On the assassination of Soleimani

General Soleimani was a nasty Iranian imperialist. But what was the point of killing him?

Tim Black

Tim Black

Topics Politics USA World

No one should weep over the death of General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed, alongside other Iran-backed militia men, in a US drone attack at Baghdad airport. He was no hero. No spearhead of anti-US imperialism. Rather, he was a ruthless, brutal part of Iran’s ruthless, brutal ruling elite. He did nothing that was not in the interests of the Islamic Republic.

After all, that was the point of Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force, which Soleimani led with strategic and murderous aplomb from 1998 onwards – namely, to defend the Iranian regime through an expansion of its regional and international power. Rivals were assassinated, and allies were armed. The result is a network that extends throughout the Middle East, and sometimes beyond, of militias and political factions who fight the Iranian regime’s external opponents.

Think of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Or the Houthis in Yemen. Or the Badr Organisation in Iraq. This transnational, largely Shia militancy is arguably Iran’s greatest military and political achievement. And it is in no small part due to the role of Soleimani. No wonder John Maguire, a former CIA officer in Iraq, once called him ‘the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today’.

It is all quite impressive militarily and strategically. Hence the countless surreptitiously fawning Western profiles of the ‘shadowy’ Soleimani. But that shouldn’t blind those now unthinkingly mourning Soleimani’s passing to his purpose: to pursue the Iranian regime’s self-preservation through regional expansion. Hence, when Soleimani’s foreign interests were threatened, as they have been recently in Lebanon and Iraq, he thought nothing of ordering the proxy militias to attack or open fire on Lebanese or Iraqi civilians. Indeed, such was Soleimani’s commitment to the Supreme Leader that, in 1999, he urged a brutal military crackdown on Iranian student protesters demanding more freedoms.

Even his fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq was merely a means to an end. In Syria, it was to shore up the regime of ally Bashar al-Assad, and keep open a supply route to Hezbollah; in Iraq, it was about entrenching Iranian influence yet further in the Iraqi state.

His death, then, is no occasion for mourning, as the many who have suffered at his proxies’ hands within and without Iran will attest.

And yet while his death itself should not trouble us, its manner should. The US effectively executed a significant state figure in another national territory, and it did so without congressional consultation, without strategic consideration, and without much in the way of actual political thought.

It was all too typical of America’s Trump First approach to international relations. Trump, having freed himself of dissenting or moderating advisers, and having hollowed out the official decision-making processes, didn’t seem to feel the need to consult. He barely explained, save for a tweet featuring the US flag, and a perfunctory statement from the Pentagon. He just acted impulsively, from his easily irritated gut.

Yes, there was provocation, in the shape of the Iran-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah attacking the US embassy in Baghdad this week. But then, Iran has been needling the US for the past six months, shooting down an American surveillance drone and seizing oil tankers in the Gulf. The US refrained from attacking the Iranian state then, so what’s the difference now? Incredibly, it appears to have been a tweet from the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s English-language Twitter account, in which he goaded Trump, saying ‘You can’t do anything’.

And so Trump decided to prove him wrong. Because that’s what strong, decisive leaders do when taunted by Bad Guys.

It makes for yet another reckless action in a region long roiled and upturned by the past recklessness of the US and its allies. Yet again, there seems to have been no thought as to the consequences, in this case of assassinating one of Iran’s de facto leaders. No concern over the territorial or realpolitik effects of a significant, symbolic attack on the Iranian state. No geopolitical strategising, or plan. That the US has only now told US citizens in Iraq to leave shows how little Trump et al thought about the effect that assassinating Soleimani would have on even their own countrymen.

Like too many Western leaders over the past quarter of a century, Trump’s decision seems to have been governed by a moral neediness, a desperate desire for the domestic PR glow that he believes comes from acting strongly, decisively, against a putative axis of evil. And like Clinton, Bush and Blair before him, such thoughtlessness has all too foreseeable ‘unforeseen consequences’. The retaliatory actions. The deepening instability. The terroristic opportunities.

This moral neediness is why Solemaini’s grandstanding execution is not a surprise. From the start of Trump’s presidency, he has consistently sought out the Islamic Republic as the stage on which to show off his moral leadership. Hence he has conjured it up as a uniquely murderous, terrorising and destabilising force, led by a collection of uniquely bad individuals. It always makes for a dangerously simplistic approach to global politics, in which the elimination of bad men, from Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi to Soleimani, will make everything better. It won’t, of course.

Ironically, however, this manichean approach is now mirrored by the Western liberal critics of Trump. They excuse the authoritarian brutality of the Islamic Republic, because the only evil they see is that of America. Especially Trump’s America, which is supposedly making Satan Great Again. No wonder some are excitedly anticipating World War III, as the apocalyptic denouement of the reign of Trump (despite the fact that neither the US nor Iran has either the will or the capacity to fight even a drawn-out local war). This kneejerk catastrophism tells us little about the reality of US-Iran relations. But it tells us a lot about the moral outlook of too many of Trump’s Western opponents. Indeed, such is their loathing of America and Trump that they actually start to long for something approaching Armageddon.

It seems the anti-Iranian animus of the US foreign-policy establishment is matched only by the anti-US animus of Western liberals. And in these volatile, uncertain times, such myopia is of no help to anyone.

Tim Black is a spiked columnist.

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Myra Byanka

12th January 2020 at 11:46 pm

Mr. Black, it’s like you have read Democrat talking points or have plagiarized material from our American mainstream media. Orange Man Bad. Reckless. Simplistic. PR hungry. Ho, hum. Funny how the American economy is doing well. Guess he’s an economic dunce, too.

If you are going to bloviate about Trump and his ability to conduct war, you might read our constitution, the War Powers Act, and various pieces of legislation supporting a president’s ability to order a military strike without notifying Congress. He cannot go to war without authorization. The resolution passed a few days ago by the house of representatives was non- binding, i.e., it means zip. It was a political smackdown conducted in a pique of puerile anger by a group of crazed “we lost the election” jew-hating progressives. That any Westerner, particularly an American, would wish a recession on us, or an apocalyptic war to start, just to hop up and down and gloat about Orange Man Bad, is so woefully cynical, as to defy logic. We want out troops home. Now. Trump does, too. The whole mess has been a disastrous misadventure for over 40 years. But, I don’t care what you say, that murdering, Islamist thug got a hellfire missile up his butt, which is exactly what he had coming.

I don’t know if you follow what’s really going on in American politics, but Trump is about the only thing standing between us and a bunch of “woke” radical Marxist lunatics who want open borders, green deals, healthcare for all, and worse. If those people win the presidency and both houses, you can kiss the UK economy goodbye, because ours will go straight into the toilet. Then the peaceful Dawa muslims in your country, who have been having babies and “assimilating,” are going to start raping and pillaging, put their foot on your neck, and implement sharia law.

So, have it your way. He’s an uncouth, egotistical blowhard. People who vote for him are backward, gun-toting rednecks, yada yada. That’s me. I’ve got it. Orange Man Bad.

Willie Penwright

7th January 2020 at 12:03 pm

The people of the Middle East have found a new Saladin, their hero in the cause of driving out the US, British and European armies. Just as the Irish revolutionaries of 1916 drove the first wedge into the British Empire by their martyrdom, the death of Soleimani will do the same for the US empire.

Walter Sobchak

7th January 2020 at 12:41 pm

Idiotic comment.

Myra Byanka

13th January 2020 at 1:08 pm

Willie, sorry to tell you, we are not an empire. That’s you guys. We’re a constitutional republic with lackluster imperialistic, colonial aspirations. If you want some hate America stuff to really go on about, I am willing to discuss CIA activities, etc.

