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Israel figured in US decision to assassinate Iranian general

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Donald Trump’s justification for assassinating the Iranian military leader Qasim Suleimani on January 2 was Suleimani’s alleged threats to American diplomats and soldiers in Iraq. But even the New York Times cites his responsibility for “waves of militia attacks on Israel” and an attack on Saudi Arabia as reasons for the assassination.

Many reports suggest that Israeli interests were taken into account in Trump’s decision. Noga Tarnopolsky in the LA Times reports that Israeli officials got advance notice:

Israel had advance notice of the U.S. plan… Israeli military and diplomatic analysts reported Friday night while refraining from providing further details due to heavy military censorship.

“Our assessment is that the United States informed Israel about this operation in Iraq, apparently a few days ago,” Barak Ravid, a journalist and commentator with deep sources in the Israeli security establishment, said on Channel 13.

The Trump administration consulted with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Israel ahead of the strike, but did not consult with European allies, says Negar Mortazavi of the Independent. “[Mike] Pompeo called Netanyahu, MBS [Mohammed bin Salman], and MBZ [Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed] more than once in the past few days to discuss Iran, per State Department.” Mortavazi notes that State Department releases yesterday show that Pompeo called the UK and German foreign ministers after the fact.

Sana Saeed of AJPlus observes:

Congress didn’t know about the decision to assassinate Soleimani – but guess who did? Israel.

Jeff Morley reports that Israeli security officials had recommended the assassination of Suleimani last year. “After Mossad targeted Soleimani, Trump pulled the trigger.” Morley reported last October that Israel appeared to be targeting Suleimani.

Last October Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s Mossad, spoke openly about assassinating Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“He knows very well that his assassination is not impossible,” Cohen said in an interview. Soleimani had boasted that the Israel’s tried to assassinate him in 2006 and failed.

“Trump has now fulfilled the wishes of Mossad,” Morley concludes. “After proclaiming his intention to end America’s ‘stupid endless wars,’ the president has effectively declared war on the largest country in the region in solidarity with Israel, the most unpopular country in the Middle East.”

The New York Times reports that Israeli officials had previously pushed the idea of killing Suleimani but leaders in Israel and the U.S. resisted, lest the killing detonate a war with Iran.

At least once, though, Israeli officials ran the possibility of attacking him up their command structure. That was in February 2008, while Israeli and American intelligence operatives were tracking Mr. Mugniyah, the Hezbollah commander, in the hopes of killing him, according to senior American and Israeli intelligence officials. [Imad Mugniyah was assassinated by Israel in Syria in 2008.]

Jonathan Ofir writes on Facebook:

The notion that USA acted on its own, without connection to Israel, is a claim that only benefits Israeli Hasbara.

MJ Rosenberg tweets that Israel’s complicity in the attack will never be explored by Congress.

Congress will never investigate #Israel‘s role in #Iran attack & whatever happens next because both parties are owned by #AIPAC, which is owned by #Netanyahu.

Speaking of AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby group voiced its pleasure at Trump’s decision yesterday and likened Suleimani to Osama bin Laden:

The president’s decisive action brought to justice one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, who was responsible for the deaths of over 600 U.S. servicemen.

As the commander of Iran’s IRGC-Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani ruthlessly carried out the regime’s revolutionary ambitions, causing death and destruction across the Middle East while endangering our allies and interests…

AIPAC seemed to echo Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lavished praise on Trump yesterday: “President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively. Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense.”

Just as important as AIPAC is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a pro-Israel thinktank that has supplied many policy analysts to the Trump administration.

One of those Trump hawks, Richard Goldberg, left his job as a senior national security advisor at the White House yesterday; but Bloomberg reports that Goldberg’s salary was paid by FDD. “Goldberg will return to FDD, which continued to pay his salary during his time on the National Security Council.”

