by WorldTribune Staff, July 10, 2020
The United Nations is “giving a pass to terrorists” after it concluded that the U.S. drone strike which killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was “unlawful.”
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 9 that the Jan. 3 U.S. drone strike near Baghdad’s airport in which Soleimani was killed constituted an “arbitrary killing” for which the United States is responsible under international human rights law.
Callamard said the United States had provided no specific evidence that showed Soleimani was planning an imminent attack against U.S. interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified.
“It takes a special kind of intellectual dishonesty to issue a report condemning the United States for acting in self-defense while whitewashing General Soleimani’s notorious past as one of the world’s deadliest terrorists,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on July 8.
“This tendentious and tedious report undermines human rights by giving a pass to terrorists and it proves once again why America was right to leave” the Human Rights Council in 2018, Ortagus said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected the UN report as “spurious.”
Pompeo said the United States had been “transparent” regarding the international law basis for the strike, citing a letter it sent to the UN Security Council explaining that “the strike was undertaken in the exercise of the United States’ inherent right of self-defense.”
Pompeo said the strike that killed Soleimani “was in response to an escalating series of armed attacks in the preceding months” by Iran. He also said it was conducted to deter Iran from launching or supporting further attacks against the United States or U.S. interests and was carried out to degrade the capabilities of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization and which Soleimani headed.
As the head of the Quds Force, Soleimani was a key figure in supplying weapons and explosive devices to Iraqi insurgents that killed or wounded U.S. soldiers in Iraq following the ouster of Saddam Hussein. He was also the main figure running Iran’s policy in Syria and support for the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah.
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Iran-backed Kataib Hizbullah militia and deputy head of Iraq’s state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Units, was also killed in the January strike that targeted Soleimani.
Kataib Hizbullah and affiliated Iran-backed militia have been linked to multiple rocket attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, including one in late December that killed a U.S. defense contractor and wounded several U.S. and Iraqi soldiers at a military base in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.