Marvin Jones

6th January 2020 at 2:28 pm

It is just incredulous of people like Tim Black to mention all the reasons to not regret and mourn the deaths of the most barbaric and merciless sub humans on this planet, and then analyse the reasons for not doing so. Like Blair is also responsible for, hundreds of thousand deaths of innocent people’s blood on one’s hands is no small matter.

Dan Under

6th January 2020 at 5:20 am

I’m not sure which is worse but it’s all here.
Pecksniffian Western neo-Marxist identitarians and their decerebrated MSM cheerleaders; Islamic theocratic thuggery with an avowed nuclear intent to eliminate Israel; Rainbow Hussein, appeaser extraordinaire and divider-in-chief with his barrels of cash; or the seeming widespread 3rd stage terminal TDS afflicting the fragile, brittle and effete NPC liberals.
Taking out Qasem Soleimani and a collection of brutal Islamic henchmen is merely answering in the lingua franca of the misogynistic Islamic thugs.
Did the General forget the old axiom, fight by the sword, die by the sword. Not a chance.

Rikhard Wright

6th January 2020 at 3:28 am

“The US effectively executed a significant state figure in another national territory, and it did so without congressional consultation”.
Quite right. But let’s consider for a moment what “congressional consultation” would look like:
“We, the people, hereby authorize the murder of a foreign national in, or near, his home territory, and we justify this on the grounds that … er … well, actually, there is no international protocol which allows us to do this under any circumstances … er … but our secret services could easily arrange an “accident” for this person, so common decency and international law no longer need to apply. So it might be more precise for us to state that we hereby intend to do whatever we feel like doing, because it suits our present purposes. Thank you for listening, and God Bless America.”

Willie Penwright

5th January 2020 at 6:49 pm

The parliament of Iraq has voted for the expulsion of the 6,000 US occupying troops, including the 400 UK troops who are embedded with the US army. This is a great step forward for Iraqi democracy and will be welcomed by democrats everywhere. It also means that we won’t have to go ahead with the wasteful recruitment campaign as these troops coming home will help in the apparently much-needed defence of Britain.


5th January 2020 at 11:02 pm

Whom are you defending Britain against? The Europeans you alienated with Brexit?

Willie Penwright

5th January 2020 at 11:13 pm

The Scots.

henry balfour

6th January 2020 at 2:08 am

The Welsh …..

Rikhard Wright

6th January 2020 at 3:34 am

The Irish…
and, of course, themselves.

Myra Byanka

13th January 2020 at 12:17 am

Mr. Penwright, if you read a few pages of the Koran, you will quickly determine muslims have no free will. Democracy is an expression of free will. Muslims have theocracies. We Americans will leave Iraq, the sooner the better. Unfortunately, since we stuck our noses into internecine, centuries-old sunni/shia hatred of each other, when we bug out, Iraq will probably lapse into another civil war.

JP Edwards

5th January 2020 at 5:23 pm

I doubt very much this was simply a petulant, irritated Trump acting on impulse. It was more likely a very long standing and carefully thought out US strategic goal. Trump would be acting on advice because in fact his first hand knowledge of this individual is probably no better than his knowledge of windmills.
From a practical perspective all of the stars aligned – it was carried out with very little collateral death and destruction. From the likelihood of getting the job done without killing a load of innocents It may just have been too good an opportunity to pass on.

Don Purple

5th January 2020 at 4:24 pm

@Jim Lawrie

Well said!


5th January 2020 at 1:13 pm

Do you Brexit nativists realise that Brexit makes it far more likely that the UK will be dragged into any future military action that the US carries out in the Middle East against Iran and its allies? As well as exposing the NHS to rapacious US big pharma companies, Brexit means that the UK will have no choice but to do exactly what the US commands in the desperate hope of securing some pathetic ‘trade deal’. You wanted your sovereignty back, instead you have destroyed it because of your racism and ignorance about the real world.

Dominic Straiton

5th January 2020 at 3:42 pm

Well at least army recruitment will go up and there is nothing much else on telly at the moment.

Prospero X

5th January 2020 at 4:09 pm

Zenobia, you seem to have a very tenuous connection to the real world. Try not to believe everything you read in the mass media. Have a think, use that noddle of yours – a lot of what you are told is contradictory and obvious propaganda.


5th January 2020 at 11:12 pm

Not at all. It’s called ‘having a different opinion to you’.

Weyland Smith

5th January 2020 at 4:31 pm

“… your racism and ignorance about the real world”
Do you have any skills besides self-parody?

Jerry Owen

5th January 2020 at 5:11 pm

Still crying over Brexit.. move on you lost.

JP Edwards

5th January 2020 at 5:26 pm

Dude – I disagree with everything you said.

You exemplify perfectly the very reason why Remain lost the UK Referendum in the first place.

Melissa Jackson

5th January 2020 at 8:46 pm

…We are in a military alliance in which the US the very much the senior partner. We have been for 50 years. There’s a reason why the UK, and indeed the Commonwealth, has supported the US in almost every conflict it has engaged in. The UK (and Canada, Australia and New Zealand) supported the US in Korea, and in Vietnam and in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo and suchlike.

Given that the US is the most senior partner of NATO, and the the UK is second most senior, and that Germany and France seem to think their defense spending and readiness can be ignored freely, then the relationship between the US and UK will of course be more important with regards to defense.

That doesn’t mean the UK blindly leading after the US, but it means that we will work together. There is no-one else who wants to defend western values except possibly, and somewhat unexpectedly nations like Australia and Poland.

Hugh Bryant

5th January 2020 at 10:33 pm

What I most love about Brexit is the pain it causes to pompous and arrogant people like you. More please.

Marvin Jones

6th January 2020 at 2:36 pm

It appears that as night follows day, we Brits will have to save you miserable lefty cowards again.


6th January 2020 at 6:39 pm

Protestant Libertarian, not ‘left wing’. It’s time ditched the left/right French revolutionary dichotomy. The Girondins and Montagnards are long dead, as is Marx.

Beggars Belief

5th January 2020 at 11:38 am

There is no good kind of imperialism. The US needs to keep the Middle East burning just enough to prolong the dying gasp of the Petro-dollar. More than a generation of hell is the cost.

Thomas Smith

5th January 2020 at 10:42 am

Zenobia, you should look at THE LOST RELIGION OF JESUS, by Keith Akers, and RABBI JESUS, by Bruce Chilton, before you commit the absolute obscenity of putting war mongering words in the mouth of the Nazarene.


5th January 2020 at 12:54 pm


Thomas Smith

5th January 2020 at 10:40 am

By what objective, scientific criteria do you evaluate this guy as an “imperialist?” Iran is only a regional power–like Russia.

Prospero X

5th January 2020 at 9:41 am

The point was to show that the consequences of terrorist actions have now become personal. That’s about the only thing that will make these psychopaths pause to think.

Hugo van der Meer

5th January 2020 at 8:58 pm

Yes…couldn’t agree more with your perspective.


5th January 2020 at 11:08 pm

Da iawn.

Marvin Jones

6th January 2020 at 2:42 pm

AND! death the only antidote.

steven brook

5th January 2020 at 9:20 am

Seemingly Iran’s Quds Force Commander, Qassem Soleimani was identified by his ring, his boyfriend would recognise it anywhere!

James Williams

4th January 2020 at 11:32 pm

Taking out an enemies high profile general who actively engaged in warfare and terrorism against US personnel can be justified but I share many people’s concerns about the follow up strategy. America in War is littered with poor strategic decision making and I dearly hope that they have judged this one right. Iran have in recent months shot down drones, captured shipping vessels and talked aggressively despite having little chance of defeating the US in any combat situation. This will devastate Iran’s leadership so I do not expect any revenge to be on a large scale.

I am not knowledgeable about all the details of the Iran nuclear deal that Obama signed and excuse my ignorance but until Trump came to power the relationship between countries seemed to improve. Did they actually do anything to break the agreement or was in Bolton and co war mongering?

And if this event does lead to future talks we need to be involved and need to get Natalie Zagahri Ratcliffe released.

Peter Gee

5th January 2020 at 5:35 am

James, the Obama “agreement” with Iran was a vastly misspelled “appeasement”. It gave Iran billions of dollars, in return for paper guarantees that it would not have a nuclear weapon for 10 years…but then could do as it wished and acquire one.

Considering Obama hosted one of the people killed in the US airstrike at the White House, was deeply under the influence of Irano-American Valerie Jarret and suffered the grandiose delusions, born out of his extreme narcissism, that he could rewrite the future of the ME, the “Iran Deal” was bitterly opposed by many in the USA who felt that Obama was an Islamist Manchurian Candidate. The jury is out on that but he sure acted like one.

Trump suspended it and turned the screws back on Iran to give up it’s nuclear programme in it’s entirety, via sanctions. Reducing the Iranian economy to a bad state and some desperation, which is where we are today.

Jerry Owen

5th January 2020 at 5:14 pm

Spot on.

Marvin Jones

6th January 2020 at 2:49 pm

Incredulous, that the USA would have an obvious suspect of Islamic extraction as their President. But that was due to the massive numbers of black people who saw the chance to put their own in the Whitehouse, regardless of the consequences. Coming soon to Britain, it’s first Moslem PM.

Michael Lynch

5th January 2020 at 11:26 am

Peter is spot on with his assessment of Obama’s Appeasement Nuclear Deal. You can’t rationalize with an implacable opponent. Iran, after all, is a State run by fundamentalist fanatics who will never accept Israel or the West. As far as Natalie Z R is concerned, I’m afraid she was doomed from the beginning as it is now obvious that her incarceration has been used, and will continue to be used, as a retaliation against the West. I also saw Thornberry on the Telly this morning giving us her opinion about the strike and how it is all going to lead to War etc etc. It’s a great pity that her, and her ilk, never refer to historical events in order to inform their personal assessments of such situations. If she did, she’d understand that it was the European Liberal Left’s appeasement, and adulation in some cases, of Hitler that directly led to the inevitability of WW2. Sometimes Western leaders need to show metal when dealing with rogue states. I’m sure that they’ll be a lot of flag burning today, but things will quieten down as the Iranian leadership now knows their dealing with someone serious for a change. Does anyone seriously think they have the armed capability to take on the US? They be bombed back into the stone age if they dared overdo any response they may make and they know it.

Cees de Valk

4th January 2020 at 5:03 pm

If attacked by Iran, why kill Iranian soldiers but not this one Iranian soldier? Iranian officials make a noise as if an innocent civilian of high stature was killed, but Soleimani was a soldier, and soldiers should be prepared to die, just as they are prepared to kill. And killing he did.


4th January 2020 at 6:20 pm

Not just a soldier, a terrorist who murdered thousands.

Jack Enright

4th January 2020 at 4:19 pm

Okay, Mr Black, and all your fellow-appeasers who have posted above; exactly what would be achieved by leaving Soleimani alive? How many MORE civilians would he have had to murder before you’d stopped trying to appeal to his (non-existent) better nature?
Various politicians have been trying that approach with Iran for DECADES – and what has it achieved? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – and the mass murders have continued.
It seems that large numbers of people in this country have forgotten how disastrous the policy of appeasement was in the 1930s – and you know what they say about people who forget their own history . . .

Peter Gee

4th January 2020 at 4:19 pm

The writer forgets that Solemani’s Quds is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. The President needs no authorizations or consultations to take out the leader or members of such.

Obama was the Drone King for years, taking out even American citizens, numerous terrorists and more than a few wedding parties. I never saw much hand wringing, but to many leftists, Solemani was better than Trump. And they are showing it.

So far in the US media we have him as a “poet”, “revered commander”, “handsome and charismatic” and so on…well on his way to being an austere religious scholar.

If we are realistic, unless the Iranian revolution collapses, war with Iran is inevitable between it, whatever helpers it can find-who won’t participate directly- ( Russia, China and a few others) and kinetic allies of the USA/West/Sunni alliance including now Israel. This is because war is what revolutionary regimes of the totalitarian kind do, starting with Napoleon. The situation of Iran as a ME perpetual troublemaker starting endless regional conflicts but then later backed with nuclear weapons is just intolerable.

The age-old fight between Arabs and Persians, Sunni and Shia, will never end because each is determined to control the site of the Haj.

There is always the hope the people will overthrow the theocrats, which would be preferable. But conflict now, before Iran is nuclear armed, is maybe (one hopes not) the only option. It does not need to be a land war or invasion, but the complete destruction of the Iranian airforce, navy and nuclear sites is available, if done well.

We have had 40 years of Iran controlling the tempo of terrorism and expansionism in the ME.

Rokeby Venus

4th January 2020 at 10:42 pm

Excellent post.

Peter Gee

5th January 2020 at 5:27 am

Thank you!

Peter Spurrier

5th January 2020 at 5:45 pm

Are there not some in Iran who would like to improve relations with the West?

Jim Lawrie

5th January 2020 at 6:18 pm

Top post Peter. Succinct, informed and on the level.

Jitendra Desai

4th January 2020 at 4:10 pm

Good analysis. Trump’s actions have been impulsive. Consider his calling off talks with Taliban few weeks back.Now he wants to restart. Every thing is fair in a war against terrorism but there has to be some method in the madness.Most of your readers and many in India will agree with your opinion on Western liberals.May their tribe diminish..by the day.

Ven Oods

5th January 2020 at 9:58 am

“Every thing is fair in a war against terrorism but there has to be some method in the madness.”

Except that Trump’s ‘impulsive’ actions keep wrongfooting these people, who’ve had decades of dealing with world leaders who’d wring their hands and delay making decisions. Now, the terrorist states are the ones who wonder what will happen next.
As others have commented on here, there was little objection to Obama’s drone strikes, which seemed to be somewhat less clinical and successful than this latest example.
I don’t think this is a great way to be doing things, but if any attempt had been made to capture this man (or Bin Laden, come to that) many more people would have died – and what would that have achieved?

Prospero X

5th January 2020 at 10:44 am

It is almost certain that Trump’s actions were not impulsive. This was done carefully and precisely and at a time when Iran is in a insecure position in Iraq. it sends a clear message that the men behind terrorist acts are now personally at risk – a sobering thought for others in the Iranian regime.

John Kemp

4th January 2020 at 3:58 pm

The first part of this diatribe gives all the best reasons in the world to kill the man. Second part moves on to the ‘Hate Trump’ agenda in the most naive manner.

The very idea that this was some spur of the moment trigger reflex is stupidity incarnate. The Americans -and all the ‘five eyes’ will have an auto-watch warning for this man and many others. In this case though it is clear that while always on standby to either lift or swat him, even that takes time. So his movements were passed to the Americans in a verifiable manner and the clock started ticking. The sighting and movement reports would have been booted straight up the line to the highest levels of the NSA/CIA/Pentagon, dependent on where the sighting report originated. Then they would look at strike options, lifting options, locations, in fact they would game a scenario for this specific event. Having satisfied themselves they had a workable plan that too would go to the top of the military/intelligence tree and be verified, only then would they get in touch with the white house to get someone over there to brief the President and ask for permission. Don’t forget that clock running in the background because that is why they used a drone in this case. They couldn’t come up with a feasible plan to take him on the ground in the time frame, given the location. So the pres gets the brief on this bad guy. They tell him their assessment of success chances, downsides and upsides to doing this guy. Then they recommend strike. They did or otherwise it would never have got before Trump. So the Pres is told they can do it with minimum chance of collateral damage and maximum chance of a successful hit and how this would cause issues for the Iranians to replace him as well as stopping current projects because clearly there’s intel leaking out somewhere. So he nods his permission and signs the exec order.
So this wasn’t Trump ramping up or escalating anything, this was Trump being told that on balance, killing this guy is a good thing to do and so he agrees. Yeah he’s the top man and the buck stops there etc BUT it wasn’t his idea it was someone else’s.

