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Qassem Soleimani, the IRGC, and why the “General” had to die

Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

[Note: I received the following insights over the weekend from the same veteran who has contributed here previously. It is fairly long, but well worth the read if you want to really understand why Soleimani’s killing was not only justified, but essentially mandatory for any U.S. President interested in doing his job properly.  I have added some bolding for emphasis.]

From: A Veteran with 20+ years of service, a Naval Aviator who flew combat missions in Iraq, and had 15+ years in counter-terrorism.  Also served as a flight instructor at NAS Pensacola. 

Over the past several days, I’ve watched the Network News and various news outlets struggle with the reporting on the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani (IRCG, Quds Commander).  While it has been infuriating watching Democrats from the media through presidential candidates lament the death of the world’s leading terrorist, much of that is born of ignorance to the region and simply not knowing who Qassem Soleimani was or what he was responsible for.

Some CRITICAL background information needed to understand what is going on with regard this termination.

All middle east discussions have to start with viewing of conflicts based not on borders or nations, but primarily as Sunni or Shia.  If you have 9 minutes to start an understanding on middle-east issues, the video linked here is a must-watch

If you don’t have 9 minutes, the Cliff’s notes are thus:

After Muhammad died, Islam split based on who they thought should rule.  Sunni Muslims thought that direct descendants of Muhammad should rule the Islamic World.  Shiite (Shia) Muslims think that Islam should be led by Clerics.  Much in the way that Christianity fought centuries of wars from the middle of the 1400’s with the Hussite Rebellion in the Czech Republic (the first sparks of Protestantism) through the 30 years war (ending in 1648) against itself…Islam has never had an equivalent of the Peace of Westphalia, and the rival sects have killed millions of each other in Allah’s name over the centuries. Islamic Empires (and now nations) have very rarely fought a secular war.  It is either Jihad for expansion  (the last one of those ended Sept 11th, 1683 in Vienna) or against Israel (the Great Satan), or an effort to impose their brand of Islam on others.

When applying the Sunni/Shia split to Iran, that nation is virtually exclusive Shia, as reflected in their Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.  The first portion of that name, “Ali” is a title that infers his position as the head of Shiite Islam.  While Iran has an elected President and other houses of Government, as an Islamic Theocracy, Ali Khamenei’s position supersedes all elected officials, and he is also the head cleric of a large portion of the Islamic world.

This religious position is critical for Iranian influence around the world, as Shia Muslims outside of Iran will typically have primary allegiance to Ali over any local government.  Additionally, the punishments for denial of this authority are well beyond a fine or prison time.  Refusal to submit to the authority of Ali is often punished as apostasy which carries the penalty of death.  Briefly imagine the complexities of being an Iraqi Police Commander and your force is a mix of Sunni and Shia police officers.

So, what is the IRGC, and the Quds Force, and why did Qassem Soleimani need to die?

Just as we have covered that Iran has a secular style of government and a religious government, it also has parallel military forces.  Iran maintains a “regular” Army, Navy, and Air Force that are organized along standard structures.  Parallel to these forces, Iran also maintains the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) which follows only the orders of Ali Khamenei.  The IRGC’s mission is essentially in its name: It Guards the Revolution, and that revolution was to make Shia Islam the ruling force of Iran (when the Shah was deposed) and spread that influence across the globe.

The IRGC has components that mirror Army, Navy, Special Forces, and Intelligence structures.  When you hear talking heads on TV say things like “Iran is behind this” or “Iranian backed rebels,” they are talking about influence that is exported via the IRGC, specifically the Quds force which was led by Qassem Soleimani.

When Americans think of famous terrorists, the first to come to mind is Usama Bin Laden.  While UBL’s name came to prominence after the September 11th attacks until his ultimate demise, the reach and resources of Al Qaeda paled in comparison to what Iran has done over the past 40+ years.

Over the last two decades, every terrorist action or Shiite Rebel Campaign has come at the direction of Qassem Soleimani.

There has been the data point that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of 603 American troops in Iraq. While this is true, it is an incredibly small line item in the overall bill that we owed Soleimani as that number was due to a specific munition that was traced to Iran and the IRGC.

The broader truth is that Iran used the IRGC Quds force as their focal point for exerting Shia influence in Iraq since the U.S. removal of Saddam Hussein.  10+ years of insurgency and interference with the best chance Democracy has ever had in the middle east were led by Qassem Soleimani.  Oh, and all of the conflicts in Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Gaza are his responsibility as well.

