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As Israel’s role in Soleimani strike is revealed, Hezbollah’s Nasrallah warned he could be next

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As the region reels from a tumultuous week of tensions between the US and Iran, new information has come to light, alleging that the sole foreign leader who knew of US President Trump’s plans to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Reports surfaced over the weekend that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed Netanyahu on the strike ahead of time, and thanked the premiere for Israel’s role in the strike.

US media reported that the Israeli state provided key intelligence to the Americans confirming intelligence the US had received about Soleimani’s travel plans and whereabouts leading up to the strike on his convoy at the Baghdad International Airport on January 3rd.

While the rest of the world’s leaders remained in the dark about the US plans, Netanyahu spoke to reporters at the Tel Aviv airport hours before Soleimani’s vehicle was targeted by a drone strike, affirming his support for the United States’ “its full right to defend itself and its citizens.”

“We know that our region is stormy; very, very dramatic things are happening in it,” Netanyahu said. “We are alert and are monitoring the situation. We are in continuous contact with our great friend the US, including my conversation yesterday afternoon.”

On Friday, Iran reportedly warned Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that he could be the next target of the US military, according to a Channel 13 report by journalist Ronen Bergman, who co-authored the in-depth New York Times report on the past week’s tensions.

The report added that Nasrallah was instructed to beef up his security after the attack on Soleimani.

According to the Times of Israel, following the Channel 13 report, Likud Minister Yoav Gallant, a high-level Israeli security official, warned that Nasrallah “should be wary” as he is “the most prominent figure left in Middle Eastern terror,” following the US killings of Soleimani, Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi over the past few years.

By Sunday, Nasrallah had gone public with threats that any further aggression against Iran or US refusal to withdraw troops from the region would result in retaliatory attacks from Hezbollah

“If in the coming days or weeks the US doesn’t withdraw its forces from the Middle East, the American soldiers will return to the US in coffins,” Nasrallah said during a memorial ceremony for Soleimani, with whom he maintained close ties.

Nasrallah went on to say that Iran’s retaliatory strikes on the American military bases in Iraq sent a “strong message to the Zionist entity,” and that any future attacks on Iran could warrant attacks on Israel.

On Monday afternoon, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted in both Hebrew and Arabic about Nasrallah’s “attacks” on Netanyahu and threats against Israel.

“If he [Nasrallah] challenges Israel – that won’t help him either,” Katz wrote, referring to the bunker that Israel claims Nasrallah has been hiding in since 2006 out of fear of being targeted by Israel.

Over the weekend, Katz had postponed a planned visit to Dubai over alleged security concerns amid the US-Iran tensions.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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23 Responses

  1. Misterioso on January 13, 2020, 3:44 pm

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-intel-helped-the-united-states-to-take-out-soleimani-report-says-1.8382401?utm_term=20200112-08%3A11&utm_campaign=Haaretz&utm_medium=email&writerAlerts=true&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_content=www.haaretz.com%2Fisrael-news%2F1.8382401

    “Israeli Intel Helped the United States to Take Out Soleimani, Report Says”

    “Informants at the Damascus international airport tipped off the CIA about the time Soleimani’s plane took off for Baghdad, while Israel confirmed the information provided to the Americans.”

    Haaretz, Jan. 12/20

    “Israeli intelligence helped the United States to assassinate Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in near Baghdad, NBC reported on Friday.

    “According to the report, informants at the Damascus international airport tipped off the CIA about the time Soleimani’s plane took off for Baghdad, while Israel confirmed the intelligence provided to the Americans.

    “According to The New York Times, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before Soleimani was assassinated, being the only leader in the region that was informed about the operation.

    “As the Cham Wings Airbus A320 carrying Soleimani landed outside the Iraqi capital, CIA agents at the Baghdad International Airport confirmed the exact location of the plane, the NBC report said.

    “Then, U.S. drones armed with four Hellfire missiles, moved into position in the Iraqi airspace, fully controlled by American forces.

    “In a bid to unravel the chain of events that led to Soleimani’s killing, NBC interviewed two sources directly familiar with the details of the operation that took out the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, as well as other senior officials who were informed about it.