Prospero X

5th January 2020 at 10:54 am

Excellent post. I’m constantly amazed how the propaganda of Trump being a dim, trigger-happy buffoon has been absorbed even by people who should know better.

nick hunt

4th January 2020 at 3:18 pm

Imagine the fear crippling the poor terrorists and tyrants of rogue states like Iran, now forced to worry about defence rather than offence. Imagine if deadly targetted attacks like this had been available to those defending freedom in the past: we could have taken out Hitler, Stalin, Mao and countless other tyrants, so preventing horriffic war and saving untold millions of lives. But you need leaders with the vision to see evil plus the courage to stand up to it, as Trump has done. As leftists only ever appease evil rather than fight it, they should never be our leaders. Change my mind

Jitendra Desai

4th January 2020 at 3:00 pm

Correct analysis.Trump’s actions have been impulsive. Other day he called of talks with Taliban.Now he wants to restart.Why?
Your views on Western liberals are shared by many in India

nick hunt

4th January 2020 at 3:29 pm

Incorrect analysis. Western leaders have done nothing except accommodate the murdering Islamist dictators of Iran, who will never stop oppressing and imprisoning their own citizens and endangering the entite region unless forced out of power. ‘Impulsive’ Trump has watched and analysed decades of hostility by Iranian terrorists and tyrants, and had the balls and the brains to fight evil rather than appease it

Jack Enright

4th January 2020 at 4:20 pm

Mr Hunt – EXACTLY!!

Marvin Jones

6th January 2020 at 3:00 pm

I agree with all you have written. Strange how the single minded fools of the left just have to analyse and find excuses for the type who are barely human, when the only answer to their existence is so obvious.

fret slider

4th January 2020 at 2:08 pm

As Ellen Ripley might have advised:

“I say we nuke the entire region from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.”

Peter Spurrier

4th January 2020 at 2:00 pm

I pretty much agree with this article. Soleimani’s influence was malign. But his killing is likely to be counterproductive. Not the ideal tactic. I expect it will unite Iranians in a desire to hit back.

fret slider

4th January 2020 at 2:10 pm

It will, face cannot be lost.

But they won’t want to overdo it.

nick hunt

4th January 2020 at 3:35 pm

You could read all the tweets and reports of the many Iranians celebrating the death of a hated Islamist murderer and state terrorist leader, and are thanking Trump. You could also read about how the Mullahs oblige their faithful supporters to flood and control the streets as if ordinary Iranians (Persians) loved their Muslim dictators. Trump knows all about that, as should anyone familiar with the unquestioned rule and propaganda tactics of dictators like Hitler and Stalin

Richard M. Parker

4th January 2020 at 1:58 pm

The question is what do you consider justifiable cause for killing a terrorist who the President said was planning another attack? If you are of the school “don’t disturb the hornet’s nest” then there is nothing short of mass slaughter that would move you to act. The point is that he has been an active terrorist, was planning more terror, and would continue to plan terror indefinitely into the future as he has been doing for more than 20 years. He was a key world terrorist whose removal is celebrated in both Iraq and Iran. That alone should tell you that the world is a better place without him.

David Webb

4th January 2020 at 1:44 pm

This is an ignorant article. The Deep State has been pushing him into a Middle East war for years – and Trump has attempted to soft-peddle on that, in the Syrian case launching an airstrike killing 4 servicemen, but not the massive strike being pressed on him by the neo-cons. But with impeachment looming and the Republican Party controlled by neo-cons, he may have felt he had to do something. We have still to see whether he manages to restrain the neo-cons from launching a large war. Bolton was sacked, but Trump has been manoeuvred into implementing Bolton’s foreign policy.

nick hunt

4th January 2020 at 3:23 pm

I can’t see Bolton having the brains to act like this. Precison targetted attacks on tyrants and terrorists leaders: obviously the way to go. Well done Trump for having the vision and courage to act rather than endlessly appease evil, as leftists have always done

David Webb

4th January 2020 at 7:39 pm

Nick, you fail to understand anything at all. The US and its proxies (Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) have funded jihadi militants in Syria in an attempt to overthrow Assad. The Iranians have been opposed to Sunni terrorist militias in Syria and are not the bad guys in this at all. The US was never in Syria to try and oppose ISIS at all. ISIS was covertly supported by the US.

David Webb

4th January 2020 at 7:44 pm

Here’s a Guardian article about US support for ISIS in Syria – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq This is the exact opposite of what the US government says it is doing in Syria. If you read of militias chopping off heads in Syria – yes, the US funds those guys. Just the same as the say the CIA, Mossad, Pakistani intelligence and the Al Qaida (and the Bin Laden friends of the Bush family) attacked the Twin Towers to justify a Middle Eastern War. Iran is not the bad guy in this.

richard jessop

4th January 2020 at 12:46 pm

There are only two possible good reasons to assassinate political leaders:

1. If the assassinated person has some special qualities that means that their replacement will be significantly dangerous to the interests of those committing the assassination; or

2. To send a message – for example, in this particular case, to other political / military leaders around the world who loath the US, and seek to damage US interests, that they are not safe from being similarly assassinated by the US, if they go too far.

The actual results of this assassination are wholly unpredictable by anyone, and will only be revealed in due course: the Iranian leadership will feel that it has to take revenge, in order to preserve its credibility – but all it will be likely to do is to shift secret Iranian moves against the US into some overt, headline-grabbing ones.

However, killing someone who has had decades of experience in running terrorist / guerilla (take your pick) military actions against US interests will certainly be a serious blow for Iran.

And this assassination will certainly give some of America’s most senior level political and military enemies food for thought, realizing that they are not immune from themselves being assassinated if they go too far.

So on balance, I would say it was not a bad move by Trump.

Jonathan Yonge

4th January 2020 at 12:56 pm

Did you mean ‘… significantly LESS dangerous….’ in 1 ?
Otherwise I don’t understand

David Redfern

4th January 2020 at 12:41 pm

I agree with the first part of this article, that Soleimani was an evil man. I don’t think that’s in dispute.

What I do disagree with is the outcome of assassinating him. It sends a message to Iran that Trump can get anyone he wants. In many ways, it almost shuts down senior Iranian officials from travelling anywhere in the ME. Their proxy militia organisations will be left largely leaderless.

Trump seems to have a tactic of escalating confrontation, then arranging talks where he starts lancing the boil. A similar thing happened with N. Korea, which was also to precipitate WW3.

The fact is, Iran don’t have the military might to take on the US directly. China and Russia are not interested, they are fledgling Capitalist countries who have recognised the benefit of free trade after years in the wilderness. Why would they risk that for a ME region they have no meaningful relationship with, and which offers them nothing they can’t get elsewhere?

So the squeals of WW3 are just complete nonsense. The idiot Cameron mentioned that relative to Brexit and the left went utterly berserk, this is no different.

Trumps next move will be interesting. He has numerous negotiating options, not least lifting of sanctions which might alleviate the street violence in Iran. And sanctions have been one of the cry’s to humanity Iran has been broadcasting, despite their own murderous track record.

Or perhaps the response from Iran; which would be ill advised to escalate violence. If Trump offers talks, they would be prudent to accept them, despite Trump holding the whip hand, as he seems to have the knack of seizing.

