No Evidence For ‘Imminent Attacks’ By Soleimani, Assassination Authorized Months Ago, Israel Involved in Operation
US Narrative on Iran Falls Apart
US officials have stated unequivocally that the US assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at the Bagdad airport in Iraq, an unprovoked act of war which brought the US and Iran to the brink of open war and escalated tensions in the region to unprecedented levels not seen since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, was carried out to deter ‘imminent attacks’ being planned by Soleimani, and that he posed an ‘imminent threat’ to Americans.
Immediately following the air strike which killed Soleimani along with the second in command of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and five other Iraqis as they drove away from the Baghdad airport, Secretary Mike Pompeo said Soleimani was planning a series of imminent attacks which threatened not only US forces in the region, but also Muslims, and people all around the world.
Donald Trump stated unequivocally that the US assassination of Soleimani was carried out to thwart a plot to ‘blow up our embassy’.
“We caught a total monster and we took him out,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy.”
Later in the day Trump elaborated:
"Soleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad," Trump told a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally in Ohio Thursday evening. "We stopped him and we stopped him quickly and we stopped him cold." - The Hill
On Friday the President identified this alleged target specifically as the Baghdad embassy, and expanded the targets of this ‘sinister plot’ to include a total of four US embassies.
“We will tell you probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad,” Trump said in a clip of an interview on Fox News. “I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.” - Reuters
However the information coming forth in the aftermath of this incident paints quite the opposite picture, revealing this pretext of an ‘imminent threat’ to be just another baseless claim and obvious attempt by US officials to lie themselves into yet another war.
“Let’s be clear - if there was evidence of imminent attacks on four embassies, the Administration would have said so at our Wednesday briefing,” Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut wrote on Twitter. “They didn’t. So either Fox News gets higher level briefings than Congress…or…wait for it…there was no such imminent threat.”
Additionally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed on Thursday that the US in fact has no such intelligence indicating that Soleimani was planning imminent attacks on Americans - at least not according to the commonly accepted definition of imminent that is - but in the very same breath insisted there was ‘no doubt’ the Iranian commander was in fact planning ‘imminent attacks.’
"There were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qasem Soleimani, and we don't know precisely when and we don't know precisely where, but it was real," Pompeo told Fox News' Laura Ingraham. - Common Dreams
In response to Pompeo’s comments, Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) tweeted, "This is about as much as they told Congress in a classified setting."
Obviously if you don’t even know when the alleged ‘imminent’ attacks are going to occur, let alone what the targets are going to be, then the attacks are not truly imminent! Representative Adam Schiff agreed, tweeting the following in response:
I’ve been a member of the Intel Committee for over a decade.
Been briefed hundreds of times on threats — some imminent, some not. When targeting a top gov’t official for killing:
“We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where,” does not constitute “imminent.”
He wasn’t alone in his assessment of this matter.
And so this naturally caused quite a media backlash when the Secretary of State held a press conference alongside Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin on Friday to address the issue, where he was of course questioned how this could be, and what exactly his definition of imminent was. His response to the latter was simply this: “It was going to happen.” What an absurd definition of ‘imminent’ the Secretary has, for this could include things that are being planned for ten years in the future!
Pompeo didn’t take the scrutiny well, and was visibly agitated when called out on the obvious self-contradictory nature of his previous statement. Of course Pompeo’s assertion that the US did not know precisely where the ‘imminent attacks’ were going to be carried out also appeared to contradict the President’s claim that four specific embassies were the targets, and so he was in quite the pickle to explain these things.
When pressed on these issues, he appeared to walk back his statement from Thursday, although he made a point to reiterate that everything he had said in that statement was still accurate.
“We had specific information on an imminent threat and the threat stream included attacks on U.S. embassies. Period, full stop," Pompeo told reporters.
When one reporter then asked, “Is that threat now gone?” Pompeo answered emphatically: “Threats are never gone, there’s always danger, lots of danger in the world.”
“Nobody believed that a single mission in any respect took down the risk of terror...nobody believes that,” the Secretary added.
It makes one wonder what exactly the point of neutralizing the supposed ‘imminent threat’ was, then, if doing so did not actually diminish the threat ‘in any respect’! Such is the absurdity of attempting to unravel the web of lies these psychopaths have weaved for themselves, and in doing so they only dig themselves into a deeper hole of nonsensical deception and contradictory statements.
This most interesting briefing can be seen below:
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also cast serious doubt on the President’s claims, when he told CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday that he "didn't see" specific evidence for embassy attacks, but nevertheless assured listeners he still believes such an attack was likely.
“What the president said was that there probably could be additional attacks against embassies. I shared that view,” Esper said. “The president didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence.” - Reuters
Again, there appears to be no specific evidence supporting these claims of an ‘imminent attack’ against US embassies, only a strong belief that this was the case.