    “Iraqi authorities are currently holding four people suspected of aiding the U.S. – two Baghdad airport employees and two Cham Wings airline workers, who are believed to be part of a broader network that provided information about Soleimani to the United States. The authorities suspect that the four informed the CIA about Soleimani’s arrival in Iraq on the night he was killed.

    “In addition, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday that their country carried out a secret operation in Yemen that targeted, but failed to kill, an Iranian military official last week.

    “The strike was carried out on the same day that the United States struck Soleimani, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    “The timing could suggest that the United States had sought to take out a broader swathe of the Iranian military leadership when it killed Soleimani, citing an imminent threat from him.

    “The Pentagon declined comment on the failed strike in Yemen, first reported by the Washington Post.

    “U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the United States killed Soleimani because ‘they were looking to blow up our embassy.’

    “Trump said the United States also carried out the strike because of a rocket attack on a U.S. military base in Iraq by an Iran-backed militia in December that killed a U.S. contractor, which U.S. officials believe Soleimani had a role in orchestrating.

    “Asked about Trump’s remarks on the plot to blow up the Baghdad embassy, a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted Soleimani had orchestrated protests at the embassy and acknowledged there had been such plotting to blow up the embassy.

    “The official declined to provide details on the U.S. intelligence.”

    • Abe Bird on January 19, 2020, 2:57 am

      I do not know if Israel has helped the US to complete the task of eliminating the state terrorist Suleimani, because from historical experience I know that too many “leaking news” made by organizations that operate in the world of the communication and Internet space, which have no self and professional commitment. So far, no official has admitted it, so I suggest taking it all in limited, even though this is a reasonable option.
      Like I said, every claim has to lay on evidence.

      At the same time, remember that there are very close strategic relations between the US and Israel that contribute to both. The level of openness of state secrets between the two countries is higher than ever. This means that not only Israel enjoys it, but also America. Experts say Israel’s contribution to American national security is higher than ever and is approaching its $ 3 billion of the US military aid to Israel, all of which is paid to the security industries in America and to the thousands of small businesses they work with. And that means employment for several thousand Americans.

      Beyond that, remember that the Iranians have attacked and murdered hundreds of Americans in the last 40 years and Sulaimani’s part, and his part on the Revolutionary Guards was and is central.

      Strange and sickly to me that Leftist Liberals in America support Islamic fundamentalist powers in the Middle East. The same parties that are freely slaughtering each other without awe and respect since 2011, and stand as a wall against local rebels, at least some of whom are secular, democratic and pro-Western forces.

  2. JWalters on January 13, 2020, 6:51 pm

    As any honest, informed person knows, “the most prominent figure left in Middle Eastern terror” is Israel’s Prime Gangster Benjamin Netanyahu. Orwell’s prediction has come true.

    • Abe Bird on January 19, 2020, 3:47 am

      You are probably another boastful, crazy and passionate “honest” that awarenessly updates his irrational leftist views by supporting extremist Islamic terrorism just because they hate his own state, culture and individualism, as you do.

      At the same time, you despise yourself human lives just because they are Muslim and Christian Arabs. You don’t care that since 1945 (3 years before Netanyahu was born), the Arabs have murdered 17 million Arabs in the Middle East alone. And I’m not counting now how many non-Arab Muslims have been murdered since. In the last 9 years alone, Arabs have murdered 1.8 million Arabs, half of them in Syria!

      In contrast, eliminating several hundred Arab terrorists who are daily attacking you is an important moral commandment, although their blood is more valuable to you than the blood of a Syrian baby in Allepo or Idlib.

      https://twitter.com/barda_abu/status/1218816802211475457/photo/1

      Shame and disgrace for the extinct liberal left’s culture !!!

      • Talkback on January 19, 2020, 1:02 pm

        Abe Bird: “… by supporting extremist Islamic terrorism just because they hate his own state, culture and individualism, as you do.”

        I’m sure that you neither condemn Jewish terrorism that lead to the founding of Israel nor the terrorism of belligerent occupation nor Israel’s state terrorism as expressed in the Dahiya Doctrine.

        Abe Bird: “You don’t care that since 1945 (3 years before Netanyahu was born), the Arabs have murdered 17 million Arabs in the Middle East alone. And I’m not counting now how many non-Arab Muslims have been murdered since. In the last 9 years alone, Arabs have murdered 1.8 million Arabs, half of them in Syria!”