Former Obama official Ned Price is disturbed by the report: “If true, it’s a reminder that corruption and conflicts of interest are always part of the equation – even when the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Reporter Nick Wadhams explains FDD’s influence:

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton created Goldberg’s job — director for countering Iran’s weapons of mass destruction — explicitly for him. The goal was to counter what Bolton saw as a desire at the departments of State and Treasury to weaken the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran…

That fight was only one of the administration’s internecine battles related to Iran and underscored the influence wielded by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the think tank where Goldberg previously worked, in pushing for a tougher line against Iran.

In its coverage of the assassination, The New York Times gave prominent space to FDD’s ceo, Mark Dubowitz, to justify the assassination of Suleimani. Eli Clifton of the Quincy Institute points to the funding for FDD:

Perhaps relevant to disclose to NYT’s readers that FDD’s biggest donor is Trump mega donor Bernie Marcus who says “Iran is the devil”?

You’re literally quoting someone affirming Trump’s foreign policy decisions who is funded by one of Trump’s biggest donors.

Marcus is founder of Home Depot and Trump’s second biggest donor after Sheldon Adelson. Far and away Trump’s largest donor, Adelson has said he wished he had served in the Israeli army not the U.S. army. He once urged President Obama to nuke Iran.

Eli Clifton reported two years ago that Marcus and Adelson and a third pro-Israel billionaire donor paved the way for Trump to withdraw from the Iran deal.

Marcus called the Iran deal a “deadly deadly treaty,” Militarist Monitor reports. And Marcus has funded many rightwing pro-Israel groups:

According to tax filings, Marcus’ eponymous foundation has supported hawkish and neoconservative-linked groups like the American Enterprise InstituteChristians United for Israel, Friends of the IDF, the Hoover Institution, the Hudson Institutethe Israel Project, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Manhattan Institute, and the Middle East Media Research Institute, as well as other conservative groups like Judicial Watch and the Philanthropy Roundtable.[2] He also sits on the board of directors for the Republican Jewish Coalition.[3]

Colin Powell once blamed the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs for the plan to invade Iraq, which he supported. The idea that Israel figured prominently in U.S. policy makers’ decision to invade Iraq is both widely accepted— and disputed. Often this idea is said to be bigoted; and that’s one reason the mainstream press avoids the Israel angle, then and now.

Thanks to Scott Roth and James North.

 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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11 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on January 4, 2020, 4:29 pm

    PEPE ESCOBAR: . . . According to my best Southwest Asia intel sources, “Israel gave the U.S. the coordinates for the assassination of Qassem Soleimani as they wanted to avoid the repercussions of taking the assassination upon themselves.” . . .
    SOURCE – https://consortiumnews.com/2020/01/03/pepe-escobar-us-kick-starts-the-raging-20s-by-declaring-war-on-iran/

  2. echinococcus on January 4, 2020, 5:02 pm

    Come, now. “Israeli interests were taken into account in Trump’s decision”.

    Taken into account like in: it was officially and publicly requested and announced, and it was also posted that the Zionist bandits wanted it done by the US, and then lo, and behold! Just like the Iraq war, the Libya invasion, the Syrian war, and a lot of others. Boy, am I badly surprised, shocked I say, that there was any Zionist “interests” are ever taken into account. Perhaps it might be less humiliating if we could announce officially that we are under direct Zionist orders.

    Perhaps Zionist orders may have been accessory in the Ukraine coup and war, I’ll give you that much. Anyways, why do you call them “Israeli” interests when you full well know that both the Zionist entity in Palestine and the US entity in the Americas are both under the same management — located in the US? The owners aren’t stupid enough to go live there.

    • Misterioso on January 4, 2020, 7:35 pm

      @echincoccus

      Well said!! Over and over again, “Israel’ has proven to be America’s puppet master. No wonder , given the fact that the Zionist entity has so many American politicians firmly in its pocket. The key question now is how much longer will/can the “Special Relationship” survive? History tells us that such “arrangements” suddenly end.

