- Soleimani is celebrated in Iran today as a martyr.
- Trump allegedly saw Soleimani as a serious threat.
- A missile was named after Soleimani.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly begged US President Donald Trump to scrap plans to assassinate Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani. This is according to a new tell-all book by journalist Bob Woodward called “Rage”. The book reveals the events leading up to the assassination Soleimani.
It divulges that Graham and Mick Mulvaney, who was at the time the White House chief of staff had sought to discourage the president from going ahead with his intended plan. They apparently feared that the assassination would trigger a war between the two countries.
Trump allegedly saw Soleimani as a serious threat that needed to be taken out because of his robust, coordinated network of Iranian proxies in foreign countries. The semi-autonomous groups were found to have planned attacks against US soldiers.
Publicly, Graham appeared to support Trump’s decision in the aftermath of Soleimani’s slaying, stating, “This was a preemptive, defensive strike planned to take out the organizer of attacks yet to come.
The intelligence was very strong that Soleimani was orchestrating chaos in Iraq at our expense and throughout the region. The president was informed of these potential attacks, and he acted.”
Trump ordered airstrikes on General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January. Muhandis was a commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
Internationally, Soleimani was recognized as an army leader who oversaw attacks against terrorist groups in the region, which included ISIS-allied groups. Members of the militant group even celebrated his assassination.
Following his execution, the Iranian leadership scrambled to find a way to avenge his death, but has so far remained subdued. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Baharvand stated in June that his nation was pursuing justice for Soleimani’s assassination via international bodies.
Shortly after the missile strike, Iran abandoned its resolve to stick to the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Trump administration had unilaterally walked away from in May 2018.
Events Leading to His Assassination
Before Soleimani’s death, Shiite paramilitary groups allied to Iran were accused of carrying out reprisal attacks on US military bases in the region. They reportedly also launched attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad. This particular attack began with protests against American airstrikes that had targeted Iranian-backed proxy groups in Iraq.
Soleimani was at the time the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. The group specialized in carrying out attacks outside Iran. It also offered military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army.
He was considered a central figure to conflicts in the region with strong ties to Hezbollah and Hamas.
Soleimani is celebrated today in Iran as a martyr. In August, Iran announced two new missile models and one of them was named after him. The other was named after, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a military commander who shared the same fate. The unveiling occurred amid rising tensions with the United States.