In 2011, an operative connected with Iranian General Qassem Soleimani’s Quds Force attempted to hire the Mexican Los Zetas cartel to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. by blowing up a Washington, D.C. restaurant.
Directed by Iran, Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar contacted the Mexican cartel associate to plan the assassination. They also discussed attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Saudi and Israeli Embassies in Argentina as well.
Fortunately, the associate turned out to be a DEA informant, and none of the plans came to fruition. Arbabsiar was arrested, pleaded guilty and was eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison. Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri was also charged but never arrested. Soleimani and two other Iranian officials were sanctioned by the U.S. for their roles in overseeing the “murder-for-hire” scheme.
While the U.S. patted itself on the back for foiling these terror plots, some pointed out that it was pure luck that Iran’s operative contacted a DEA informant. The U.S. also learned a lot about the connections between Mexican cartels and Iranian military officials.
Soleimani’s many crimes against the world
All this to say that Soleimani has been a very bad guy for a very long time. Most recently, his forces attacked a coalition base in Iraq on December 27 and killed an American defense contractor.
The U.S. government blames him for the deaths of hundreds of American troops over more than a decade. Documents declassified in 2015 bear out Soleimani’s responsibility for about 600 U.S. deaths in the Iraq War.
He was also involved in propping up dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria and fomenting the conflict there, which has killed 400,000 people. Like I said, a very bad guy.
He jetted around the world with impunity, convinced that no one would try to take him out until President Donald Trump did just that.
Time will tell
The Atlantic conceded that Trump’s taking out of Soleimani falls within the definition of legal. The administration claims Soleimani was plotting to kill hundreds more Americans in the near future. It was self-defense to kill him.
What stopped Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama from taking out Soleimani when he didn’t really even try to protect himself? Fear, the Atlantic said.
It was well known that Iran would see the move as an act of war, which they have said they are now. But Iran has been committing acts of war against the U.S. ever since we slapped them with sanctions over their nuclear ambitions. Did they really expect Trump to take it on the chin indefinitely?
Trump may be a lot of things, but fearful is not one of them. Whether his boldness is wise or foolish in the end, only time will tell.