According to Reuters:
Esper said in a separate interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the administration had “exquisite intelligence” that a broader attack against multiple embassies was likely but that could only be shared with the “Gang of Eight,” a group of top congressional leaders who get briefed on sensitive information that the rest of Congress does not have access to.
However, as Reuters goes on to report, “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and member of the Gang of Eight, said on Sunday that the group was not informed about possible attacks on four embassies.”
“There was no discussion in the Gang of Eight briefings that these are the four embassies that are being targeted and we have exquisite intelligence that shows these are the specific targets,” he said.
It would appear that Mark Esper is making these claims up, just as Mike Pompeo obviously made up the claim that he provided the ‘intelligence’ that Soleimani was planning ‘imminent attacks’ to representatives and senators in the Congressional briefing on the matter, when numerous congressmen all attest that no such intelligence was presented or discussed.
Democrats said that they didn’t hear anything during the closed-door briefing that suggested there was intelligence that showed Soleimani posed an imminent threat to the U.S.
“We did not get information inside that briefing that there was specific, imminent threat that we were halting by conducting that operation... I think it is likely because it doesn't exist." — Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
“It was probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said.
“We really don't have an idea of whether or not there was an imminent reason to do this," Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said about the airstrike targeting Soleimani.
But trust Mike ‘we lied, we cheated, we stole’ Pompeo, that there truly was an imminent threat posed by Soleimani, despite having already admitted that the ‘intelligence’ they claim to have in their hands, but appear unable to share with absolutely anyone, didn’t even provide the details of when or where the ‘imminent’ attacks were going to take place. That’s some pretty impressive intelligence right there...
More to the story than meets the eye
A new NBC report casts even more doubt on the veracity of Pompeo’s claim that Qassem Soleimani posed an ‘imminent threat’, revealing that the President actually authorized the assassination of the top Iranian general seven months ago, that is “if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American.” This is according to five current and former senior administration officials.
After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.
Trump rejected the idea, saying he'd take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.
And then an American conveniently ends up being hit and killed in the attack which led up to the assassination. But they want us to believe he was targeted for no reason other than that he posed an ‘imminent threat’ to Americans.
This report certainly seems to indicate that the assassination of Soleimani ordered by Trump was rather a direct response to the killing of an American on a US base in Iraq, blamed by the Administration on the Iraqi PMU without a shred of evidence, which they also baselessly claim is an Iranian ‘proxy’ commanded by Soleimani himself.
It also lends credibility to the possibility that the rocket attack responsible for the death of this American was a false flag attack launched by ISIS, Mossad, CIA or any other number of US-linked groups in the region. Those seeking a war with Iran and privy to this previous authorization would have every motivation to orchestrate such a scenario in which an American was killed, that could be blamed on an Iranian ‘proxy force’.
Indeed, the commander of the PMU himself blamed ‘American intelligence’ for orchestrating the rocket attack, and denied his organization was responsible.
Regardless, it is apparent that this plan to assassinate Soleimani had been in the works for months, and it seems safe to say that this operation was clearly not carried out simply to eliminate an imminent threat, but was rather launched in response to the rocket attacks and embassy riots which immediately followed the initial US response (air strikes carried out against PMU positions on the Syrian/Iraqi border).
In another noteworthy revelation, and as was suspected by many, Israel was indeed involved in the assassination operation, at least to the degree that they supplied the US with intelligence used to carry out the deadly drone strike. According to a new NBC report, “Intelligence from Israel helped confirm the details” of Soleimani’s flight plan from Damascus to Baghdad. The CIA was first made aware of the timing of the flight carrying Soleimani by Syrian and Iraqi spies working for the airlines, according to Iraqi officials.
As reported by the Jerusalem Post: “Israeli intelligence was instrumental in the successful US assassination of the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani...”
The Times of Israel summarized this news, writing that, “the Jewish state was involved in the January 3 operation, handing the Americans key intelligence details.”
But how deep did the Israeli involvement go? For we know that Soleimani has long been a top Israeli target, and Israel seems to be the only real benefactor from this assassination. We also now know that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was apparently the only foreign official to have advance knowledge of the operation.
Netanyahu had been the only non-US leader who appeared in the know about the planned operation beforehand, the New York Times reported Saturday. - TOI
Many had already speculated that Israel was heavily involved in the operation, and that it may have even been a joint CIA-Mossad operation. As put it in the title of a Mint Press News piece: “Israel’s Fingerprints are all Over the Assassination of Qasem Soleimani”.
Authors Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo explain that the “fingerprints of the Israeli intelligence, the Mossad, are unmistakably present in the assassination. It is plausible that the attack at Soleimani’s convoy near the Baghdad International airport was a joint CIA-Mossad operation.”
Another interesting revelation not being widely covered by the mainstream media, which also appears to indicate deeper Israeli involvement, is the fact that this operation not only targeted Soleimani in Iraq, but also a top Iranian military commander in Yemen. The assassination attempt carried out in Yemen was apparently a fail, and this part of the story wasn’t immediately reported in the American media, for obvious reasons related to the Washington Post, which was the first to break the story in western media.
