Saturday, January 4, 2020

TRUMP THE TERMINATOR




'WE 
TERMINATED 
HIM' 

By Emily Goodin, Senior U.s. Political Reporter and Nikki Schwab, Senior U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com In Palm Beach, Fla.

Published: 08:02 EST, 3 January 2020 

Updated: 18:49 EST, 3 January 2020
Donald Trump says Qassem Soleimani had plotted terror around the world but sends message to Iran that 'we took action to stop a war not to start a war'
Donald Trump said he did not order the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to start a war but to stop one
'Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American and diplomatic personnel. But we caught him in the act and terminated him,' Trump said
The U.S. is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast
Soleimani, Iran's highest ranking general, was killed early Friday
U.S. drone missiles obliterated vehicles carrying Soleimani and his entourage of Iraqi Shiite militiamen
The president boasted that Soleimani should have been killed many years ago and accused him of plotting to kill Americans
He also claimed the people of Iraq wanted to be free from Iranian domination
U.S. stocks fell about 1 per cent at the market's opening while oil prices surged
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said 'Jihad of Resistance will continue with more motivation'
President Hassan Rouhani vowed that Soleimani would be avenged by Iran and the 'free nations of the region'
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN Friday morning there was a threat of 'imminent' attack in the region
The Pentagon says the strike was necessary to save American lives and deterring future attacks
Militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who helped besiege the US embassy Tuesday, was among the dead
Thousands of mourners flooded the streets of Soleimani's hometown in Kerman, while tens of thousands poured onto the streets of Tehran, chanting 'Death to America' and torching the Stars and Stripes

Donald Trump on Friday said he did not order the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to start a war but to stop one.

'We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,' the president said in brief remarks at Mar-a-Lago, where he is wrapping up his holiday stay at the Winter White House.

The death of the top Iranian security and intelligence officer has sparked concern that tension will escalate in the Middle East and caused U.S. officials to brace for possible retaliatory attacks.

President Trump, who personally gave the order for the drone strike that killed Soleimani, charged him with plotting attacks on Americans. He said Soleimani was caught in the act and terminated.

'Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him. Under my leadership America's policy is unambiguous to terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American. We will find you. We will eliminate you. We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans and our allies,' Trump said.

The president had tough words in the wake of the airstrike that killed Iran's top military general and defended his action as necessary for the safety of the United States.

He emphasized his administration was not seeking to destabilize the Middle East, countering a concern voiced by some of his Democratic rivals and a few foreign leaders.

'We do not seek regime change. However, the Iranian regime's aggression in the region including use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors must end and must end now. The future belongs to the people of Iran,' Trump said.



Donald Trump said he did not order the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani to start a war but to 'stop a war'


President Trump said Qassem Soleimani was plotting attacks on Americans, caught in the act and terminated



A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him embracing the son of killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani



An image which circulated on Iranian media in the aftermath purporting to show Quds commander Qassem Soleimani's hand after the strike in the early hours of Friday. Two officials from the Iran-backed People's Mobilzation Forces (PMF) said Soleimani's body was torn to pieces in the attack and a senior politician said his body could only be identified by the ring he wore on his right hand. The ring bears strong similarities to the ruby ring worn on Soleimani's left hand in other photos, however it is not a precise match and fellow victim Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis wore similar jewellery.



A handout picture provided by the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows him visiting the family of Soleimani


Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with family members of the killed general


President Trump is seen boarding Marine One at Mar-a-Lago as guests watch

President Trump Statement on the death of Qassem Soleimani

Thank you very much and good afternoon. As president my highest and most solemn duty is the defense of our nation and its citizens. Last night, at my direction, the United States military successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number one terrorist anywhere in the world, Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him.

Under my leadership America's policy is unambiguous to terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American. We will find you. We will eliminate you. We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans and our allies. For years the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its ruthless Quds Force under Soleimani's leadership has targeted, injured and murdered hundreds of American civilians and servicemen.

The recent attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed an American and injured four American servicemen very badly, as well as a violent assault on our embassy in Baghdad, were carried out at the direction of Soleimani. Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London. Today we remember and honor the victims of Soleimani's many atrocities and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over. Soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilize the Middle East for the last 20 years. What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved. Just recently Soleimani led the brutal repression of protesters in Iran, where more than 1,000 innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government.

We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war. I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change. However, the Iranian regime's aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors, must end and it must end now. The future belongs to the people of Iran, those who seek peaceful co-existence and cooperation, not the terrorist warlords who plunder their nation to finance bloodshed abroad.

The United States has the best military by far anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. And that in particular refers to Iran. Under my leadership we have destroyed the ISIS territorial caliphate, and recently American special operations forces killed the terrorist leader known as al-Baghdadi. The world is a safer place without these monsters.

America will always pursue the interests of good people, great people, great souls, while seeking peace, harmony and friendship with all of the nations of the world. Thank you, God bless you. God bless our great military, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. Thank you.


And he vowed to take whatever action necessary to combat terrorism.

'The United States has the best military by far anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. And that in particular refers to Iran,' he said.

'Under my leadership we have destroyed the ISIS territorial caliphate, and recently American special operations forces killed the terrorist leader known as al-Baghdadi. The world is a safer place without these monsters,' Trump added.

Later in a rally-like speech at a Miami mega-church he added: 'Qassem Soleimani has been killed and his bloody rampage is now, forever gone. He was plotting attacks against Americans but now we've insured his atrocities have been stopped for good.'

The president applauded Thursday's 'flawless strike' at the Baghdad airport - that has thrown the Middle East into turmoil - while reminding the crowd he had killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi three months before.

At the same time as Trump spoke to evangelical supporters, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien told reporters that Soleimani was planning future action in the Middle East - but declined to say what it was.

'He had just come from Damascus where he was planning attacks on American soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors and against our diplomats. This strike was aimed at disrupting ongoing attacks that were being planned by Soleimani and deterring future Iranian attacks,' he said in a phone briefing.

He declined to offer details of what kind of attack was planned, calling the information 'extraordinarily sensitive.' He later said that 'at some point there may be something we can discuss.'

He also said Iranian leadership knew what Soleimani was planning.

'They know what they were up to. We have the right to self-defense, they understand that,' he said.

'This was designed to prevent further blood shed. This was a defensive action,' O'Brien said of the strike on Soleimani.

He urged Iran to sit down with the United States, to give up its nuclear program, stop its 'escapades' in Middle East, stop taking hostages and to 'behave like a normal nation.'

His lack of definitive information about an imminent threat is likely to be seized on by Democrats already furious that Congress was told nothing about the attack beforehand and has still to be briefed the day after.

And in the wake of Soleimani's death, the United States is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast even as officials said there is no indication of an imminent attack in the region.

The troops are from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and will join about 700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who were deployed to Kuwait earlier this week after thousands of people stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad.

Trump has talked tough since Soleimani's death was announced by the Pentagon late Thursday night, boasting that the Iranian general should have been 'taken out many years ago.' The president accused him of killing thousands of Americans and claimed the people of Iraq don't want to be 'dominated and controlled' by Iran.

But the fallout from Soleimani's death was swift.

Tehran vowed 'harsh retaliation' for the killing of its most senior military leader and the State Department warned Americans to leave Iraq 'immediately' amid fears of conflict in the region. Major U.S. cities went on heightened alert for possible retaliatory action.

The Department of Homeland Security put out a statement on Friday to say there were 'no specific, credible threats' against the U.S. but added it is monitoring the situation.

'While there are currently no specific, credible threats against our homeland, DHS continues to monitor the situation and work with our Federal, State and local partners to ensure the safety of every American,' Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.

Additionally, U.S. stocks fell about 1 per cent at the market's opening in the wake of the news while oil prices surged. The price of gold, which investors buy in times of uncertainty, was up 1.6 per cent at $1,552.10 per ounce.

In his justification for the U.S. action, Trump cited Soleimani's ties to American deaths in the region, his crack down on protestors in Iran, and Iranian threats to its neighbor Iraq.

'General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more...but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself,' the president tweeted Friday morning.

'While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!,' he added.

President Trump also referenced Iran's interference in Iraq in his explanation for Soleimani's death. Tehran has sent billions of dollars and many military advisers to Iraq to keep its Shia-led government in power.

The president portrayed himself as a liberator in the region, claiming the people of Iraq didn't want to 'dominated and controlled' by Iranian forces.

'The United States has paid Iraq Billions of Dollars a year, for many years. That is on top of all else we have done for them. The people of Iraq don't want to be dominated & controlled by Iran, but ultimately, that is their choice. Over the last 15 years, Iran has gained more and more control over Iraq, and the people of Iraq are not happy with that. It will never end well!,' he tweeted.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touted the administration's freedom argument when he went on the morning shows to talk about the airstrike.

'We have every expectation that people not only in Iraq but in Iran will view the American action last night as giving them freedom,' Pompeo told CNN Friday morning. 'Freedom to have the opportunity for success and prosperity for their nations and while the political leadership may not want that, the people in these nations will demand it.'

The death of Soleimani, who led the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was a blow for Iran and an escalation on Trump's part of relations with Tehran, which have been strained since the death of an American contractor in Iraq in late December.

Major American cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have stepped up security in the aftermath of the airstrikes to prevent any revenge attacks.

New York's Police Department is deploying heavily armed officers in key public spaces and The Los Angeles Police Department said - that while there was currently no credible threat to the city - officials were communicating with other security agencies regarding any intelligence that may develop.

The president is in Mar-a-Lago for the holiday season and did not go to his golf course on Friday, which is where he has spent the majority of his days while in Florida.

Earlier, the president taunted Iran in the wake of Soleimani's death, saying the country 'never won a war.'

'Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!,' the president tweeted on Friday morning in his first response to Soleimani's death.

It's unclear what the president meant in his tweet.

He was critical of President Barack Obama's policy in the region. The Obama administration pushed the 2015 agreement that froze Iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief as a way to avoid escalating tensions in the region.

President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, claiming Obama's agreement had emboldened Iran to invest in a campaign of violence in the region.

He began a series of punishing new economic sanctions that accumulated into Friday's military action.

Or his tweet could be seen as an offer to open negotiations with Tehran.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proclaimed his country would avenge the bitter loss of his highest ranking general, while Lebanon's Tehran-backed Hezbollah said it would ramp up its terror 'with the blessing of his pure blood.'

The Pentagon said Trump had ordered the 'decisive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Soleimani' who was 'actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.'


Marine One, carrying President Trump to a speech he's giving in Miami, departs Mar-a-Lago as protesters watch

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