Yashar Ali 🐘 @yashar New York Magazine/HuffPost Contributor Email: [email protected] Direct Messages Open Text/Call/Signal/Confide/WhatsApp: 310-795-2497. Agents: UTA Jan. 03, 2020 5 min read

1. There are unconfirmed reports that Qasem Soleimani commander of Qods Force (Iran's external security agency) has been killed in drone strikes. If true, this will be a major moment in US-Iran relations & Supreme Leader will undoubtedly see this as a major provocation/act of war

2. I can't understate how major this is. Not just a moment in US-Iran relations, but a major global event. People comparing this to killing Osama Bin Laden don't know what they're talking about. This is way more significant. Equivalent to another country killing US Vice-President

3. Soleimani is extraordinarily close to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Soleimani reports directly to the Supreme Leader, the Qods force is technically part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which also reports to the Supreme Leader.

He is more powerful than Iran's President

4. If you want to understand how powerful Soleimani is all you have to look to is a text he sent to David Petraeus. This text is an extraordinary (yet unsurprising) display of power. Especially since Iran has an elected president and foreign minister.

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/28/qassem-suleimani-iran-iraq-influence 

5. Qods force & its proxies are responsible for assassinations, terrorism, and unconventional warfare that Iran supports in countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

6. Qods Force is also responsible for successful and attempted terrorist acts and assassinations in countries like Argentina, the United States, India, and Germany.

7. Watch this clip of Soleimani speaking to understand what his rhetoric is like. He was/is a hardliners hardliner.

8. As I said in the beginning of this thread, Iran's Supreme Leader is going to see this as a major provocation/act of war. He will respond in a significant manner.

We shouldn't be surprised to see major cyber attacks against the US as an example

9. We shouldn't be surprised to see the Supreme Leader order covert operations all over the globe (including, dare I say, in the US) that involve assassinations & other acts of terrorism

We should expect to see the most significant/aggressive response

10. if what I'm expecting sounds alarmist...it's because this is a major, major event. I'm not interested in getting into whether it was the right or wrong decision but dealing with this plainly, if true, it was a major, major decision.

11. To call Qasem Soleimani just a terrorist is to understate his role significantly and that's where the danger lies in killing him without a plan for the reaction.

He ordered and directed billions of dollars to organizations that engaged in terrorism. He is/was an evil man

12. But killing Soleimani is not like killing the head of a terrorist org. It's like killing the head of a terrorist organization and a head of state. You have to treat it as such and the US has not DIRECTLY engaged in assassinations on that level in decades.

13. CNN's @arwaCNN says it best just now: "we are in uncharted territory."

14. For those who think Iran will respond with just traditional warfare, you're wrong. Solemani is responsible for, at a minimum, hundreds of US Soldiers deaths & much much more

But imagine how US would respond to a sitting VPbeing killed. Iran will respond at a similar level.

15. The president just tweeted this.

16. The Iranian government has confirmed the death of Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.

Now that it's confirmed, allow me to say in plain English...this is a holy shit moment.

Again not just for US-Iran relations, not just in the Middle East, but a holy shit global event

17. Breaking: The Pentagon has released a statement that "at the direction of the President " the United States has killed Qasem Soleimani

18. I find this to be puzzling. Soleimani has always been planning covert/overt action. Why now?

Killing him to deter further plans (as statement notes) isn’t going to stop any of that

Punishing him for US Mil deaths is justified but is USG prepped for covert response?

19. BTW when I say Soleimani was the 2nd most powerful man in Iran I am referring to foreign policy. President Rouhani has a great deal of domestic influence

But given Iran's expansion in the Mid East (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, & Yemen) - Soleimani was 2nd only to Supreme Leader

20. I'm seeing people say that Soleimani was next in line to be Supreme Leader. That is absolutely not the case.

Supreme Leaders are clerics, not military leaders. Iran doesn't work that way

Plus Soleimani's power came from being in the shadows, not dealing w/ domestic policy

21. Statement from Iran’s Foreign Minister @JZarif on the US operation that killed Qasem Soleimani

“The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”

22. Statement from Gen David Petraeus (Ret) who knows a lot about Soleimani and had direct communication with him (see earlier in thread)

Via @jaketapper

23. I generally agree with this tweet. The Iranian regime is not suicidal. But they love to use covert action and that is actually much more destabilizing and terrifying than launching some missiles.

24. Iran’s Supreme Leader has declared three days of mourning and is promising harsh revenge against the United States.

25. Do most Iranians want to be ruled by this regime? No. But are they hyper-sensitive when it comes to anything perceived as US interference in Iranian affairs? Yes. Things like the coup organized by CIA has made Iranians deeply suspicious of US involvement.

26. This past October, Microsoft published this corporate blog about cyber attacks and hacking organized and funded by the Iranian government.

 https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2019/10/04/recent-cyberattacks-require-us-all-to-be-vigilant/ 

27. News: The United States is deploying thousands of additional troops to Middle East following Soleimani killing  https://www.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/baghdad-airport-strike-live-intl-hnk/h_e91f3c68f7d8beba7983b7556454b8d4 

28. Interesting time to be an Iranian.

29. As @NazaninBoniadi asked...I'd like to know where all of this outrage was when Iranians were being executed by their gov? All these liberals are tweeting like crazy about Soleimani...where was this passion when our families were being killed, tortured, & imprisoned weeks ago?


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