Friday, 29 May, 2020

“Soleimani assassination act of international terrorism”

Renowned American scholar and political activist Noam Chomsky says the United States’ recent assassination of Iran’s senior commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani is an act of “international terrorism” if not anything “worse.”

“It (Gen. Soleimani’s assassination) is at least international terrorism, arguably worse,” Chomsky told major Indian newspaper Hindustan Times.

Chomsky was responding to a question on Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif calling Gen. Soleimani’s assassination by the US on January 3 as a case of “international terrorism.”

Chomsky, a staunch critic of American foreign policy and Washington’s overseas military role, said the assassination in Iraq was a violation of “international law.”

“International law is quite explicit on these matters. It bars the threat or use of force in international affairs, with narrow exceptions that plainly do not apply here,” he said.

The political activist also said there is no sign that the US military’s presence in West Asia will diminish over the coming weeks and months.

The US military presence in the region hasn’t diminished “from the norm over the years and I see little reason to expect it to. All unpredictable. Depends on how matters develop”, Chomsky said.

However, he argued that the domination of American military power in the region is now much less compared with what it was in 2003, when the US backed by the UK invaded Iraq.

“It is diminishing from the peak during the invasion of Iraq (in 2003), the worst crime of this millennium,” Chomsky said.

Defying calls by Iraqi officials for US troops to withdraw from the Arab country, President Donald Trump said Saturday American troops should not leave Iraq unless Baghdad pays for “the money we put in” the country over the past several years.

Trump said he had told Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi that Iraq “should pay back the United States for its investments in the country over the past several years or the American military will stay there,” Fox News reported.

Earlier this week, Abdul-Mahdi called for American troops to leave Iraq after the country’s parliament approved a resolution calling for the expulsion of all foreign forces from Iraq. The US State Department bluntly rejected the request on Friday.

The vote came two days after the United States assassinated General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and the second-in-command of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in an airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.

On Wednesday, Iran pounded the airbases with a volley of ballistic missiles in response to the assassination.

PM Abdul-Mahdi asked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday to “send delegates to put in place the tools to carry out the parliament’s decision.” 

However, the State Department said in a statement on Friday that Washington would not hold discussions with Baghdad regarding US troop withdrawal.

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