. It's the same story in Syria's Raqqa, Homs, and other cities. 

It's hard to say what Iraq and Syria would look like today without General Soleimani's influence but I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty. Unlike the United States, General Soleimani understood the importance of empowering local groups to hold their own and uphold unity to persevere against sectarian terror groups. He was fearless yet humble. 

Just imagine how the United States would respond if Iran assassinated a U.S. general in Mexico on a diplomatic visit just 100 miles from the Texas border. There would be international condemnation, emergency UN Security Council meetings and resolutions, direct military action from a broad coalition of countries, and an ICC investigation and trial against the perpetrators. Washington's decision to assassinate General Soleimani also demonstrates its dedication to chaos in Iraq and elsewhere. The United States would prefer violence and terrorism if a diplomatically independent Iraq is the alternative -- it's the same scenario we see in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and every warzone. 

On that note, the assassination was truly a gross violation of Iraq's sovereignty and an admission of defeat from Washington. General Soleimani was on his way to meet with the Iraqi Prime Minister to discuss peace coordination and the path forward. The United States decided the best course of action was to interfere with this diplomacy by launching a terror attack at the Iraqi airport.

Just imagine how the United States would respond if Iran assassinated a U.S. general in Mexico on a diplomatic visit just 100 miles from the Texas border. There would be international condemnation, emergency UN Security Council meetings and resolutions, direct military action from a broad coalition of countries, and an ICC investigation and trial against the perpetrators. 

Yet we've seen none of this reaction for Washington's irrational and terroristic assassination of General Soleimani. Quite the contrary, the international courts, and organizations have all but laughed in Tehran's face for seeking justice through appropriate channels. Instead, the "international community" remains committed to U.S. hegemony and power, refusing to help. In fact, Tehran was urged to remain calm, peaceful, and collected in response to the cowardly attack on its beloved General.

This shows us the extent to which Washington is willing to put the lives of its own troops at risk to maintain a safe space for its private contractors in Iraq. U.S. soldiers are quite literally cannon fodder in the eyes of politicians. It wouldn't be beneath the U.S. to stage an attack against its own troops to justify striking Iran, especially seeing as Trump keeps saying that if a single American dies he will strike Iran. The last few weeks of his administration could get dirty.

Prior to the assassination, I told Tasnim that Washington is willing to put its own allies and troops at risk to send a message and continue its occupation of Iraq. In late December 2019, Washington had launched airstrikes against Iraq's PMUs. Over the prior summer in 2018, Washington flew a drone into Iran's airspace and condemned Tehran for shooting it down. (I was actually interrogated at the airport that same day. DHS asked why I chose to fly on the day Iran shot down that drone. As if I could have known the U.S. would pick this day to violate Iran's airspace.)

It should be clear to everyone that the United States never has nor will uphold basic human rights and respectful diplomacy. If it did, it would have respected Iraq's wishes and left the country after nearly 20 years of varying levels of occupation.

Unfortunately, many commentators and politicians have pinned the entire blame on Trump rather than acknowledging that this assassination reflects the true nature of U.S. foreign policy: violence, disregard for the sovereignty, and domination at all costs without a shred of accountability.

*Owner and editor of Geopolitics Alert, Randi Nord is a U.S.-based geopolitical analyst and content strategist. She covers U.S. imperialism with a special focus on Yemen, Iran, and Lebanon. She has participated in the UNHRC as a guest of NGOs and speaks at anti-war events.

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