      • eljay on January 4, 2020, 8:34 pm

        Misterioso: … how much longer will/can the “Special Relationship” survive? History tells us that such “arrangements” suddenly end. ||

        Two thing are for certain:
        1. The arrangement will eventually come to an end.
        2. Zionists – non-Jewish and Jewish alike – will point their fingers at anyone and everyone (including and perhaps especially non-Zionist Jews) but themselves.

      • echinococcus on January 4, 2020, 11:38 pm

        Misterioso,

        Good question, this!
        Loath as I am to throwing essay-length pearls of wisdom, pro bono, to the moderators’ teeth and the guffaws of the plebs, I have some personal experience in how long these relationships last and how they end, having been in an abusive marriage.

        First of all is, as you say, money. As long as we are paying, there is no ending it. As long as the traitors in government get bribed out of our forked-over and Zionist-stamped tax money, the flow to the Zionist can’t stop, so there. Also, Zionist money is way more bottomless than Uncle Schmuley’s. Even if there is a temporary cut, they won’t want for bribe money to restart the vicious circle where they left.

        Then comes the problem of an objective evaluation: one needs to take some distance, think with a cool head and determine the necessary steps for a divorce. Forget it in this case: this is the US. Even much bettter thinking-capable populations are being controlled by propaganda. So what do our liberals do, in order to make the Americans think about divorce?

        I give you three choices.
        Yes, you guessed correctly: they limit their target population to themselves. No workers, destitutes, unclassifiables, lower middle class, etc. need apply. If you flunk Political Correctness 101, you’re out, you must be Republican (shudder) property, and you’ll be totally ignored by the solidarity movement. Culturally conservative views and habits, objection to any of the day’s fads? Won’t do, you aint worthy of understanding what is being done in Palestine with your blood and your money.

        So what? So… there must first be a traumatic event precipitated by the action of a third party, intended or unintended, to cause a serious divorce request. Well, sometimes such divorces get too accelerated, ending in beatings and knifings, but that’s all we can get.

    • Marnie on January 6, 2020, 5:52 am

      And the phone call between boobie and orange idiot started innocently enough, how are the kids, the wives – ex, present and future and then from the blue boobie – “Yeah Donald, motek, I got your back, front and sideways. I want you to do me a favor for me though”.

  3. Misterioso on January 4, 2020, 7:25 pm

    https://electronicintifada.net/people/electronic-intifada

    “Why Trump is escalating the US-Israeli war on Iran”

    By Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, 3 January 2020

    “Killing of Qasem Soleimani underscores how US and Israel prefer ISIS to Iran.”

    “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the US attacks on Iraq that killed senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Iraqi militias that were instrumental in the defeat of ISIS – so-called Islamic State.

    “President Donald Trump ‘is worthy of full appreciation for acting with determination, strongly and swiftly,’ Netanyahu said Friday.

    “Other senior Israeli politicians, including supposed opposition leaders, lauded the American attack. Among them, Amir Peretz, head of the ostensibly center-left Labor-Gesher party, said Soleimani ‘deserved to die’ and thanked Trump.

    “Peretz’s hatred of Iran is perhaps understandable. He was defense minister during Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, in which that country’s resistance – supported by Iran – dealt Israel a humiliating defeat.

    “Yossi Melman, a veteran analyst of Israeli intelligence, called the US escalation ‘good news for Israel’ because it draws the United States even further into Israel’s attacks on Iran and its interests.

    “In an initial response, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif lauded Soleimani as the head of ‘the most effective force’ in fighting ISIS and al-Qaida, and termed his killing an act of ‘international terrorism.’

    “There is, no doubt, great satisfaction in Israel and among its most fanatical supporters at a move that ratchets the situation towards even more catastrophic violence.

    “Unhinged jingoism”
    “The assassination of Soleimani followed American attacks last Sunday that killed more than two dozen members of Kataib Hizballah, an Iraqi militia that helped defeat ISIS.

