Daily US Times, Washington: Whether Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani was really planning deadly attack on American lives, lack of evidence fueled skepticism. But US national security officers continue to defend President Trump’s claim and action which killed the top Iranian General in an airstrike in Baghdad.
President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and top military officials have said similar explanations for killing Soleimani, citing poses an “imminent” threat from his plans to carry out what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley called a “significant campaign of violence” against the US in the coming days, weeks or months.
But questions have continued to raise about the imminence of such attacks, whether the administration fully considered the fallout from such a strike against Soleimani, and if an appropriate legal basis was established for the presidential authorization of lethal force.
A Republican congressional source familiar with the administration’s decision to strike Soleimani acknowledged that the President was reluctant to use military force in the past, but the killing of an American contractor and followed by the attack of Baghdad embassy ‘crossed the line’.
President’s top advisers also suggested him that if he “didn’t respond now, they (Iran) will continue to cross it.”
CNN reported that there was internal debate and work behind the scene to develop a legal argument before the final decision of killing Soleimani.
When Trump decided to target Soleimani in a meeting in Mar-a-Logo on Sunday with his top advisers, some officials emerged surprised, CNN reported citing a source.
The source said, some officials in the meeting expected Trump to pick a less risky option, but when Soleimani option was presented to him, he remained intent on going forward.
Failure to connect the dots
Since the attack carried out in the outskirt of Baghdad International Airport, the US has provided few details about those specific threats posed by Soleimani and failed to outline the legal underpinnings clearly.
The administration failed to connect the dots, which proves that Soleimani posed an imminent threat to the US and that argument has been obscured by inconsistent messaging from US officials.
One thing has become relatively clear that operation on the Quds force commander was not a kind of golden opportunity, unlike the missions that killed Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Some surfaced information before the attack say, specific information showed Iranian surface to air missiles and other military weaponry that the US had been watching were moving in on at least two US airbases, as well as US embassies in the region. A source related to the intelligence briefing said.
The source said that the situation was different because the US had advanced notice of his plans to kill Americans and that the previous reason not to kill him has gone away — fear that it could cause the IRGC to specifically target Americans.