The assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was a controversial decision by Donald Trump‘s administration. While many pointed to Soleimani’s alleged hand in American deaths overseas these past few years as justification for the killing, the Trump administration’s shifting narrative has raised eyebrows. Although they first claimed Soleimani was planning an imminent attack on U.S. interests, a reported unsuccessful second attack on Iranian financier Abdul Reza Shahlai the same night as the attack on Soleimani may suggest a grander scheme.
A recent report for The Intercept continues to shed doubt on the Soleimani narrative pushed by the Trump administration. The report outlines an analysis of a Pentagon casualty database, which was cross-referenced with news releases and obituaries. According to the investigation, none of the nine American service members who were killed in action in Iraq since 2014 — when the U.S. military returned to Iraq to combat Islamic State — died at the hands of Iranian-backed militias. Instead, all of the casualties allegedly came at the hands of Islamic State militants, whom the BBC claims have welcomed the news of Soleimani’s death.
“In other words, not one American soldier was killed in Iraq by the proxy network under Suleimani’s control in at least the previous eight years before he was assassinated last week in Baghdad while allegedly planning an ‘imminent’ attack on Americans.”
Speaking to The Intercept, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said he believed Soleimani was “evil” and a “terrorist madman,” noting that he has killed over 603 U.S. soldiers and targeted civilians, including men and women.
Under Qassem Soleimani the Iranian regime recruited, trained, and deployed child soldiers as young as 12 years old to fight in conflicts throughout the Middle East. This is the kind of unacceptable behavior the regime must change. Until then, maximum pressure will only intensify. pic.twitter.com/jB66lBqyzO— Department of State (@StateDept) January 10, 2020
Others, such as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, believe the Trump administration is misleading Americans in terms of the intelligence used to justify killing Soleimani.
“Just as we were led into Vietnam and Iraq by lies, the Trump administration is misleading us on Iran. They have justified the assassination of Qassim Suleimani by claiming that he was planning ‘imminent attacks’ on hundreds of Americans in the region, and yet they have produced no evidence that would justify this claim, even in a classified setting.”
In an appearance on Fox News Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed that Solemani was planning an imminent attack on Americans. However, he admitted they did not know when or where such attacks were to take place.
It’s not just Democrats who are frustrated with the lack of detail regarding the Soleimani killing. Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul spoke out against the recent intelligence briefing on the mission, which was reportedly lacking detail. In addition, the briefers allegedly ordered senators to avoid publicly debating the decision.
Both Lee and Paul went on to support the non-binding War Powers resolution that would require Trump to get congressional authorization for further military action against Iran.