        You only care about Arabs if they are not killed by Jews.

  3. James Canning on January 13, 2020, 8:31 pm

    Netanyahu has exerted himself for a quarter century to set up a war between Iran and the US, to benefit Israel.

    • Citizen on January 14, 2020, 7:28 am

      Yes. Naturally in all the corporate news coverage incessant since the killing, & all the talk of war with Iran pending, no guest pundit or talking head has mentioned this so the American public remains in the dark. Nor has the mainstream media mentioned Netanyahu was the only foreign leader notified ahead of time. I imagine the western states with troops in Iraq partnering with the US are seething….

      • James Canning on January 14, 2020, 10:44 am

        Yes, Citizen. Keeping the American public in the dark, in matters of this sort involving Israel, boosts the careers of these talking heads.

      • Hjawad on January 17, 2020, 1:37 am

        You know what the sad part is , our voice to stand for what is right is being stripped from us bit by bit and lawmakers are twisting the constitution. Since when is Israel consider as religion or race . It’s like saying Floridian is a religion . God destroyed civilizations like Pharos and others who where tyrant and law abusers . If we don’t be carful the wrath of God will befall on this country .

      • Abe Bird on January 19, 2020, 4:26 am

        Israel is not a religion nor a race. Israel is the state of the Jewish people, after the Biblical name of the country. The term race is strange and unfamiliar with Jewish culture, and it is not at all legal and ethical to use because it is a faint and stinking concept.
        God did not “destroy tyrants and law abusers” but they destroy themselves because they did not follow moral and religious values ​​which they abandoned.

        The Jewish people as being called also, the people of Israel, the Israelites, the Sons of Israel, the Hebrews, is first and foremost a nation in the people-hood sense of the phrase, that formed itself at the beginning of the written history of the human race, which was established and developed in its land, the land of Israel, which the people has not abandoned in the last 3800 years, despite the invasions and conquests of Dozens of great imperialist occupiers. The last of them, the Arab Eastern tribes, still clinging to the land of the Jews demanding the land foe themselves, to complit the Islamic great imperialism ever.

        The Jewish people, along with being a people of one’s own homeland, as has been recognized by the nations of the world for thousands of years, also has its own special religion – Judaism. It is the same belief that it has preserved the remnants of surviving Jews to exist since antiquity, despite its terrible years in exile. In terms of faith, there was also a Return of Zion, a great exodus from exile and a return to history, quite successfully. Jews, Christians, and even some Muslims believe that this is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy of the prophets of Israel [Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Amos, etc.] who promised the rebirth of the House of Israel again, as part of a complete redemption process for all of nations. The role of the evil, foolish, and murderous forces is to challenge humanity and to stand for test, and you must recognize that you all fit the role of the evil well in that process.

      • eljay on January 19, 2020, 9:23 am

        || Abe Bird: Israel is not a religion nor a race. Israel is the state of the Jewish people … ||

        Correct: In addition to being blatantly and unapologetically colonialist and (war) criminal, Israel is a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” – a state primarily of and for people who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish.

        || … The Jewish people … is first and foremost a nation … ||

        Jewish people are free to describe themselves as a nation. Contrary to the insane beliefs of Zionists, that self-identification does not grant to those who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish the “right”:
        – to be supremacists;
        – to have a supremacist state; or
        – to do unto others acts of injustice or immorality they would not have others do unto them.

        || … The Jewish people, along with being a people of one’s own homeland … ||

        Jewish people have actual homelands throughout the world, yes.

        || … The role of the evil, foolish, and murderous forces is to challenge humanity … ||

        Zionists has been playing their role and challenging humanity for decades and show no signs of slowing down.

      • Talkback on January 19, 2020, 12:49 pm

        Abe Bird: “The Jewish people as being called also, the people of Israel, the Israelites, the Sons of Israel, the Hebrews, is first and foremost a nation in the people-hood sense of the phrase, …”

        But not a nation in the legal sense of the phrase which means nationality=citizenship. Nobody will ever be able to acquire a Jewish citizenship. That’s why a “Jewish state” is blatantly racist as it is not the state of its citizens.