To understand just how important Qassem Soleimani is, consider that his responsibilities are essentially the same as our: Head of CIA, Head of Secret Service, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and 4 Star SOCOM Commander.  An absurd claim by the media was that Soleimani was our “ally against ISIS”.  It is true that Shia militias backed by the IRGC fought against ISIS (which was Sunni).  At no point did the United States ever ally ourselves with the IRGC or Qassem Soleimani.  The better analogy is that Iran is Shia version of ISIS, they just have control of a nation and international standing (by virtue of their revolution, allowed by Jimmy Carter) and ISIS’ territory and government never gained international recognition…and Trump crushed ISIS.

Why did he have to die?

This is the question that the mainstream media has been tripping over themselves in failed attempts to answer.

His record of deploying weapons to insurgents to use against US Troops is enough to warrant his death sentence for any reasonable person.  The balance of his list of war crimes and crimes against humanity should be enough to remove any doubt.

What finally got him terminated was the brazen attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad last week.  It is frankly shocking that a man in this position felt comfortable moving freely about Iraq and directing this attack personally.  It is stupefying that US Media outlets covered that attack as “mourners” marching on the embassy.  Some of them probably still believe that the attack in Benghazi was because of a youtube video.  President Trump had previously warned Iran after they shot down a drone that they would bear an extreme price if they “shot at anything American” again.

In this case, all of the diplomatic finger pointing was skipped.  There was no trial in the media or on the floor of the UN where we produced pictures of the General at the Airport and made a case to the international community.  The trial phase took place in a SCIF, and Soleimani’s sentence was delivered by the red-button of a REAPER operator watching the cross hairs on his FLIR display.  That poor pilot didn’t even get to hear the “woosh” of the weapon leaving the rail.

Iran has announced that they are going to have “Three Days of Mourning”.  I personally think that translates to “Give us 72 hours to try and figure out just how badly we have screwed up.”  I don’t have any bold predictions on how Iran will respond, if at all.

Certainly, there will be bluster.  Senator Lindsey Graham has already mentioned just how easily Iran could be put out of the Oil Business.  My friends in Naval Aviation assure me that can happen in a day.  I do not think the Iranian leadership can survive much longer if economics don’t change.

The ball is squarely in Iran’s court at this point.  President Trump made it clear that he prefers to negotiate, and this week’s actions show that he is a man of his word, and he won’t hesitate to “whack a made man”.  Iran’s regular military should be respected, but not feared.  If Iran chooses to attack a capital asset like a Navy Warship or launch missile attack against a Saudi Airbase, the response would be overwhelming.

We’ll see.

[End]

That is all.

 

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Tucker Carlson Makes Some Good, and not-so-Good Points on Iran

Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Just to be clear, one of the main reasons why I supported Donald Trump for the presidency in 2016 was his promise to scale down the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and end our military intervention in the no fewer than 8 regional conflicts in which his predecessors in office had the U.S. involved.

The President has by and large kept that promise, slowly but surely scaling down our country’s involvement in hellholes like Syria and Afghanistan. At the same time, he has largely avoided the siren song from his neocon and Obama holdover advisers to involve the U.S. military directly in additional conflicts in the region.

As a result, I’m generally in agreement with Fox prime time host Tucker Carlson’s position on international affairs. Carlson is a down-the-line non-interventionist, and that’s generally a good thing. He also spends a lot of time hilariously mocking neocon, never-Trump nitwits like Max Boot and Bill Kristol, which is another definite badge of honor on his chest.

But last night, Carlson went a bit over the line, comparing the U.S. killing of Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani to a situation in which Iran were to kill America’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling it an “act of war.” Well, it was an act of war, given that Soleimani was a leader of warriors who was killed as he was actively planning more attacks on American lives. That’s why he was killed – because he has been at war with the United States and our people throughout his entire adult life.

