TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A political analyst and former US government adviser underlined the major role of Iran’s Martyr Qassem Soleimani in the collapse of the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group and said the top commander was working against Washington’s plans and objectives.
“By fighting against Daesh, Soleimani and al-Muhandis were working against US plans and objectives,” Paul Larudee from San Francisco said in an interview with Press Shia Agency, referring to Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi.
Larudee is an Iranian-born American political activist and human rights volunteer, who works with the International Solidarity Movement. He is a former contracted US government adviser to Saudi Arabia and a founder of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements.
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?
Larudee: Iran recently had joint military exercises with Russia and China. This is very worrisome to the US and its allies, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel, which are also worried about Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria, and its alliance with Hezbollah in Lebanon. The US is obviously a bigger threat to Iran than Iran is to the US, but the US requires subjugation from all nations. It therefore wishes to teach a lesson to any nation that chooses to follow an independent course. Any attempt by Iran to defend itself by forming cooperative agreements with other nations is therefore viewed as a danger to US interests. This is at least part of the reason that the US chose to escalate its violence against Iran by means of this assassination.
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?
Larudee: The US chose to assassinate General Soleimani while he was in Iraq and in the company of the Iraqi PMU leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also assassinated. Both were engaged in fighting Daesh. It is widely known that the US uses Daesh and al-Qaeda fighters as mercenary troops to weaken or destroy nations that resist US imperialist ambitions. It destroyed and is destroying Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and it is pursuing similar aims in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Iran is next on its list, and Iran is an obstacle to the US objective of destroying these nations and weakening Russia and China at the same time. By fighting against Daesh, Soleimani and al-Muhandis were working against US plans and objectives.
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?
Larudee: It is possible that nothing can prevent war with the US, if the US is determined to create such a war. But war is not popular in the US. Elements of American society are ready to resist such destructive policies, and they are natural allies of countries like Iran that want only to peacefully pursue their own interests without becoming a puppet of larger powers. Iran’s cultivation of mutual interest with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and especially the larger powers of Russia and China can be very important to Iran’s preservation. It is appropriate and expected for Iran to inflict proportionate pain upon the US for the assassination of General Soleimani, but also to confer with countries like Russia and China about the type of response. The attacks by Israel upon Lebanon and Syria should be studied, as well as the responses by Hezbollah and the Syrian military forces. Russia’s response to the shooting down of its aircraft in Syria can also be instructive. Ultimately, concessions by the US might be more useful to Iran than revenge, but in the absence of good will, proportionate acts of deterrence are a reasonable response.