        Abe Bird: “In terms of faith, there was also a Return of Zion, a great exodus from exile and a return to history, quite successfully.”

        According to Israeli historians an exile can’t be proven. The “exile” is as much as a hoax than the “return”. And the colonolization of Palestine by foreign Jews (not the one in ancient times) was enforced upon the natives of Palestine.

        Abe Bird: “… and you must recognize that you all fit the role of the evil well in that process.”

        Oh, it’s obvious who has been doing evil in Palestine since the late 1930s. Terrorism, conquest trough war, illegal annexation, illegal settlements, dispossession, denationalization, disenfranchisement and expulsion of people, just because they are not Jewish… More than half a century of belligerent occupation, illegal blockade, collective punishment, house demolitions, not to mention the thousands that were killed or the hundred thousands that were injured. The list of evil seems to be endless.

      • echinococcus on January 19, 2020, 3:50 pm

        “The term race is strange and unfamiliar with Jewish culture, and it is not at all legal and ethical to use because it is a faint and stinking concept” writes the Zionist propaganda-bot.

        Strange, eh? “Born to a Jewish woman” unfamiliar? Race is defined as the particularity due to heredity, and he comes pretending that one’s mother (used as the sole identity marker) is not related to race.

        Not even Goebbels had the nerve to emit this kind of bilge.

        Or his accepting as “Jewish” anyone not religious? That is, no matter the hurt feelings of many in this room, 100% racist. Simple. It can’t be open to discussion unless you are ready to accept, as this despicable Zionist agent does, that Ethiopians, Arabs, Northeast Europeans and others share one culture — or one race.

      • Mooser on January 19, 2020, 4:56 pm

        “Israel is not a religion nor a race. Israel is the state of the Jewish people”

        Wait a minute, “Abe Bird”. Is Israel a state of the Jewish people, anybody who ‘inclines or tends towards’ being a Jew, or a state for “Jews as such”? Big, big difference. (Personally, I think Israel should be exclusively reserved for those of us who are “being Jews as such”. )

        Saying “the Jewish people” is simply another way of saying “Anybody who has ever eaten a bagel and Zionism thinks is useful”.

  4. RoHa on January 13, 2020, 10:57 pm

    Nasrallah is no fool. I’m sure he expects assassination attempts (and has probably survived a few) and has made arrangements for succession in case one attempt succeeds. He might even expect one to succeed eventually.

  5. Misterioso on January 14, 2020, 9:53 am

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/13/seems-increasingly-likely-trump-just-made-imminent-threat-posed-soleimani

    “Seems Increasingly Likely Trump Just Made Up the ‘Imminent Threat’ Posed by Soleimani”

    “New reporting reveals the president conditionally approved the Iranian general’s assassination seven months ago.” By Andrea Germanos, staff writer, Common Dreams, Jan. 13/20

    “New reporting out Monday further erodes the White House narrative that President Donald Trump was justified in ordering the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani earlier this month because Soleimani posed an ‘imminent’ threat to American targets.

    “According to NBC News, Trump authorized Soleimani’s killing in June—seven months ago—on the condition that Iranian actions resulted in the death of an American. The assassination was pushed by Iran war hawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, who wanted the U.S. to carry out the killing in retaliation for Iran shooting down a US. drone in June. Trump responded to the push by responding ‘that’s only on the table if they hit Americans,’ according to a person briefed on the discussion.

    “Discussions on targeting Soleimani began even earlier. From NBC: ‘The idea of killing Soleimani came up in discussions in 2017 that Trump’s national security adviser at the time, retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, was having with other administration officials about the president’s broader national security strategy, officials said. But it was just one of a host of possible elements of Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran and ‘was not something that was thought of as a first move,’ said a former senior administration official involved in the discussions.’

    “Middle East analyst Juan Cole added to the mounting scrutiny over Trump’s ‘imminent’ threat narrative on Monday. Writing at his Informed Comment blog, Cole noted:
    ‘[Soleimani] does not appear to have killed or had killed any Americans at all in the past decade, and from 2015 because of the U.N. Security Council nuclear deal with Iran, Soleimani was not an adversary of the US in recent years. In fact, he was often a de facto ally and the U.S. Air Force gave him air support at Tikrit and elsewhere in the campaign against ISIL (ISIS, Daesh). In fact, for a while there Soleimani was fighting ISIL and al-Qaeda-linked militias in Syria in tacit alliance with the Kurds supported by the United States at a time when Israel allied with an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Golan Heights.’

