Published: Wed, January 15, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Trump Convinced Not to Kill Soleimani Several Times — WashPost

Trump Convinced Not to Kill Soleimani Several Times — WashPost

"Awarding this medal reveals the Syrian president's deep affection for General Soleimani and for his brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran", Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis said as he presented the medal, on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, Tasnim reported.

But Pompeo - whose State Department often insists it can not divulge details of his calls - said he heard a different message in conversations with around 50 Iraqi leaders since the start of the month.

But the scale of the supposed threat was called into question Sunday after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he hadn't seen hard evidence that four American embassies were under possible threat.

"The answer to both is a strong YES" included Trump prior to firmly insisting that "it doesn't really matter because of his terrible past!"

"The perception of America right now, I would say, in the Middle East, is that we act outside the law".

Attorney-General William Barr told reporters on Monday that the White House consulted with his department before the strike.

Pompeo also reiterated President Donald Trump's effort to reduce the United States' presence in the region while preserving US interests.

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Representative Mike McCaul, the leading Republican on the committee, said Soleimani's history of involvement in hostilities against US interests justified the strike but added the administration could declassify more information about the matter.

"On the one hand, he does not want to give Iran a green light to support these militias... and on the other hand he doesn't want to sound belligerent, like he's threatening an attack on Iranian soil", Shapiro said.

For his part, Khamis said that "the presence of the USA forces in Syria is an ostensible example of occupation". Iran retaliated to the hostile act by firing ballistic missiles at a USA airbase in western Iraq.

In March 2019, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini presented Soleimani with the Order of Zulfiqar, Iran's highest military honor, as a champion of the Islamic revolution of 1979 and defender of the nation at home and overseas.

Those fears, the officials said, led them to view the broader matrix of threats from Iran and its proxies with greater severity, an assessment compounded by the swiftness with which the Iranian proxy in Iraq, Kata'ib Hezbollah, helped organize the siege of the U.S. Embassy after the December 29 U.S. strike against the group believed responsible for killing a U.S. contractor on December 27. The final go-ahead to strike Soleimani came two weeks ago, once it became apparent that there was a window of opportunity because of new intelligence on his travel plans. Tehran responded by attacking two bases in Iraq where USA military personnel are stationed.

Mr Barr said General Soleimani was a "legitimate military target" and the strike was a "legitimate act of self-defence".

Pointing to Iran's missile attack on a USA base in Iraq in retaliation to the assassination of Soleimani, Khamis said the move bore a message for the world.

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