The Trump administration has repeatedly changed its rationale for President Trump’s decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the infamous commander of Iran’s Quds Force, in a drone strike earlier this month.
Some aides have insisted that Soleimani and his forces were planning an imminent attack that threatened American lives. Only the president provided more specifics on what was being targeted, but without providing any evidence. Then he and some top advisors seemed to backtrack, saying Soleimani “could have been” targeting US embassies.
“I think it would have been four embassies, could have been military bases, could have been a lot of other things too. But it was imminent,” he recently told Fox News.
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President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, ratcheting up tensions between the US and Iran, but in the aftermath, the US has struggled to explain and justify why it had the infamous commander was killed.
Soleimani, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, was killed early in the morning on Friday, Jan. 3 in Baghdad, Iraq. The strike soured relations between the US and Iraq and led the Iranians to retaliate with a missile attack on US and coalition forces, and as tensions skyrocketed, a passenger jet was accidentally shot down, killing all 176 people on board.
Previous administrations opted against killing Soleimani over concerns it would endanger more Americans and civilians by creating greater unrest in the region.
Here is how the Trump administration has tried to justify Soleimani’s killing:
‘Actively developing plans.’ Shortly after the strike took place, the Department of Defense released a statement saying the general had American blood on his hands, stating that his forces were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans. The Pentagon blamed him for a rocket attack days prior to his death that killed a US civilian contractor and wounded several American service members.
The statement said that “Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” adding that the “strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
‘Imminent attack taking place.’ Hours after the strike, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters: “I can’t talk too much about the nature of the threats, but the American people should know that President Trump’s decision to remove Qassem Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives.”
He said that “there was in fact an imminent attack taking place,” further explaining that “it was the time to take this action” and that “the risk of doing nothing was enormous.”
The use of the word “imminent” is key.
International law, as it relates to self-defense, stipulates that striking an enemy first to prevent an attack is only lawful when that attack is thought to be imminent, in other words happening or about to happen; there are also other requirements, such as that the anticipated attack leaves “no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation.” The …read more
Source:: Business Insider