How Trump decided to kill Iran’s Soleimani

How Trump decided to kill Iran’s Soleimani, by Daniel Lippman.

Hours before the U.S. military sent a Reaper drone to kill one of the most wanted men on the planet, President Donald Trump was relaxing at his palatial Florida properties. In the morning, he played 18 holes at Trump International, his West Palm Beach golf club. …

He’d already made a risky — and potentially world-altering — decision to allow the U.S. military to kill Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite paramilitary forces.

As rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq intensified over the last two months, the president had granted the Pentagon extraordinary latitude: The U.S. military had his permission to kill Soleimani the next time it had an opportunity to do so, according to a senior defense official who was not authorized to speak on the record. …

For a man U.S. officials have portrayed as a terrorist mastermind, an evil genius responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, Soleimani often flaunted his influence as he jetted between Tehran, Baghdad and Beirut for meetings with local potentates. …

A Republican foreign policy hand said … “It’s been one of his talking points: The Americans can find me any time, they just don’t dare hit me.” …

Iranian officials were warning of a severe reaction …

Some pertinent comments:

 

 

John Hinderaker:

An astute observer figured out how to get the Democrats on board with the killing of mass murderer Qassem Soleimani:

I wish liberals were not so easy to parody, I really do. The world would be a better place. But in the meantime, it certainly is fun to laugh at them.

And from 2015: Obama Strikes a Deal–With Qassem Suleimani, by Lee Smith.

The negotiations were about something else entirely — they were about what Obama has described as a new geopolitical equilibrium, which would stabilize the Middle East and allow the administration to further minimize its role in the region. The way Obama described it publicly, this new security architecture was going to balance Iran against traditional American allies, like Saudi Arabia. However, it soon became apparent that the White House wasn’t really balancing at all, but had rather chosen one team over the others, Iran.

Obama made his preference for Iran and its allies clear — in Lebanon, Syria, and most obviously in Iraq where the White House ordered air strikes on ISIS positions that allowed various Iranian-backed outfits, under the leadership of Qassem Suleimani, to take Tikrit.

Obama likes Suleimani, and admires his work. As the president reportedly told a group of Arab officials in May, the Arabs “need to learn from Iran’s example.” …

The deal is with the hard men of the regime, the extremists — the deal is with Qassem Suleimani. …

Combining the two — tens of billions of dollars in immediate sanctions relief and an end to the embargo — is like loading a gun and handing it over to Qassem Suleimani. And that’s precisely what Obama intended: The way he sees it, he’s arming an American ally.

This president is different.