By Eric Zuesse
originally posted at The Saker
Even some mainstream U.S. ‘news’-media (but none that are Republican) acknowledge the fact that Qasem Soleimani was among the most effective of all nations’ generals who fought against ISIS. Other mainstream U.S. ‘news’-media seem very reluctant to do so, because the entirety of America’s mainstream ‘journalism’ has spewed hatred against Iran’s Government after Iranians in 1979 succeeded at overthrowing the dictator Shah whom America’s CIA had installed in 1953 to end Iran’s democracy and to control the country, and he privatized the National Iranian Oil company and cut America’s aristocrats in on the profits from sales of Iranian oil. (Under George W. Bush, the U.S. Government did basically the same thing to Iraq’s oil industry.) So, America’s mainstream ‘news’-media, which are owned by the same aristocracy that imposed Iran’s dictatorship in 1953, have portrayed Iran’s #2 leader, General Qasem Soleimani, as a ‘terrorist’, instead of as the leading fighter against ISIS, which he actually was.
On 3 January 2020, Ilan Goldenberg, of the Democratic Party neoconservative Center for a New American Security, headlined in the Council on Foreign Relations’s Foreign Affairs, “Will Iran’s Response to the Soleimani Strike Lead to War?” and only two references to ISIS were there, both buried in his article: “He led Iran’s campaign to arm and train Shiite militias in Iraq — militias responsible for the deaths of an estimated 600 American troops from 2003 to 2011— and became the chief purveyor of Iranian political influence in Iraq thereafter, most notably through his efforts to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).” And: “ISIS retains an underground presence and could take advantage of the chaos of an American withdrawal or a U.S.-Iranian conflict to improve its position in Iraq.” So, it’s hard for a reader there to figure out that Trump actually assassinated ISIS’s main enemy.
On January 4th, Marketwatch headlined “Who was Qassem Soleimani, and why is his death a major development in U.S.-Middle East relations?” and there was only a single reference to ISIS, the source being Iran, which that article was criticizing: “In a tweet, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the strike that killed the general as an act of international terrorism: ‘The US act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani — THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al — is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,’ he said.”
Some of America’s mainstream ‘news’-media portrayed the killing of Soleimani as being damaging to America’s ability to continue occupying Iraq and therefore harmful to the fight against ISIS because the U.S. — not Iran and Russia — lead the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. In other words: they presume that lie. Politico headlined on January 3rd, “How the Soleimani strike could kneecap the fight against ISIS” and opened:
The U.S. strike that killed Iran’s top military leader could put America’s fight against the Islamic State in jeopardy, opening the door to the reemergence of the terrorist group.
The Thursday night attack on Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani could also prompt the government in Iraq to kick U.S. troops out of the country, ending America’s mission to train the Iraqi military to fight terrorist groups.
U.S. troops have deployed to Iraq since 2014 to fight ISIS and train Iraqi forces with permission from the Iraqi government. As part of this agreement, Iraq asked the U.S. specifically not to target Iran within the country, a request America has now violated “in flagrant fashion” with the strike on Soleimani near the Baghdad airport, said Scott Anderson, a former legal adviser to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“This is going to put a lot of pressure on those aspects of our relationship they have control over,” Anderson, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Friday. … “If we can’t be in Iraq, we can’t be in Syria,” Barbara Slavin, the director of the Future Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, said Friday.
They don’t mention that both Brookings and the Atlantic Council are neoconservative, pro-imperialist, and controlled by (overwhelmingly funded by) large U.S.-based international corporations and U.S.-allied governments, which benefit from U.S.-and-allied arms-sales and oil-extraction. So, that’s just a standard propaganda-piece from Politico, pumping the U.S. empire.
For once, CNN broke with U.S. imperialism, and headlined on January 3rd, “Analysis: It’s important to remember the role Soleimani played in the fight against ISIS”. Perhaps because CNN is controlled by Democratic Party billionaires instead of by Republican-Party ones, they reported that:
It is important to remember the role both he and Iran played in the fight against ISIS.
While US aircraft, special forces and local allies fought ISIS in Syria, as well as in Iraq, Iranian-backed militia also pushed the terror group back in Iraq. Soleimani was reported to have often led that fight from the front line …
The 62-year-old led Iran’s elite Quds Force, which had a hand in both fighting the Islamic State militant group and U.S. forces.
There was no contradiction between those two positions shared both by Soleimani and Iran, because ISIS was created as a fundamentalist-Sunni U.S. proxy fighting force against Iraq’s Shiites. There was also this:
Long known as the ‘shadow commander’ in Western media, his profile was raised in 2015 as Iranian outlets began releasing photos of him in the battlefield guiding the war against ISIS. …
Soleimani is also credited with fighting the Islamic State militant group in Iraq. In a 2017 public letter, he denounced the “evil movement” that managed “to deceive tens of thousands of Muslim youth” in Iraq and Syria, while also blaming the U.S. for the rise and spread of ISIS.
Iran had launched airstrikes against ISIS fighters outside Baghdad in late 2014 just as the United States and its coalition partners were taking on the extremist group.
ISIS, made up of Sunni extremists, was ideologically at odds with Soleimani and the Iranian Shiite regime he defended.
Soleimani and his commanders were on the front lines in Iraq and his name became synonymous with victories attributed to Iraqi ground forces [fighting against ISIS]. He had presented himself as the face of the offensive in Tikrit, a city which fell under ISIS control in 2014 [HE WAS FIGHTING AGAINST ISIS THERE].
Iran sought to highlight his efforts against ISIS while protesting his death Friday.
Another pro-Democratic-Party ‘news’-site, MSNBC, likewise included, on January 3rd, some of ‘the enemy’s side’ in this: “The 62-year-old led Iran’s elite Quds Force, which had a hand in both fighting the Islamic State militant group and U.S. forces.”
Indicating how confused and hostile Americans are to encounter — in the few media where they can — the truth about Soleimani and about the reality in the Middle East, there was a January 3rd news-report from Washington Times headlined “Geraldo Rivera laments strike on U.S. ‘friend’ Qassem Soleimani, says Quds leader ‘saved people’” which opened:
Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera says the Baghdad airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was a strategic error against a U.S. “friend” who “saved people.”
A “Fox & Friends” panel was injected with heated rhetoric on Friday when Mr. Rivera defended the Quds force leader’s résumé in a discussion with Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy.
“Six months ago, Ainsley, this guy was our friend,” Mr. Rivera said.
Rivera was opposed not only by the other Fox “Friends” there, but by the reader-comments, such as the most-liked ones:
What planet does Rivera live on? Soleimani has engineered the killing of many Americans.
stalin was our friend and helped us defeat hitler. no really a friend. ha
They want to remain suckers of America’s billionaires, who want to have Iran back.
Of course, Russia’s news-media were honest about this matter; they have no reason to lie about it; and, besides, they don’t lie nearly as frequently as America’s billionaire-controlled ‘news’-media do — they know they are distrusted from the get-go throughout the U.S. empire, because Russia’s lying Soviet predecessors (before 1991) are constantly pumped to America’s ‘news’-media behind the scenes by America’s CIA (representing America’s billionaires) as being like today’s Russian news-media, which they very much are not. Russia really did end the Cold War; the U.S. regime never did.
On January 4th, India’s Economic Times headlined “Soleimani, face of fight against ISIS, Taliban”, and reported that:
Soleimani was the face of armed resistance against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and contributed in a big way in defeating ISIS, said an expert familiar with West Asian dynamics who requested not to be identified.
Last year Soleimani had also slammed Pakistan for its failure to control terror groups on its soil that targeted Iranian Revolutionary Guards group.
Iran and India were among regional powers that backed anti-Taliban forces along with Russia before Taliban was ousted in Afghanistan. …
Last February, a car laden with explosives hit a bus of Revolutionary Guard soldiers on Zahedan-Khash road in Iran’s border province of Sistan-Balouchestan, killing 27 and injuring 13. Pakistan-based Jaish ul-Adl Takfiri terrorist group, which has ties to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Days after the attack, Soleimani said Iran does not want mere condolences, but concrete action from Pakistan. “Can’t you, as a nuclear-armed state, deal with a hundreds-strong terrorist group in the region?” he had said.
That’s a major daily newspaper in Hindu India, which isn’t a place about which readers in America and allied countries haven’t been taught by their news-media to expect to see such a commentary being published. According to Wikipedia, “As of 2012, it is the world’s second-most widely read English-language business newspaper, after The Wall Street Journal, with a readership of over 800,000.”
Also on January 4th former UK Ambassador Craig Murray headlined from Britain “Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani” and he exposed lies against Soleimani by Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and a key neoconservative legal advisor to UK’s Government. He was exposing there a bipartisan and international sliming operation, the type of thing that traditionally persuades masses of suckers to vote for politicians who continue the grand imperial enterprise, for the benefit of U.S.-and-allied billionaires. However, that scam might not be so successful this time around.
On January 6th, the U.S. Government informed Iraq’s Government that the U.S. military occupation of Iraq is now at an end and all U.S. forces are withdrawing from Iraq. Then Trump changed his mind. Shortly afterward. Iran did its first retaliation, firing missiles against U.S. military facilities in Iraq. Trump’s constant aggressions against Iran (starting with cancellation ot the Iran nuclear agreement and restoration of anti-Iran sanctions) will sink the Middle East and maybe the entire world in blood. The EU seems nonetheless to be sticking by the U.S. regime. All leaders who do so will be damned along with him. But none of them seem even to care. They all share in his guilt.
* Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.