    “That prompted protests that breached the perimeter of the heavily fortified US embassy in Baghdad.

    “The US claims the group carried out a rocket attack on a northern Iraqi military base days earlier that killed an American contractor.

    “Senator Ted Cruz praised Trump’s killing of Soleimani as ‘long overdue justice for our Israeli allies’ – whatever that means.

    “Trump – who ran for office railing against the Iraq war – is now resorting to the same sorts of lies and exaggerations all his predecessors have used to manipulate the public into supporting their military adventures.

    “There will no doubt be much more of this unhinged jingoism.

    “Democrats tacitly support Trump”
    “Support for Trump from the far right is to be expected, but sadly so is tacit support from so-called progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren and centrists like former Vice President Joe Biden, both Democrats running for president.

    “Their mealy mouthed criticism of the president’s killings starts from the premise that Soleimani is a Bad Man – the villain du jour who deserves to be liquidated.

    “But they are only worried about the timing, process and possible consequences.

    “They never question the premise that the United States has the right to send troops, aircraft carriers and drones to impose its will on every corner of the world, to bomb and kill and install handpicked puppet leaders in any country that fails to toe Washington’s line.

    “In other words, they too are committed imperialists, just liberals.

    “Senator Bernie Sanders warned that Trump’s ‘dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.’ But he stopped short of condemning the killing of Soleimani itself.

    “Iran encircled”
    “The reality – clear to those whose view is not obscured by devotion to US power or to sectarian hatred – is that Iran has for decades been pushing back against US encirclement and efforts at regime change.

    “That began after the 1979 Islamic Revolution which overthrew the Shah, a loyal American puppet and ally of Israel.

    “In 1980, the West, especially the United States, supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran. That launched an eight-year war that is estimated to have cost hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian lives.

    “American, British, French and German companies supplied Iraq with arms, including the ability to manufacture chemical weapons. (After that war, Saddam had pretensions of becoming a regional power in his own right – notably his criminal invasion of Kuwait in 1990. No longer serving its purposes, the US turned on Iraq, waging decades of lethal sanctions and war.)

    “Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the US invaded Iran’s eastern neighbor Afghanistan. Two years later, the George W. Bush administration invaded and occupied Iraq, immediately to Iran’s west.

    “This came amid euphoria from the neoconservatives at the heart of the Bush administration that Damascus and Tehran would be the next targets.

    “This all followed the script set out by the Project for the New American Century, a think tank pushing for regime change across the region as a way of securing American and Israeli domination.

    “Nuke Iran”
    “Allied with American imperialists, Israel and its supporters have been the prime backers of escalation if not outright war with Iran.

    “Israel, and specifically Netanyahu, took the lead in working to end the 2015 deal which saw Iran voluntarily place its nuclear energy program under strict limits in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.

    “Israel has relentlessly pushed for the punishing economic war waged by Trump aimed at inflicting suffering on ordinary people and bringing Iran to collapse.

    “As scholar Greg Shupak observes, ‘US and Israeli planners despise Iran principally because it is an independent regional power.’

    “’It has a strong military and a foreign policy that includes providing material support for armed Palestinian resistance to Israel and for Hizballah’s defense of Lebanon from US-Israeli aggressions, including the joint invasion in 1982 and the US-backed Israeli assault in 2006,’ Shupak adds.

    “The hatred is so extreme that Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel billionaire and top funder to Trump and the Republican Party, has previously called on the United States to nuke Iran.

    “Israel’s determination to weaken Iran – and if possible bring about regime change – has been the motivation for years of Israeli attacks. These include dozens of bombing attacks in Syria and Iraq and the murder of Iranian scientists.

    “But as Shupak notes, the main Israeli strategy has been to push for Iran to be ‘subjected to enough socioeconomic asphyxiation that its government will be overthrown or it will be subjected to even greater outside control than it was under the nuclear deal”’– a deal Iran abided by until the US withdrew from it in 2018.

