Jim Denison is the founder and CEO of the Denison Forum, a nonprofit Christian media organization that comments on current issues through a biblical lens. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps was killed early Friday in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport authorized by President Trump. An American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy leaving the airport, killing Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and several officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper explained the action: “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.
“He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months—including the attack on December 27th—culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.”
WHO WAS QASSEM SOLEIMANI?
Qassem Soleimani was an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Since 1998, he commanded the Quds force responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deemed Soleimani equally as dangerous as Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In April 2019, the State Department announced that Iran was responsible for killing 608 American troops during the Iraq War. They determined that 17 percent of all US personnel deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.
A BBC analyst notes that Soleimani was seen as “the mastermind behind Iran’s vast ambition in the Middle East, and the country’s real foreign minister when it came to matters of war and peace.” Soleimani was “widely considered a principal architect of President Bashar al-Assad’s war in Syria, the ongoing conflict in Iraq, the fight against Islamic State, and many battles beyond.”
According to CNN, the significance of Soleimani’s death “cannot be overstated.” An analyst for MSNBC calls him “the world’s number one bad guy.” He states that the killing of Soleimani “means much more in terms of saving current lives” than even the deaths of Osama bin Laden and ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
WHAT LED TO THE ATTACK?
In June 2019, the Iranians shot down an American surveillance drone. Three months later, a barrage of missiles and drones targeted two of the world’s most important oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
Last Friday, the US blamed an Iranian-backed militia for an attack that killed a US contractor and wounded four US service members. On Sunday, the US carried out airstrikes that were said to have killed at least twenty-five militia members. Demonstrators, including members of that Iranian-backed militia, then stormed the US Embassy compound in Baghdad. Gen. Soleimani reportedly orchestrated these militia activities.
Last Tuesday, the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division was told to plan for possible deployment to Kuwait, placing as many as four thousand troops on standby. Soldiers from this division arrived in Kuwait hours before the airstrike that killed Gen. Soleimani.
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Source: Christian Headlines