TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A peace activist and journalist based in the US state of Virginia described Iran’s Martyr Qassem Soleimani as “a major figure” in the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East and said the US and Israeli regimes were fearful of him.

– Politics news –

“General Soleimani was a major figure in combatting the terrorist assets used by the US to justify their illegal occupation in Syria as well as a return of US forces in strength to Iraq,” Janice Kortkamp from Leesburg, Virginia, said in an interview with Press Shia Agency.

“He was feared in Washington and Tel Aviv because he was an effective strategist and inspiration to the Resistance,” she added.

Janice Kortkamp became an independent, completely self-funded, journalist after “seeing Western media bias regarding Syria and how that bias was promoting war and destabilization in Syria and all the Levant”. She has researched the current crisis for six years, putting in over 7,000 hours of study. She has visited Syria five times over the past three years, spending months traveling around the major population areas and the outskirts of Damascus, Homs, Latakia (including Kessab), Hama, Palmyra, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo. She has also gone to Germany, Lebanon, and Kuwait to meet with Syrian refugees and emigrants. Through friends and contacts in Syria as well as reports from genuine news sources around the world, she tracks the situation on the ground in Syria on an hourly basis.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Press Shia Agency: The White House and the Pentagon claimed responsibility for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, saying the attack was carried out at the direction of US President Donald Trump. As you know, the revered commander was an international figure representing the Axis of Resistance. Given the latest regional developments, how do you interpret the assassination?

Kortkamp: As an American, I am appalled at the continuing lawlessness of the government here and its never-ending aggression against Iran and its people and the depths of deceit it will go to cover its own crimes. I want to send my personal condolences to the people of Iran and I honor the sacrifice of the great general. The warmongers of Washington DC have been working for many years to destabilize Iran (and the region) and to initiate war against it for several reasons. First is because of Israeli pressure both from Israel and the pro-Israel lobby in America. Israel understands that Iran, with its strong and battle-experienced army, is a threat to their ambitions to take all of Palestine and to expand into other countries, particularly Lebanon to start. Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have made their dreams of conquest impossible. The second reason is because the US has become completely militaristic while totally abandoning diplomacy. Policymakers, both elected and behind the scenes advisers, portray Iran as an enemy because of Iran’s unwillingness to accept US dictates over Iran’s alliances, policies, actions – and trade agreements. Iran is the land door between the rest of the Middle East and China and Russia. The warmongers who control US policy will not accept anything short of total submission to their dictates; any country not willing to submit is targeted for ‘regime change’ operations and pressure consisting of sanctions, threats, isolation, and covert and overt military attacks. The third reason is because both Netanyahu and Trump are facing serious trouble in their own countries and both will use war to distract their citizens from opposing them and their corruption and crimes.

Press Shia Agency: According to many military experts, General Soleimani had a major role in fighting terrorist groups, particularly Daesh (ISIS or ISIL), in Iraq and Syria. How do you think about the top generals’ success in combating US-backed terrorism and its effect on his assassination?

Kortkamp: I think it is a huge factor. General Soleimani was a major figure in combatting the terrorist assets used by the US to justify their illegal occupation in Syria as well as a return of US forces in strength to Iraq. He was feared in Washington and Tel Aviv because he was an effective strategist and inspiration to the Resistance. The importance of the victory over Daesh in Deir Ezzor cannot be overstated as it showed the world the effectiveness and commitment to fighting terrorists and US imperialism by Syria and Iran as well as the Popular Mobilization Units of Iraq.

Press Shia Agency: In a statement on Friday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned that harsh revenge awaits the criminals behind the martyrdom of General Soleimani. Many believe that if Iran does not take revenge, it will lead to more attacks from the US. In your opinion, how severe would Tehran respond to the “terrorist act” by Washington and how can the response create deterrence against the US and its future moves in the region?

Kortkamp: This is the hard question. Ayatollah Khamenei must make this difficult decision. To not respond to this horrific act of war is impossible; however, it will be necessary to do it wisely as I believe Iran will do in order to produce the desired outcome of victory. I think this will require increased diplomatic efforts in Europe particularly to get an international outcry against the assassination of General Soleimani and recognition of the murder as an act of war. The government in Iraq must force all American troops including mercenary contractors from its soil in retaliation. Russia and China need to be very clearly on the side of international law and support Iran. In addition, the Persian Gulf countries should react to this war crime as a strike against the sovereignty of every nation in the region and end their inevitably self-destructive pandering to the dictates of Washington and by extension, Israel. There is, of course, the risk of full out war by the US against Iran and war is always devastating even though I have no doubt that in a conventional war Iran’s forces would be victorious. Conventional war is not how wars are conducted at this point though. Cyber and economic warfare, proxy and mercenary armies, drone strikes, even the possibility of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons attacks must all be considered. The one thing I could see as bringing an end to the various US aggressions in the Middle East would be an obvious consensus and unity by powers in and outside of the region against further US escalation and aggression.