“If we had killed him, we’d be bragging about it that same night,” a senior U.S. official told the Post. Another official said the operation had not gone according to plan, thus the administration did not announce it.
The U.S. military targeted but failed to kill a senior Iranian military commander in Yemen around the time it conducted the drone strike that killed an Iranian general in Iraq, U.S. officials said.
Besides the operation failing to take out the intended Iranian target, another big reason why there may have initially been silence on this story in the west, is that it doesn’t support the official narrative that the operation to assassinate Soleimani was carried out to thwart an imminent threat posed by this so-called ‘top terrorist in the world’, as opposed to being part of a coordinated and pre-planned assassination campaign in an operation targeting multiple high level Iranian assets, green lit after rocket attacks killed an American in Iraq.
The highly classified mission against Abdul Reza Shahlai in Yemen shows that recent U.S. operations against Iran were more ambitious and multifaceted than the air strike last week that the Trump administration said it undertook to kill Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
Washington Post points out the obvious problem this story posed to the official narrative:
The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration’s killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated.
But of the utmost interest is that this story was first reported in an Israeli publication, Behold Israel And not only was this story first reported in Israel, it was reported that the target Shahlai had actually been killed, along with unconfirmed reports of yet another IRGC official as well as another Iraqi commander being successfully targeted during this wide scale and multifaceted operation.
“IRGC Financial Leader in Yemen & Commander in Iraq Killed Within Hours of Each Other,” the title of the Israeli article read.
In addition to the death of Shahlai, there are non-confirmed reports that the commander for the 40th brigade of kata’ib al-imam, Raed al-Karawi, has been killed in what seems to be another US airstrike. In close proximity to this strike in northern Iraq, another reported airstrike took place near Baghdad that is believed to have targeted at least one more high-ranking IRGC member.
One must wonder just how exactly an Israeli website was able to get wind of this ‘highly classified mission’ well before US officials went public with it, unless there was substantial Israeli involvement going well beyond the passing of intelligence on the whereabouts of Soleimani that night, and the involved Israeli parties leaked the information.
In any event, it certainly appears that this ‘highly classified’ mission, as it is being described, was even more wide-scale than is being admitted; and may have included the targeting of more than just a second high-ranking IRGC official in Yemen, but at least four high-ranking military officials. If this is indeed the case, and the deputy commander of the Iraqi PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who was killed in the strike alongside Soleimani was also a target of this hit and not just collateral damage; then the full scope of the operation may have included the targeting of at least three Iranian and two Iraqi commanders, in at least three locations across two different countries.
This style of operation can indeed be said to have Israeli fingerprints all over it, being carried out in typical Israeli fashion. Striking at multiple high-level targets simultaneously and across multiple locations, is not at all out of the ordinary for Israel; as can be seen in the recent coordinated strikes targeting two Islamic Jihad commanders within minutes of each other late last year, one in Damascus and one in Gaza. And just like in these recent strikes, one of those targets was also missed...
Regardless, the revelation that Israel was involved in the operation to assassinate Qassem Soleimani by passing on intelligence regarding his whereabouts, begs the question of whether they were also responsible for passing on the secret ‘intelligence’ to Pompeo indicating that he was also planning ‘imminent attacks’.
In comments made by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu following the assassination, in which he lauded Trump for killing the Iranian commander, he said of Soleimani that: “He was planning further attacks.”
If Netanyahu passed on Israeli ‘intelligence’ to Pompeo which supposedly indicated this, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Israeli leader has supplied Israeli intelligence which has turned out to be entirely fraudulent, in an attempt to lie the US into waging Israel’s wars.
Before the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Netanyahu cited Israeli intelligence indicating Saddam had WMDs, the US then went to war and invaded Iraq on that pretext, but it turns out there were never WMDs in Iraq after all. Much more recently Netanyahu has again repeatedly cited Israeli intelligence indicating that Iran is both seeking nuclear weapons and close to achieving that goal. However independent agencies have repeatedly verified that this is a lie, and Iran is not enriching Uranium beyond the limits of the Nuclear Deal. Nonetheless Netanyahu’s lies citing Israeli ‘intelligence’ helped convince Donald Trump to withdraw from the deal and put the US on its current path to war with Iran.
If the ‘intelligence’ indicating Soleimani was planning ‘imminent attacks’ against Americans was indeed passed to Pompeo from Israel, it would certainly explain the lack of any actual evidence supporting these claims. It certainly seems like the most plausible explanation to me, considering the circumstances of this operation.
Seems history just keeps repeating, and Israel continues attempting to lie the US into war. And if you ask me, they seem to be doing a pretty good job at it. Time will tell how long until this endless push for war on Iran ultimately succeeds.
In the meantime, the official US narrative on Iran continues to implode. The entire construct of war propaganda is coming apart at the seams. Maybe there is hope that the imperial war machine can one day be stopped after all.