    ‘Moreover, the entire narrative of the Trump administration was undermined by Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdelmahdi, who told Parliament on Jan. 5 when he asked its members to kick out the U.S. military, that he had personally invited Soleimani to Baghdad as part of a back-channel set of negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Iran aimed at cooling down tensions between the two. Soleimani did not sneak into Iraq on a covert mission. He flew on a commercial jet and went through passport control with his diplomatic passport.

    ‘While an attempt was made to invade the U.S. embassy on the Wednesday before Soleimani’s arrival, that was done by members of the Iraqi militia, the Kata’ib Hizbullah, who were angry that on December 30, the Trump administration bombed its bases in northern Iraq and killed some two dozen of its fighters.’

    “Cole suggested the Trump administration appeared to be taking a page from the George W. Bush administration, which set up the Office of Special Plans to amass sketchy evidence to push the narrative of a threat of weapons of mass destruction posed by Iraq.

    “Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have also found evidence presented to them by administration officials to be unconvincing.

    “Among that group is Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who pointed to Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s comments to CBS Sunday that he ‘didn’t see’ any specific evidence about four U.S. embassies being targeted by Soleimani.

    “Speaking on MSNBC’s Kasie DC show Sunday, Merkley said, ‘the whole imminent argument is basically made up and they’re trying to backfill and give that some substance.’

    “‘But it wasn’t there,’ Merkley said. ‘It wasn’t in the [Senate] briefing. It wasn’t detailed… and there’s Secretary Esper trying to square the circle and having a hard time doing it.’

    “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also contributed to the doubt over the administration’s stated justification, telling Fox News last week that the administration actually didn’t know when or where the purported ‘imminent’ attacks were going to take place.

    “Soleimani’s killing has sparked Agnes Callamard, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, to call this month for an impartial probe.”

    • Tuyzentfloot on January 14, 2020, 5:33 pm

      It is quite a pattern, just like neoliberalism removing all restraints on capitalism the US is also removing restraints in international relations. Whether it be arms control ,international law or conventions. Overturning institutions like the OPCW , Equadorian embassy ground with Assange or North Korean embassy in Spain. Venezolan gold simply confiscated by the UK
      Financial power in one hand and bombs and nukes in the other.

      It’s like Star Wars!

    • Hjawad on January 17, 2020, 1:43 am

      Soon without realizing USA will becomes like the communism ruled dictatorship controlled and pawned by Israel . When ever I get the chance I am leaving USA , I don’t want my money to be support for tyranny and oppression .

  6. Kathleen on January 14, 2020, 10:10 am

    Check this article out from Politico where they conclude Iran is its own worst enemy. They leave no option to comment on piece. Telling

    https://www.politico.eu/article/iran-protests-crisis-of-competence/

    “The biggest threat to Tehran is its own ineptitude.”

    As if Israel and the U.S (I lobby, Iraq/Iran war hawks). having Iran in their cross hairs for two decades has nothing to do with crisis

  7. Kathleen on January 14, 2020, 10:21 am

    “Reports surfaced over the weekend that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed Netanyahu on the strike ahead of time, and thanked the premiere for Israel’s role in the strike’

    No surprise here however important to confirm and shed light on.

    How many times are we aware of Israel threatening or attacking Iran in some way, killing Iranian scientist etc

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/has-israel-been-killing-irans-nuclear-scientists

    Stuxnet

    Richard Clarke on Who Was Behind the Stuxnet Attack …
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com › history › richard-clarke-on-who-was-b…
    Stuxnet may have averted a nuclear conflagration by diminishing Israel’s perception of a need for an imminent attack on Iran. And yet it might end up starting one

    • RoHa on January 14, 2020, 8:27 pm

      As far as I know, Stuxnet is still out there. Some of us have dark suspicions that it was a contributor to the Fukushima disaster, but no proof has appeared.

  8. James Canning on January 14, 2020, 10:42 am

    Trump recently called for expanding NATO to include Israel. “NATO-ME”! “Sounds beautiful,” said the arrogant ignoramus.

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