There used to be a riddle that made the rounds in the 1990s that went: “Did you know that Yasser Arafat will die on a Jewish holiday?” When the listener would respond quizzically, the response was: “Anytime that Yasser Arafat dies will be a Jewish holiday.”
The United States, Israel, the Sunni Arab nations and the free Western world should be celebrating the demise of a different man. One of the world’s most notorious terrorists, Qassem Soleimani, has been eliminated from the face of the earth. Known as the “shadow commander,” Maj. Gen. Soleimani led Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and served as the commander of the notorious Quds Force and its clandestine, external terrorist operation.
This is a major development and indicates that the United States under U.S. President Donald Trump can and will take bold, decisive moves when it comes to our national-security interests. It came about after U.S. personnel were attacked in Iraq and when hordes of Shi’ite forces were storming the U.S embassy in Bagdad.
It is important to realize that this was not something done on behalf of Israel, but because of America’s own security interests.
Having said this, the power and might of the United States will reverberate throughout the Middle East and make it a bit of a calmer place. The big stick of America has stuck with alacrity and precision, and it puts the radical Islamist natives on notice throughout the region.
Soleimani was the chief architect and chief implementer of a grand geostrategic design for exporting the Iranian revolution, as well as for creating a Shi’ite, religious theocracy and Iranian-controlled dictatorship throughout the Middle East, where he created a network of paramilitary terrorist organizations. He sowed the seeds for the extreme chaos in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza.
In Syria, he helped to cement the brutal reign of President Bashar Assad during its ongoing civil war, and was instrumental in brokering the “axis of evil” between Iran, Russia and Syria. In Lebanon, he has armed, equipped, trained and mobilized Hezbollah, and has, unfortunately, helped make it into the dominant force in Lebanon’s government. In Yemen, he has armed and trained the Houthis and helped them to launch an attack on the Saudi oil fields.
He has been seen in photos embracing Hamas’s Khalid Mishaal and has laundered tremendous amounts of Iranian money, which came about as a result of the more than $150 billion bequest from the Obama administration as a sweetener for signing the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal with us. The missiles that have been used to terrorize Israelis emanating from Gaza would not have been possible without this Iranian largess and the imprint of this terrorist mastermind.
Thousands of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, while we were at war there, came home in body bags, along with IEDs with Farsi imprints on them. Qassem Soleimani had his bloody signature on this.
There is a good possibility that Iran might retaliate, but it is obviously beneficial for free men and women everywhere that this evil genius has been eliminated—one who cannot be replaced so easily.
It is patently absurd that the same politicians, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who enthusiastically applauded the elimination of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. President Barack Obama are apoplectic about the elimination of Soleimani. Their criticism is grounded in the fact that Trump did not consult Congress before killing this terrorist mastermind. Yet Obama never consulted with Congress before eliminating bin Laden. In fact, the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan were executed without consultation with Congress.
When bin Laden was killed, Republicans and Democrats alike praised the move. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had called it “a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere,” and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee exclaimed, “Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer and terrorist Osama bin Laden is dead.”
What is missing today in our political culture are people with enough integrity to rise beyond their deep-seated animosity for the president, their intense party affiliations and fervent personal political aspirations to acknowledge that the world is a great deal safer today because of this action by the Trump administration.
When honesty and integrity outdoes these three factors, America can once again prove to have the unity it takes to lead the world with moral clarity, with precision, and the mettle and resolve to defeat the great menace of Iran, which has been one of the most destabilizing factors on the planet.
Sarah N. Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), a pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy institute in Washington, D.C.