But the analogy Carlson draws here is not apt, because it legitimizes Soleimani and his actions. Soleimani was a terrorist, not a legitimate military leader – if we cannot draw that distinction, then we should just give up the idea of civilization in general. That having been said, Carlson did make some fine points about the neverending war lobby that is constituted and led by nitwits like Boot and Kristol and John Bolton:

“‘Threats in the region,’” he said, mimicking Mike Pompeo’s statement of the reason why Soleimani was taken out. “If you don’t live in Washington, here’s the translation. That would be in hostile middle eastern countries, places where American troops would never be in the first place, were it not for the insistent demands of non-geniuses like Max Boot and John Bolton. But never mind. No one in Washington is in the mood for big-picture questions right now, questions, the obvious ones, like: Is Iran really the greatest threat we face? And: who’s actually benefiting from this? And: why are we continuing to ignore the decline of our own country in favor of jumping into another quagmire, from which there’s no obvious exit? By the way, if we’re still in Afghanistan 19 sad years later, what makes us think there’s a quick way out of Iran?”

He continued, “Before we enter into a single new war, there’s a criterion that ought to be met. Our leaders should explain to us how that conflict will make the United States richer and more secure,” Carlson contended. “There are an awful lot of bad people in this world. We can’t kill them all. It’s not our job. Instead, our government exists to defend and promote the interests of American citizens. Period. That’s why we have a government. So, how has the killing of Soleimani done that? Maybe. No one in Washington has explained how.”

Those are all excellent points that thinking Americans – and President Trump – should keep in mind. The people in Washington DC agitating for outright war with Iran today are the very same people who got us into all these interminable quagmires in that region in the first place. They should be shunned and ignored.

But Carlson does miss the crucial point that made the retaliation against Soleimani and Iran an imperative in this case: Soleimani had just organized and led an effort to storm the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Hundreds of American lives were jeopardized in the process. That is why Soleimani was in Baghdad in the first place.

As Carlson rightly says, we can’t kill all the bad people in the world. However, we can and must kill terrorist leaders like Soleimani when the opportunity presents itself, in order to prevent their taking more American lives in the future.

As I pointed out on Thursday, our diplomatic embassies are U.S. soil, and must be defended as we would defend our homeland. The failure by the Obama White House and Pentagon to do that in Benghazi got four Americans killed by a mob similar to what we saw in Baghdad this week.

Carlson is correct to warn against being drawn into a larger, general war with Iran. That is a war we could “win” in about a week, but would then end up spending trillions of U.S. dollars and untold numbers of U.S. lives in the years to come trying to rebuild that country and keep the illusional “peace,” as we have done over the last 18 years in Afghanistan and 17 years in Iraq.

But he is wrong to condemn the killing of Soleimani: That act was not only absolutely justified, but entirely necessary. God Bless President Trump for having the wisdom to authorize it.

That is all.

 

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Watch and Read: President Trump’s Statement on Soleimani Drone Strike

Today’s Campaign Update, Part III
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Since the corrupt news media invariably insists on putting its own corrupt and false spin on any remarks made by U.S. President Donald Trump, we here at the Campaign Update have decided to perform a public service.

Here is a video clip of President Trump’s statement on the U.S. military drone strike that eliminated Soleimani, followed by a transcript of the remarks, free of any commentary whatsoever:

Here’s the Transcript:

Thank you very much and good afternoon. As President, my highest and most solemn duty is the defense of our nation and its citizens. Last night at my direction, the United States military very successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number one terrorist anywhere in the world, Qassem Soleimani.

Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act, and terminated him. Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous to terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American: We will find you, we will eliminate you, we will always protect our diplomats, our military members, all Americans, and our allies.

For years, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps and its ruthless Quds force under Soleimani’s leadership has targeted, injured and murdered hundreds of American civilians and service men. The recent attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed an American and injured four Americans very badly, as well as the violent assault on our Embassy in Baghdad, were carried out at the direction of Soleimani.

Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London. Today we honor and remember the victims of Soleimani’s many atrocities and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over.

Soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilize the Middle East for the last 20 years. What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved.

Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protesters in Iran, where more than 1,000 innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government.  We took action last night to stop a war; we did not take action to start a war.

I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change; however, the Iranian regime’s aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors, must end and it must end now.

The future belongs to the people of Iran: Those who seek peaceful co-existence and cooperation, not the terrorists and warlords who plunder their nation to finance bloodshed abroad.

The United States has the best military, by far, anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. That in particular refers to Iran.

Under my leadership we have destroyed the ISIS territorial Caliphate, and recently American special operations forces killed the terrorist leader known as Al Baghdadi. The world is a safer place without these monsters.

America will always pursue the interests of good people, great people, great souls, while seeking peace, harmony and friendship with all the nations of the world.

Thank you, God bless you, God bless our great military and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

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That is all.

 

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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