In his soon-to-be-published memoir, Jared Kushner explains why and how Trump plotted and carried out the assassination of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, and the fear it created in the US and its allies thereafter.
It was in the early hours of January the 3rd, 2020, that the Iranian top general and the head of IRGC’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in a US drone strike at Baghdad International Airport, a move that was directly commanded by the then-US president Donald Trump.
And now, Trump’s son-in-law and his top advisor speaks of the details of the assassination planning and the panic it caused in and out of the United States over Iran’s potential retaliation.
Kushner says in his book that during a White House visit a few weeks before January 3rd, “Senator Lindsey Graham suggested that something big was on the horizon: “What POTUS is thinking about doing tomorrow is courageous,” he said, cryptically. “It comes with a risk, but it’s going to be a game changer.” I was intrigued by Graham’s comment, but I was totally unaware of what was about to come.”
“Breaking History“, the book’s name, then explains why Trump made the decision to take the risk and eliminate Soleimani; “As Soleimani’s military grip on the region tightened, his popularity in Iran and his fame across the Middle East rose to unprecedented heights. Former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack profiled Soleimani for Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2017: “To Middle Eastern Shi’ites, he is James Bond, Erwin Rommel, and Lady Gaga rolled into one.”
Trump’s son-in-law also reveals that although the US had long yearned to assassinate the commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces of Iraq Abu Mahdi al- Muhandis, they never been able to do so and that he accompanied Soleimani that night was very surprising for Washington.
“In an extraordinary twist of fate,” Kushner recalls, “Soleimani was joined by an unexpected passenger: Abu Mahdi al- Muhandis, one of the most dangerous but seemingly untouchable terrorist masterminds in the world. For years, Muhandis had been at the top of America’s target list.”
After giving details on how the assassination operation was carried out, Kushner again asserts that Soleimani’s influence was growing to concerning levels and that this made Trump to do the unthinkable despite potential escalations in the region; “His military influence in the region and close relationship with Iran’s Supreme Leader meant that killing him risked war. Military leaders who had served in the Middle East understood the implications. “
Explaining the panic in early hours after the assassination, Kushner says “the next morning, I paid a rare visit to Trump’s bedroom. He asked how the news was playing, and I said that it was getting massive attention from the press, and that many world leaders were calling to express appreciation for the bold move, but they were afraid to say so publicly. When I asked if he was going to make a statement, Trump said that Pompeo had advised against it because it would draw unwanted attention to the strike and escalate the situation.”
Soleimani assassination, a move against international law
The US drone attack on the car carrying Soleimani, Muhandis, and eight other companions attracted many domestic and international reactions, mostly considering the act as a flagrant violation of international law. Legally speaking, what the Trump administration did was breaching a series of international rules and could be considered as murder and deprivation of the right to life, state terrorism, fundamental violation of human rights, violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the governments of Iraq, illegal threat and use of force, violation of the rules of international humanitarian law, and also breach of the rules stipulated in the United Nations Charter.
In this regard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamar, said on her Twitter account that the US operation was illegal, describing it as a clear and serious violation of human rights.
Officials from different countries such as Germany, Russia and China, also rebuked the move as contrary to international norms. Last but not least, the Iraqi government condemned the US action as a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.
In a statement the day after the attack, then-Prime Minister of this country, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said the action was a violation of the agreement between the US and Iraq, and considered the assassination of the Iraqi military commander who held an official position, “an invasion of Iraq”, and Iranian commander as in Iraq’s territory as a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty.