U.S. Officials Claim That Iraqi Kurds Helped To Kill Qassam Soleimani

08 May 2021

U.S. Officials Claim That Iraqi Kurds Helped To Kill Qassam Soleimani

By Moon of Alabama

May 8, 2021


U.S. Officials Claim That Iraqi Kurds Helped To Kill Qassam Soleimani

Yahoo has prominently posted a long piece about the early 2020 murder of the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and the Iraqi resistance leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

'Conspiracy is hard': Inside the Trump administration's secret plan to kill Qassem Soleimani

This article, based on interviews with 15 current and former U.S. officials, reveals new details about the Soleimani strike and the Trump administration’s long-running deliberations about killing the Iranian general and other top Iranian officials and proxies. It depicts an operation that was more sophisticated, and with a broader list of people potentially targeted for killing, than was previously known. And it describes previously unreported threats to U.S. officials in the aftermath of the strike.

MoA has extensively discussed the consequences of the assassination and most of what is said in the Yahoo piece is not new at all. That makes it suspicious.

To recap: On January 3 2020 U.S. drones killed Major General Qassim Soleimani, the famous commander of the Iranian Quds ('Jerusalem') force, while he left the airport of Baghdad where he had just arrived. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the top leader of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, had been there to great him and to pick him up. Both had planned to attend the funeral in Najaf of the 31 Iraqi soldiers the U.S. had killed on December 29 at the Syrian-Iraqi border near Al-Qaim. Soleimani was also supposed to meet the Iraqi prime minister who at that time was a mediator in Iran-Saudi talks. Soleimani carried a letter with the Iranian response to a previous Saudi one.

In consequence of the killing of Muhandis the Iraqi parliament decided to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq. There are nearly daily attacks on U.S. forces which are still in Iraq. As revenge for the killing of Soleimani Iran and its resistance axis of Hizbullah, Syria and Ansar Islam in Yemen decided to remove all U.S. military from the Middle East. This is understood to be a decades long project.

Hardly anything of that - besides the murder of Soleimani - is mentioned in the Yahoo piece. There is not one word on Muhandis, his role in Iraq or the consequences of his death. There is no mention of the Iraqi parliament vote or of the ongoing attacks on U.S. units in Iraq.

Instead the piece prominently emphasizes alleged Kurdish collaboration in the assassination:

In late December 2019, Delta Force operators and other special operations members began filtering into Baghdad in small groups. Kurdish operatives, who played a key role in the killing, had already started infiltrating Baghdad International Airport by that point, going undercover as baggage handlers and other staff members.
The three sniper teams positioned themselves 600 to 900 yards away from the “kill zone,” the access road from the airfield, setting up to triangulate their target as he left the airport. [...] A member of the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG), an elite Kurdish unit in northern Iraq with deep links to U.S. Special Operations, helped them make the wind call from down range.
After the strike, according to two U.S. officials, a Kurdish operative disguised as an Iraqi police officer walked up to the wreckage of Soleimani’s vehicle, snapped photographs and quickly obtained a tissue sample for DNA confirmation before walking away and vanishing into the night.

Muhandis and Soleimani were revered by the Shia majority in Iraq. The revelation of Kurdish involvement in Soleimani's death might have harsh consequences for Iraqi Kurds.

If the Kurds were really involved why was this released? Why does it come in a piece that is more or less a recap of already known stuff? What are the motives of those who revealed this?

I for one do not believe those claims.

Who is interested in (re-)launching an ethnic civil war in Iraq?

The Yahoo piece then comes to the consequences of the attack:

Iran reacted with predictable fury to Soleimani’s killing, lobbing dozens of ballistic missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq. Though no one was killed, Pentagon officials later said more than 100 service personnel were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.

But the rocket attack was just a “slap in the face,” said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and did not represent Iran’s full retaliation for the killing. U.S. officials and experts believe that Iran may eventually attempt a high-profile assassination of a senior U.S. official or a terrorist attack aimed at a U.S. facility.

The 'U.S. officials and experts' believe that they are way more important than they really are. Iran's Supreme Leader Ajatollah Khamenei, who was extremely near to Soleimani, has let it known that there is no one of Soleimani's caliber in U.S. ranks who could be taken out as revenge. There will be no Iranian assassination campaign of U.S. politicians or military leader.

Fears of such only shows that the former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, one of the initiator of the assassination of Soleimani, is a craven milquetoast:

Tucked into the appropriations bill signed by President Trump in the final days of 2020 was $15 million set aside to provide protective services to “former or retired senior Department of State officials” who “face a serious and credible threat from a foreign power or the agent of a foreign power” because of the work they did while in office.

The real second part of the revenge that is still coming was announced by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah:

What do we mean by just punishment? Some are saying this must be someone of the same level as Qassem Soleimani - like Chairman of Joint Chiefs, head of @CENTCOM, but there is no one on Soleimani or Muhandis' level. Soleimani's shoe is worth more than Trump's head, so there's no one I can point to to say this is the person we can target.

Just punishment therefore means American military presence in the region, U.S. military bases, U.S. military ships, every American officer and soldier in our countries and regions. The U.S. military is the one who killed Soleimani and Muhandis, and they will pay the price. This is the equation.
The response to the blood of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis must be expulsion of all U.S, forces from the region.

General Esmail Qaani, Soleimani's replacement as commander of the Quds Brigade, confirmed Nasrallah's statement:

Going Underground on RT @Underground_RT - 00:14 UTC · Jan 6, 2020

Esmail Qaani, the new leader of Iran's IRGC Quds Force:
"Our promise is to continue the path of martyr Soleimani. Due to the martyrdom of #Soleimani, our promise will be the expulsion of the US from the region in different steps."

These are not empty threats but a military project that will play out over the next years. I would not bet on the U.S. as the winner of that war.