Modern Money

4th January 2020 at 12:32 pm


Oil and the planet is on fire just does not make any sense. Record breaking temps in Australia again today.


Gets the oil price it wants in two ways

a) It started buying more than it needs and storing it. Storing millions of barrels of the stuff.

b) Just went to Iran to get the price it wanted after the west stopped Iran selling it to the West.

Rumour has it by experts that The financial oil market has parted company from the reality of supply and demand. Between mid-2007 and mid-2009 the oil price went – the benchmark went from $80 to $147 to $35 back to $80. And, in all that time, the actual supply and demand in physical quantity changed by less than 3%.

Gary Cohn and Rex Tillerson were on a very specific mission that not everyone understands while they were in the White House.


Jonathan Yonge

4th January 2020 at 12:59 pm

steven brook

4th January 2020 at 12:10 pm

“General Soleimani was a nasty Iranian imperialist. But what was the point of killing him?” For the same reason as killing Heydrich, revenge and its good for moral.

Ian Bland

4th January 2020 at 11:52 am

I’m inclined to agree with the article. The world is full of Bad People, but that doesn’t mean the right course of action is to just assassinate them. It’s the same idea that getting rid of Gadaffi must be good because he was bad. The actual outcome has been somewhat different.

Hugh McManners

4th January 2020 at 11:38 am

“Moral neediness”…?

I’d say President Trump has much the same level of “moral neediness” as General Qasem Soleimani. It’s so not a factor – except of course for all the voices raised in moral outrage of this action.

But there’s not much understanding in this article sadly. Reaper strikes are immediate opportunity events requiring instant authorisation. The target lists are drawn up well in advance, according to national policy. General Qasem Soleimani would have a similar list.

The situation in Iraq was heading towards needing a total US citizen withdrawal anyway. And now Iran will need to make a comparable strike to placate its hardliners. But it was always going to do that, had an opportunity arisen.

To describe Iran as the playground bully is an unreasonably mild understatement. But it does provide us with an accurate aphorism from which to judge this strike, and how things now unfold.

Jonathan Yonge

4th January 2020 at 10:44 am

I have a nasty feeling that the same argument could apply to Hitler.

But I can think of one reason for killing Soleimani and that would be to enable his replacement to be less murderous. Same would apply to Hitler.

Willie Penwright

4th January 2020 at 10:43 am

It’s good to see that British journalists are ready to defend US actions in the Middle East. There was a brief time when articles, such as this, would have been spiked by the established press but not today. Substantially the same article appears in all the mainstream press where the US military is praised for taking control and killing the locals who don’t toe the line.
The British bulldog is straining at the leash in Iraq, waiting for the master’s whistle. Our chaps will show them that our part in the invasion of their country was not just a stunt by Prime Minister Blair to curry favour with the US president but was part of our destiny to correct the maladministration in these foreign climes and protect our oil assets.

Hugo van der Meer

4th January 2020 at 10:10 am

Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum

Willie Penwright

4th January 2020 at 5:04 pm

Hoc sententia moderatione exspectantes est


5th January 2020 at 12:24 am

ex mente usor internexus semper aliquid novi


5th January 2020 at 12:28 am

dulce bellum inexpertis

Willie Penwright

5th January 2020 at 11:13 am

Sic biscuit disintegrat

Hugo van der Meer

5th January 2020 at 7:58 pm

Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum.

henry balfour

6th January 2020 at 2:15 am

Carved into the headstone of the US Empire’s grave : “Vis consili, expers mole ruit sua.”


5th January 2020 at 11:03 pm

Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia? Nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palati, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora voltusque moverunt? Patere tua consilia non sentis, constrictam iam horum omnium scientia teneri coniurationem tuam non vides? Quid proxima, quid superiore nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consilii ceperis, quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris? [2] O tempora, o mores! Senatus haec intellegit. Consul videt; hic tamen vivit. Vivit? immo vero etiam in senatum venit, fit publici consilii particeps, notat et designat oculis ad caedem unum quemque nostrum. Nos autem fortes viri satis facere rei publicae videmur, si istius furorem ac tela vitemus. Ad mortem te, Catilina, duci iussu consulis iam pridem oportebat, in te conferri pestem, quam tu in nos [omnes iam diu] machinaris.

Hugo van der Meer

4th January 2020 at 10:09 am

Which flavour? Mine’s vanilla with strawberry sauce.


5th January 2020 at 11:09 pm

Da iawn.

Dodgy Geezer

4th January 2020 at 10:07 am

“…The US effectively executed a significant state figure in another national territory, and it did so without congressional consultation, without strategic consideration, and without much in the way of actual political thought….”

A lot has been said above – most of which is in favour of the action taken by Trump. I shall not repeat this, beyond saying that NOBODY takes these sort of actions without strategic consideration or political thought. Spiked commentators may or may not LIKE the thinking that has gone into this – but thinking WILL have been done.

The most obvious consideration is that Iran is able to cause major disruption to the world’s oil supply – either by attacking Saudi facilities or by closing the Straits of Hormuz – and the oil weapon has been a powerful one since the 1970s.

However, the USA is now an oil exporter, thanks to fracking technology, and will benefit if the oil price goes up. The Saudis, who have been able to drive US involvement in the Middle East in the past by threatening oil sanctions, will be put on the back foot, and the West may be able to disconnect further from this area if alternative oil supplies are stimulated by Iranian action. All positive geopolitical moves for the US.

Hugo van der Meer

4th January 2020 at 9:53 am

Currently there is an undertow of opinion which see the only course of action regarding the muslim threat towards Western democracy, with all of it’s defects and foibles, to blanket bomb those countries, posing such a threat, further back into the stone age than they currently sit. This seems to most to be the solution to a profoundly dangerous threat. Many believe that to nip the threat from jihadists firmly in the bud the countries which pose the greatest threat to aforementioned western democracy must be throughly destroyed which in effect will end the cat and mouse game once and for all. This idea, whilst distasteful to the limp of wrist, and feeble of backbone, seems eminently reasonable to those who wish to return to a world of safety and security.

Hugo van der Meer

4th January 2020 at 10:07 am

‘Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum’

Peter Spurrier

4th January 2020 at 2:48 pm

I normally consider myself to be quite far to the right. But indiscriminate mass murder? No thanks. if that makes me ‘lacking in backbone’ so be it.

Hugo van der Meer

5th January 2020 at 9:07 pm

It simply indicates lack of initiative and perhaps courage of conviction. You indicate that you aline yourself to/with what you term ‘right wing’ it is not a pre-requisite for understanding that there can be only one outcome to this war of ‘ideologies’.

Hugo van der Meer

5th January 2020 at 9:16 pm

Sitting on the fence, in truth, renders you defenceless. FYI. https://www.jihadwatch.org

Michael Lynch

4th January 2020 at 9:38 am

The most alarming aspect of this is the response of the liberal left. They really can’t see past their loathing for Trump and it is sickening to see and read in a lot of media how they try to portray the POTUS as somehow worse than this terrorist scumbag. In the Irish Independent they seem more interested in reporting how Trump tucked into an ice cream whilst watching footage of the drone strike. It’s ridiculous, absurd and rather worrying attitude regarding the defense of the West. I’m firmly with the POTUS on this one and would have gladly shared a large tub of ice cream with him whilst watching the destruction of one of the most dangerous individuals on the planet.

nick hunt

4th January 2020 at 3:46 pm

The more the left supports murdering islamist and communist tyrants and terrorists rather than the only Western leader with the balls and brains to defend us against them, the more they will lose any semblance of rationality or moral superiority. Moire imnportantly, the more we will be free of their fatally toxic influence as they continue to lose elections. Only those themselves made blind by anti-Trump fear and bigotry could defend evil fanatics and dictators

Hugo van der Meer

5th January 2020 at 10:46 pm

Hear, hear!

Don Purple

5th January 2020 at 12:19 pm

The Guardian the last two days has turned into a Soleimani fanzine. Proportional reporting is clearly not on the agenda, not that it ever is on those pages. They are blinded by their righteous indignation, drunk on opprobrium, it is quite disturbing.

Hugo van der Meer

6th January 2020 at 8:31 am

And strung out on hubris no doubt.

Ven Oods

4th January 2020 at 9:22 am

“But what was the point of killing him?”
I’d have thought that at least one of the aims would be to make his successor a bit more cautious? (Come for us and we’ll come for you.)


4th January 2020 at 10:14 am

It’s not as if the Iranian regime was not warned about US retaliation after their scores of incursions into Iraq. They were warned by Mike Pompeo, Sec of State, to stop their attacks on contractors, on US bases and soldiers, on pain of lots more pain. Pompeo couldn’t have been more emphatic.This was not a sneak attack. Soleiman knew the odds, as did the engineer al Muhandis, his close collaborator, point man for Hezbollah and organiser of proxy militias in Iraq.
The death of Soleiman was a message, nay a demand, addressed to the Quds forces to BACK OFF and stop the mayhem in Iraq or else. Next step? My hunch, Iranian nuclear facilities, maybe all of them.

Violet Mila

4th January 2020 at 8:46 am

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Mike Stallard

4th January 2020 at 8:43 am

Iran is where Islam was founded by the Abbasids in the early middle ages. Today Iran – Persia – is a powerful regional force insisting on Islamic ideals – Allah first, then Shi’a Islam under a set of determined religious leaders. Killing off one of the leaders is, as you say, a nasty precedent and it will not stop Persians being Persians will it.

The West, led by America, has its own beliefs based as far as i can see on 1960s Woodstock/Glastonbury. And they (we) are not going to give those up either.

Dialogue of the deaf is the result.

Stephen J

4th January 2020 at 8:10 am

I wonder just how many American citizens, whether they be military, or sitting target at home, would be dead by now had the likes of Obama remained potus? The last twenty years have seen one really aggressive potus after another risking its citizenry, and Trump has put a stop to that.

Trump does not risk the lives of his voters, since they are the people that he represents.

The likes of Obama or Clinton, are not that interested in their own citizenry, they are only interested in what their money can do in a global market. The people can go and be deplorable for all they care.

Michael Lynch

4th January 2020 at 9:47 am

Precisely. I often wonder how an American President could have possibly sat on his hands whilst watching one of his own citizens being beheaded. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, I understand, but the true price for this was the piles and piles of dead Syrian children. When you have been entrusted with immense power you simply have to use it at certain times. Obama was a well spoken fop; an empty hole of a man and nothing more. His legacy is one of appeasement and it made the world a far more dangerous place during his Presidency.

Jim Lawrie

4th January 2020 at 6:44 pm

“He’s a dreamer, not a doer” was the assessment of Obama by a black woman I know well. She was most definitely a doer.

Claire D

4th January 2020 at 7:59 am

T. Black,
Just to point out that for Trump to have pulled out US citizens prior to the strike would have warned the Iranians an attack was immanent and doomed the assassination to failure.

I don’t claim to understand fully what is going on here and now, but just imagine if it had been possible to assassinate Hitler in this way in 1940, all the lives saved and horrors avoided.

Claire D

4th January 2020 at 2:20 pm

. . .should be * imminent*.

Dominic Straiton

4th January 2020 at 7:38 am

Well as its the wrong denomination of peacefuls its unlikely khan will trot out his diversity,strength mantra. Expect a run on Narwhal tusks.

H McLean

4th January 2020 at 12:30 am

There’s a lot of wilful ignorance in this article. I disagree with targeted drone strikes but that doesn’t mean we can’t make an effort understand and give context to the motives of Trump and why he felt taking action was necessary.

After the tragedy and incompetence of the 2012 Benghazi attack it would be seen by the US public as neglectful in the extreme for a US president to let another attack on an embassy to go unanswered. He would be crucified by the media, his political opponents, the voting public, and many in his own party. In that respect it can be argued the motive for action was merely political, but many will rightly see it as a measured response to years of Iranian provocation and murder.

One thing’s for sure, the public have no desire for another war in the Middle East, so while many will support slapping down the Iranians for their proxy wars and state-sponsored terrorism, Trump will most likely be the coolest head in the room and refuse to be drawn into a ground war. It should also be noted that Trump is probably the most anti-war president since Carter, but unlike Carter he is unafraid to show strength through action when necessary, an attribute voters greatly admire. Remember, Trump always wants to make a deal. He doesn’t want a war.

BTW, the reference in this article to the democratically elected government of Syria as “the regime of Bashar al-Assad” is as yellow a piece of journalism as I’ve seen in any of the mainstream controlled press. Shame on you.

Jim Lawrie

4th January 2020 at 8:55 am

Why do you disagree with air strikes? How would you deal with terrorists in the Middle East?

Donald Trump is difficult for Iran to negotiate with because he doesn’t play by the rules and inhibitions they expect of the West but are not bound by themselves. Trump plays hardball right back at them, and has no time for those who want to sit on their hands and wait and see. If the other side are not acting in good faith and will cede nothing, he walks. I wonder why this publication, with all its revolutionary credentials, objects to a President for doing things differently, and chides him to go back to the staid old ways?

As regards your last paragraph, I find it annoying that such petty and snide remarks, unconnected to the subject, are a regular feature of articles on here.

Hugh McManners

4th January 2020 at 11:16 am

I agree, and particularly regarding the snide remarks in the last paragraph. T Black (like other “intellectual” journalists) does this regularly.

It’s a lazy journalistic conceit suggesting balance, fairness and percipience. A shame as it indicates the opposite.

a watson

4th January 2020 at 3:06 pm

Well put. The American President is acting in a positive manner. Surely we all have had our fill of these middle east gangsters – or should we be constantly appeasing them, which is just what they desire.

H McLean

5th January 2020 at 1:00 am

@Jim ~I don’t have the answer of to how to deal with terrorists, sorry. Drone strikes are highly effective ways of side-stepping basic principles like “the right to a trial”. Outside of an actual state of war between two countries it becomes a tool of summary execution, and whenever that has taken place in the past it has always led to the death of innocents and abuses of power. I agree that Trump playing the spanner in the works is a good thing, but I am torn because Iran has been getting away with their proxy wars and terrorism for too long.

Jim Lawrie

5th January 2020 at 11:03 am

H McLean when we are under attack we must defend ourselves. If the attacks continue, we must wage war. In those circumstances due process is suspended. When peace was imposed in Iraq, the Iraqi people used the opportunity to execute Saddam Hussein. The Iranian regime want war abroad, and complete subjugation at home. They issued an order for the execution of an author they disagreed with, and backed it up with a bounty. They have put themselves outside of the law and cannot be dealt with by ordinary legal or diplomatic means. If they fail their lives are forfeit. Self defence, including going on the offensive, is not sinking to their level. It is now the last option available to us.

The moment they took power this regime started liquidating communists and leftists by the thousand, culminating in the mass executions of 1988 when they were sure they would not lose the war with Iraq, and were not about to be put in the dock. They would quickly eliminate anyone in Iran who did not condemn outright the killing of Soleimani, agree that he was a martyr and that all his actions were the will of Allah. They claim the power of life and death over us from a higher authority, and approve of those who kill us over here based on that.

Michael Lynch

5th January 2020 at 11:56 am

Absolutely right, Jim. These fanatics think they will get an additional virgin in paradise for every Westerner they knock off. There is simply no dealing with irrational nutters except to slap them down.

