The world has awoken today a safer and more just place. And the unraveling of former President Barack Obama’s pro-Iran regional Middle East realignment, which began with President Donald Trump’s thunderous exit from his predecessor’s pro-ayatollah nuclear capitulation, has now reached its logical conclusion.
The Obama Middle East foreign policy legacy is dead. As is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s infamous jihadist mastermind, Qassem Soleimani.
Good riddance to both.
It is difficult to overstate the geopolitical and strategic ramifications of Soleimani’s long-overdue demise. Aside from Osama bin Laden himself, no leading international jihadist thug has had more American blood on his hands than the decades-long veteran commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) — a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and umbrella organization overseeing so much regional and global evil, from Iraq to Yemen to Syria to Lebanon to Gaza to European capitals to our very own western hemisphere. From Hezbollah to Hamas to Palestinian Islamic Jihad to Yemeni Houthi rebels to (contra Iranian propaganda) al-Qaeda itself, the extraterritorial tentacles of the inherently jihadist Iranian regime are simply ubiquitous.
No nation on Earth funds, sponsors, and exports more genocidal jihad than the Islamic Republic of Iran. And no one has been more responsible for that over the past 20-plus years than Qassem Soleimani. The Hudson Institute’s Michael Doran is thus correct when he writes today that, “[t]he killings of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leaders of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, were certainly meaningful, but they were also largely symbolic.” By contrast, Doran continues, “[t]aking out the architect of the Islamic Republic’s decades-long active campaign of violence against the United States and its allies, especially Israel, represents a tectonic shift in Middle Eastern politics.”
This is precisely right.
Soleimani, who was designated and sanctioned by the U.N., E.U., and U.S. alike, directly approved Tuesday’s U.S. embassy storming in Baghdad by Iranian proxy militia Kataib Hezbollah, and was credibly assessed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as actively planning more “imminent” attacks against hard American assets in the Middle East, has been directly active in the mass murder of Americans. He personally oversaw the mass arming of Shiite Iraqi insurgents and it is estimated that the IRGC-QF targeted and killed over 600 Americans in Iraq from 2003–2011. The State Department asserts that this personally amounts to a whopping 17% of all deaths of U.S. military personnel during the Iraq War. As Iraq War veteran Jesse Kelly tweeted, “If you’ve been to a VA hospital in recent years and seen a young man missing limbs, there’s a reasonable chance Qasem Soleimani is responsible for it.”
Qassem Soleimani was a monstrous thug. In addition to the hundreds of Americans killed in Iraq via Iranian-supplied roadside IEDs, Soleimani personally oversaw the jihad-led destabilization of all nations within Tehran’s coveted “Shiite crescent” of desired regional hegemony. He likely is responsible, on net, for tens of thousands of deaths. He was a relentless and unceasing foe of Western civilization, more broadly, though he held a special disdain for the mullahs’ “Little Satan” of Israel and “Great Satan” of the United States.
Totalitarian regimes the world over crave Obama administration-style trepidation and appeasement. Sharks, alas, are always on the prowl for bloodletting weaklings. But it takes righteousness to refuse to be cowed by revanchist thuggery; it takes resolve to stake one’s ground; and it takes willpower to defend one’s carefully calibrated strategic interests.
The only travesty here is that Qassem Soleimani was not taken out sooner. The president of the United States deserves kudos for having the courage to execute this strike. America and her allies are today safer and stronger for it. A small portion of justice has been served, and there is no more deserving target of that rough justice than mastermind Iranian jihadist Qassem Soleimani.