According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, three years ago the Obama Administration warned the Iranian government that Israel was about to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, in Damascus.
Al-Jarida asserts that the incident “sparked a sharp disagreement between the Israeli and American security and intelligence apparatuses regarding the issue.”
The Quds force has provided military assistance to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza; Soleimani was designated as a supporter of terrorism by the State Department in 2007 for his connections to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which was outspoken about wanting to proliferate ballistic missiles capable of carrying WMDs.
The State Department asserted that the Quds Force itself supported terrorism, writing, “The Qods Force, a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC; aka Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), provides material support to the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).” Last August, Brig. Gen. Ismail Ghaani, the deputy commander of the Quds Force, bragged that his operatives had killed more Americans than U.S. troops had killed Iranian fighters.
As Kenneth R. Timmerman, executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran which works to support democratic movements in Iran, has written of Soleimani, “After Osama bin Laden, he has more American blood on his hand than any terrorist. It’s time we shut him down for good.”