Ven Oods

4th January 2020 at 9:31 am

“…for a US president to let another attack on an embassy to go unanswered.”
I thought the same. The planners of embassy attacks don’t mind how many of the cannon fodder they send end up dead or injured, but aren’t expecting to pay a price themselves.
I just wish I had a chain of shops dotted around these hotspots. I’d make a fortune selling flammable flags.

Carl Black

3rd January 2020 at 11:15 pm

At last a balance view of the Trump presidency! The action was completely ill advised and Anti democratic.

Marshal Arinna

3rd January 2020 at 11:51 pm

Iran has been taunting the US for the last 6 months or so. Trump is not a patient man but Iran tested him all the way until the US embassy staff lives were threatened. Trump didn’t want another Benghazi to happen. The attack on the embassy was the last straw. When the attacks took place, his enemies were already cheering that that was his Benghazi. Trump was going to be damned whether the US embassy staff came out alive or dead. He was taunted sufficiently and the last action was the one that broke the camel’s back. So “take it” he said when he knocked off Soleimani. Let that be the first lesson.

Marshal Arinna

4th January 2020 at 12:09 am

If Trump did not take decisive action now, the Iranians would have given him a real Benghazi moment by attacking and slaughtering more Americans at more of their embassies. Then Trump’s enemies would damn him for not showing leadership. Either way Trump is damned.

Ven Oods

4th January 2020 at 9:34 am

Whereas the 2003 Iraq War and Obama’s drone strikes were somehow democratic?
If you’re going to be critical, at least aim for even-handedness.

Michael Lynch

4th January 2020 at 9:50 am

Yeah, like terrorists support democracy, don’t they? Numbskull.

Jonathan Yonge

4th January 2020 at 12:58 pm

..a bit like your comment

Bryan Hayes

3rd January 2020 at 10:26 pm

Legally speaking this was no assesination, but rather a long overdue execution of a convicted capital criminal and mass murderer, carried out not by the responsible judical system, but, due to criminal, premeditated refusal of the latter to fulfil their duty, rather in an administrative act of substitution execution (execution here in an administrative / legal sense).

Daniel Hennessy

3rd January 2020 at 10:24 pm

To boil this response to an embassy attack down to a matter of personal conceit, given that Iran is the dominant sponsor of terrorism in the world, given the threat at hand, given the role of the target, given the pretextual horror of the betrayal of our citizens at Bengazi on 9/11, 2012, is to just not due the subject the justice it deserves.

Steven Edgar

4th January 2020 at 1:22 am

Hi Daniel. I believe the dominant sponsor of terrorism in the world today is the repugnant House of Saud. Sadly we reduce out moral legitimacy in the Mid East by doing business with these despots. I’m not saying Iran is any less disagreeable, but the Saudi’s remain the main exporter of Jihad.

Jonnie Henly

4th January 2020 at 3:00 am

“given that Iran is the dominant sponsor of terrorism in the world”

No it is not.

Jerry Owen

4th January 2020 at 11:42 am

3 am… Shouldn’t you have been asleep or did you need mummy to wind you?

Jonnie Henly

4th January 2020 at 12:35 pm

It’s amazing how timezones work isn’t it Jerry?

Of course, I wouldn’t expect someone who’s never travelled more than 5 miles to understand that.

Jerry Owen

5th January 2020 at 5:21 pm

Then you really have no excuse for your imbecilic post.

Thomas Prentice

3rd January 2020 at 10:11 pm

General Qasem Soleimani was the Eisenhower or MacArthur of Iran. Also the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of this clinically insane era run by the clinically insane hegemon, the Exceptional United States Empire.

And as for being nasty imperialists, the US takes the total cake on that, pot calling the kettle chartreuse, whether by Trump/Pompeo or by the headline writer of spiked.

Ven Oods

5th January 2020 at 10:04 am

I’ve never read that Eisenhower or MacArthur oversaw mass torture and illegal detentions, so your equivalence doesn’t really stand. By any sane standards, this general was a scumbag, but by Iranian theocratic standards, he’s a hero and a martyr. Let’s hope he’s enjoying his virgins in Paradise, eh?

Steve B

3rd January 2020 at 9:36 pm

It’s a shame the writer of the article couldn’t resist the chance to apply kitchen table psychobabble to personally criticise Mr Trump, when, by most objective standards, this was the correct execution of the correct decision, taken in the correct way. As has already been commented above, if “permission” had been sought in Congress the entire mission would have been doomed, and it is an effective lesson to America’s foes that they can be reached and touched – anywhere, any time.


3rd January 2020 at 8:48 pm

So sad about General Soleimani – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!

Prospero X

3rd January 2020 at 8:14 pm

Trump has a habit of putting his opponents in a lose/ lose position. Let’s see how this shakes out.

Richard Cooper

3rd January 2020 at 8:02 pm

If Trump had “gone through channels” by seeking Congressional approval, however secret it was supposed to be, the Iranians would have known about it within minutes.

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 7:42 pm

We will not know all the reasoning behind this termination. Given the targets are and infrequency of such actions, I trust that they are discussed at length. Soleimani was targeting US citizens. Diplomats no less, in an attempt to stop any possible peaceful outcome to ongoing disputes. Iran cannot advance its interest if there is peace.

In Greece for 60 years after WWII US military attaches and diplomatic personnel were murdered by Communists. Those same Communists had no problems with accepting weapons and training from the US and the UK to expel the Germans. They did object to US and British troops on their soil to stop a Russian occupation. It seems that this publication wants to cherry pick in a similar manner between ISIS and Iran.

The article is all filler and bluster against Donald Trump. It does not present a case against this action except that it was Donald Trump who authorised it.
As for the faux concern for US citizens expressed above, I am sure the US would have quietly prepared its citizens for departure, and warned them that they were in danger of assassination by Soleimani’s henchmen long before this pre-emptive strike.


3rd January 2020 at 8:09 pm

I agree with your post, Jim. Looks like this assassination finally cured you of your transsexual obsession!

Jim Lawrie

4th January 2020 at 12:46 am

Stumped by reason you resort to insinuations of mental deficiency in the belief that it masks your dilemna.

I like Donald Trump because he is half Scottish.

Ven Oods

4th January 2020 at 9:36 am

Which half, though, Jim?

Jim Lawrie

4th January 2020 at 2:43 pm

He’s a teetotaller, so not the whisky half.

Jonnie Henly

4th January 2020 at 2:59 am

” I am sure the US would have quietly prepared its citizens for departure, and warned them that they were in danger of assassination by Soleimani’s henchmen long before this pre-emptive strike.”

Are you? How reassuring.

Jim Lawrie

4th January 2020 at 7:19 pm

What do you think Jon boy? There are no contingency plans? No raising of threat levels? No states of preparedness? 3,00 extra troop whistled up from the local saloon bar?

Jonnie Henly

5th January 2020 at 1:33 pm

Contingency plans sure. But no pre planning. No preparedness. They only reacted after the fact.

Steve Huckle

3rd January 2020 at 7:31 pm

Civilised society depends on its justice systems, so for me, the most troubling thing about this state-led assassination is what it says about the rule of law. Instead of putting people before the courts, is it now okay to resort to the same murderous narrative as the terrorists?

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 7:53 pm

How do you suggest we deal with Soleimani’s like under the rule of law when he operates where there is no such thing, with the objective of exporting that? Send him a summons?

No-one Important

3rd January 2020 at 8:05 pm

Agree with your sentiment, Jim – because my natural bent is to slap down bad men – but there is something in this exchange from the film about Thomas More which holds a note of caution:

“WILLIAM ROPER: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

SIR THOMAS MORE: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

ROPER: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Jim Lawrie

3rd January 2020 at 11:48 pm

NO-ONE IMPORTANT that exchange is not in point here. One, because they were actually in a court of law, albeit one that had been usurped, not least by perjury. More was beheaded. It was part of a three way struggle between the The Law, Ecclesiastical Law, and the autocrats. It ended with Charles I losing his head, and The Church losing its monastic wealth.