    “This is in sharp contrast to Israel, which is widely acknowledged to possess a nuclear arsenal, but which unlike Iran, adamantly refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty or to agree to any international supervision.

    “It’s important to keep things in perspective: Iran’s military budget is a relatively modest $13 billion.

    “Saudi Arabia – its implacably hostile US-backed neighbor – spends five times as much. The United States just passed a bipartisan military budget of $738 billion – or 55 times what Iran spends.

    “Perverted logic”
    “Still, relatively puny Iran has managed some significant achievements.

    “Lebanon’s Hizballah, supported by Iran, dealt Israel – and by extension the United States – a major strategic defeat when Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006.

    “More recently, it was Iran’s support, specifically under the guidance of General Soleimani, that rolled back ISIS across Syria and Iraq, stopping the group from taking Baghdad.

    “The growth and spread of groups like ISIS and al-Qaida – a direct consequence of American wars and interventions – has been a catastrophe for millions of people across the region.

    “But these groups never really bothered the United States and Israel, who just see them as more tools in their effort to impose their will.

    “That is why the United States sent at least a billion dollars of arms into the hands of such groups to fuel the war in Syria.

    “That is why Israel armed and funded groups linked with al-Qaida in Syria as well.

    “In 2014, then vice president, Biden apologized for accidentally revealing an unpalatable truth: It was the US’ closest allies in the region – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – who also sent ‘hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons’ to groups including Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaida and ‘extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.’

    “Biden suggested that this support was crucial to spawning ISIS, an offshoot of al-Qaida and its allies.

    “In 2016, Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon made clear Israel’s agenda: ‘In Syria, if the choice is between Iran and the Islamic State, I choose the Islamic State.’

    “And that is no doubt why Yaalon welcomed an apology from ISIS after it attacked Israeli forces in Syria’s occupied Golan Heights in 2016.

    “This Israeli logic can be applied to the region at large, especially Israel’s increasingly cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia, which is founded on joint enmity towards Iran.

    “Columbia University professor Joseph Massad has suggested that recent US-backed moves to reach formal ‘non-aggression pacts’ between Israel and certain Gulf States may be a preparatory step for a wider war against Iran as well as against Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinians.

    “Understanding this perverted logic is essential to seeing why the US and Israel appear so determined to pursue conflict with Iran no matter the human cost.”

    • Lillian Rosengarten on January 6, 2020, 9:25 am

      Trump and Netynahu are 2 war criminals that must be sent to be tried in the Hague. This is so sickening and CNN actually interviewed an Israeli who loves Trump, last eve. Isn’t there anyone who can put an end to this nightmare???

  4. Vera Gottlieb on January 5, 2020, 10:17 am

    Guilty by association. Utterly contemptible.

  5. Stephen Shenfield on January 5, 2020, 11:22 am

    Yesterday (Saturday January 4) Trump warned Iran — on Twitter, for God’s sake! — that any retaliation against Americans or American assets would be followed by attacks on 52 Iranian targets. His strategy seems to be to disarm Iran and reduce it to helpless subservience step by step, finding or manufacturing some pretext for each step as he goes along, and all without provoking any significant response. There are three choices open to Iran:

    (1) Go along with the US game plan by retaliating on a small scale against one American asset in the region and then wait for the 52-target attack.

    (2) Do nothing and wait for the US to find or manufacture some other pretext before carrying out the 52-target attack.

    (3) The optimal strategy for Iran now, despite the obvious risk, is to call Trump’s bluff and after a pause move directly to a surprise strike against all US assets within its reach — whether at sea, in Iraq or Afghanistan, or elsewhere in the region.

    Suppose Iran is unwilling to swallow (1) or (2) and goes for (3). What do readers think will happen then?

  6. James Canning on January 5, 2020, 4:41 pm

    Epic recklessness on the part of Trump, spurred on by Israel. And he didn’t consult the UK, France, or Germany.

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