By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
Following President Trump’s decisive action to order a drone strike that killed General Qasem Soleimani, many in the mainstream media are downplaying the fact that he was the architect of Iran’s expanded influence across the Middle East.
General Qasem Soleimani became the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) in 1998, wreaking havoc with his actions in he Middle East for over 20 years In 2005, he was designated a terrorist by the United States. In 2007, the UN Security Council barred him from leaving Iran following his alleged role in illicit arms trafficking and smuggling of nuclear materials. Soleimani blatantly disregarded that ban and was traveling from Libya to Iraq on the day of the strike that killed him.
He was responsible for the deaths of more than 600 U.S. service members in Iraq. Soleimani masterminded military operations, bombings, and assassinations that resulted in at least 17 percent of all U.S. personnel deaths throughout Iraq from 2003 to 2011. He also was responsible for killing thousands of civilians throughout the Middle East, including many in his own country. He trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, and helped them launch attacks on innocent civilians.
Soleimani helped Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad wage attacks on the Syrian people after they demanded freedom. The elite Quds Force he led has worked with the supreme leader to suppress freedom in Iran, kill protestors, and jail those who disagree. The U.S. Treasury Department linked him to a failed plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. in October 2011.
He planned attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – which resulted in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. He approved the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place the first week of January. In response, President Trump authorized an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq that killed Soleimani.
There are people reporting that taking out Soleimani is comparable to taking out a general in the U.S. military. Hardly. Let’s remember that Soleimani wasn’t the kind of general that we know; he was a terrorist. A true general would never purposely attack civilians like Soleimani did.
Soleimani was not only a threat to the American people, he was also a threat to democracy across the globe. His influence wreaked havoc across the Middle East and eliminating this threat was crucial to fighting our war on terror. President Trump has sent a clear message – the U.S. will not allow terrorists to threaten the lives of American citizens.