Destroying the command structure has thwarted imminent attack, a situation where action prevails over procedure.

Ron Pearce

4th January 2020 at 1:40 am

He was fully aware of his crimes against humanity , particularly on his own people.
He had a choice to continue those crimes or bring reason and hope to the table on behalf of his country, to offer inspiration to his fellow countrymen and work towards peacefully resolving the tensions in his region. He chose the bomb and bullet believing that only that action was in the best interest of his country rather than dialogue.
Good riddance to another murderer without the slightest conscience or respect for his own people.
LBC and BBC desperately trying to find at least one Iranian caller to criticise Trump all day but without much luck so far !!!!

Claire D

4th January 2020 at 2:39 pm


It’s important to remember that the words you quote are those of Robert Bolt, the screenwriter of the film of A Man for All Seasons, NOT Sir Thomas More himself, who was not above torturing people and sending them to be burnt at the stake when their religious beliefs did not tie in with his. Most unwise to mix up history with fiction and film-making.

Marshal Arinna

5th January 2020 at 10:32 am

My sentiments too. Those who live by the sword die by the sword.

Brandy Cluster

3rd January 2020 at 9:29 pm

Know your enemy and you’ll win the war. No time for kid gloves – leave that to the dithering Left. Trump will get plaudits from his supporters in the USA. Whether that transposes into re-election late this year remains to be seen. But the idea of a trial in the courts is risible, particularly in light of perverse leniency which is so much a feature of western law. And some beneficent Democrat will come along in 10 years’ time and say “we need an amnesty for political prisoners”. Where, oh where, have I heard THAT before?

Bryan Hayes

3rd January 2020 at 10:39 pm

He condemned himself to the death penalty by his mass murders. For such evident cases no court sentence is necessary if it is too difficult to get hold of the criminal.

Marvin Jones

6th January 2020 at 3:07 pm

Where are the human rights sewage when he needed them? shame! if Corbyn won the election, this murderous pig could have been under protection in number ten!

Jonathan Yonge

3rd January 2020 at 7:25 pm

I am a passive observer:
– On the one hand I see murderers, and the articles written about them
– On the other hand I see actions against murderers and articles written about them

What do I think ?
I think I am safer when actions are taken against murderers

Brandy Cluster

3rd January 2020 at 9:30 pm


Jonnie Henly

4th January 2020 at 2:57 am

Does this include the action taken against Isis by General Soleimani?

David Redfern

4th January 2020 at 12:10 pm

Are you deluded enough to believe that Iran wouldn’t supply ISIS in a nanosecond if it suited them? Same religious and social objectives, to kill Infidels who won’t convert to Islam, with particular emphasis on Israel.

Jonnie Henly

4th January 2020 at 12:37 pm

Pretty much anyone would supply Isis if it suited them, including the US.

Jerry Owen

3rd January 2020 at 6:43 pm

The man had blood on his hands ..good riddance.
It really is that simple.. those affected by him will attest to that as you stated.

Mike Stallard

4th January 2020 at 8:51 am

Jerry – This is almost exactly how the first world war accidentally started. When Gavril Prinzip assassinated the son of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary he was wrong and the Austrians were very rightly upset. The crucial decision, however, was taken by a very Trump like William II of Prussia who off handedly accepted the advice of his generals and off the cuff started the whole thing off.

Jerry Owen

4th January 2020 at 11:45 am

Utter drivel

Jerry Owen

4th January 2020 at 11:46 am

Spare me the Trump equals Hitler crap.

Jonnie Henly

4th January 2020 at 12:36 pm

I wasn’t aware Hilter started WW1.

Jerry’s alternate reality fantasy reveals itself again!

James Knight

3rd January 2020 at 6:00 pm

I guess Trump was channelling Obama:

“You can’t do a thing about it..”

“Yes We Can!”.


3rd January 2020 at 5:29 pm

Surely a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Teheran would have been a more effective response, and a more efficient way of putting the fear of God into these primitives.

Jerry Owen

3rd January 2020 at 7:09 pm

Yes… Nuclear bombs are known for their extreme accuracy.
Must be idiot post of the day !


3rd January 2020 at 7:48 pm

You clearly know nothing about modern nuclear weapons. In any case, the purpose of a nuclear strike would be to wipe out a city or significant urban area, not to perform a precision strike designed to kill a few individuals. You did not understand the meaning of my post.

Dodgy Geezer

4th January 2020 at 10:20 am

“….Yes… Nuclear bombs are known for their extreme accuracy…..”

Nuclear bombs are know for their generation of high temperatures, radiation and ability to be scaled to very high powers. Accuracy is a feature of the delivery platform, and modern delivery systems are, indeed, remarkably accurate.

Nuclear bombs cannot be made very small. The smallest would typically have a power of about 10 tons of TNT. Apart from the political (and actual) fallout from using a nuclear weapon, this would result in considerable collateral damage if used as an assassination weapon on an individual.

John Kemp

4th January 2020 at 4:06 pm

The CEP [Circular Error Probable] for many nukes nowadays is within a a few yards. This is why nukes have become progressively smaller. The old ones were notoriously inaccurate, especially Russian ones with a CEP of a couple of miles. Polaris and then Trident brought the CEP down to 500yards and then 250 respectively but cruise missiles are precision weapons and they brought the delivery CEP down to ‘Which window?’ So the payload has dropped from multi-megaton weapons down to a few kilotons or less because any more is literally overkill. This actually makes their use more likely than less likely. However, since ground bursts are ‘dirty’ the small area vaporised the less atmospheric fallout so again small is beautiful in this regard.

Geraint ap Iorwerth

3rd January 2020 at 7:13 pm

These primitives! Aye, a good name for US Republicans, many of them Right-Wing Christians


3rd January 2020 at 7:57 pm

I am a Christian, not particularly ‘right wing’, but I do think this strike by Trump was necessary. What was the US supposed to do, allow the Iranian terrorist regime to act with impunity?

Brandy Cluster

3rd January 2020 at 9:30 pm

Your observation is about as comprehensible as your name.

Jonnie Henly

4th January 2020 at 2:58 am

“Allow the Iranian terrorist regime to act with impunity”?

Well they’re happy for Israel and Saudi Arabia to do likewise.

John Kemp

4th January 2020 at 3:59 pm

…yawn, barely worth rebutting.

Jim Lawrie

5th January 2020 at 11:38 am

No Jon boy Henley. Apart from the whataboutery of your post, it is factually incorrect. Israel plan meticulously every strike to minimalise casualties. If they acted as you claim, the death toll every year would be in the tens of thousands. When they isolate suicide bombers death occurs at the behest of the bomber. When their borders are threatened by thousands, an Israeli shoots a target based on intelligence, on the spot observation, and authorisation – usually from multiple sources.

It is Hamas who have utter disregard for the lives of their youngsters and put them in the firing line with impunity. It is Hamas and Hezbollah who launch indiscriminate rocket attacks on the people of Israel.

Jonnie Henly

5th January 2020 at 1:38 pm

Oh please Jim. Don’t be such a lackey for propaganda. Just because Israel tells you that they desperately try and minimalize casualties doesn’t make it so.

Don’t pretend like Israel hasn’t killed hundreds, heck thousands, of civilians with their “meticulously planned” strikes.

If Israel were treated like most other nations in the Middle East, the US would regularly send cruise missiles into it very time their strikes kill a few too many civilians.

Hugo van der Meer

5th January 2020 at 10:48 pm

Sut mae’n teimlo i fod yn arsehole llwyr?

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