15 Jan. 2022 18:47 Uhr
Two years ago, the US assassinated an Iranian icon, General Qassem Soleimani. Iran has since demanded that the international community hold the US responsible for this crime accountable. If this is denied, Iran will have no choice but to pursue its own accountability.
A commentary by Scott Ritter
Last November, the United States commemorated the 58th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The fact that most of those who survived that day have long since passed away did not prevent the nation from remembering that horrific day in Dallas, when an assassination attempt took the life of an American icon.
America and Americans have dealt with the aftermath of this tragedy in a variety of ways, from commemorating the life of JFK to promoting conspiracy theories about the circumstances of the assassination, and much more in between. There is general agreement that Lee Harvey Oswald was the man who pulled the trigger on the gun that assassinated Kennedy. And in the face of Oswald’s subsequent death on-camera at the hands of Jack Ruby, the element of vengeance was removed from the range of emotions the American people went through following Kennedy’s assassination.
Imagine for a moment, however, that on that horrific day in November 1963 an American leader had been assassinated who exuded the inspiration of a Kennedy, was also a military commander with the stature of Dwight Eisenhower, and had the heroic accomplishments of a decorated war hero had laid down. And that he wasn’t murdered by a single assassin, but by the military of a foreign power, which also publicly rejoices in this “achievement” and describes this American hero as a “terrorist”. The need for revenge would grip everyone and everything, and the American people would not rest until the perpetrators were brought to justice.
This is not hypothetical speculation, as illustrated by the case of Osama bin Laden, who was held accountable for his alleged responsibility for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack nearly a decade after. Any politician who dared to inject a modicum of reason into a discussion about the need for retaliation would have ended his career on the spot.
On January 3, 2020, the United States assassinated General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of elite Quds forces, an Iranian icon, the Persian equivalent of John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the decorated war hero, a unique figure whose prominence and reputation was unsurpassed among the Iranians. The assassination of Soleimani shocked the Iranians in the same way that the assassination of JFK or the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks shocked the American people.
On November 25, 1963, about 300,000 American citizens lined the streets of Washington to see the procession of JFK’s coffin during his state funeral. Millions of Iranians lined the streets of major Iranian cities and along the highways to see the coffin convoy that carried Soleimani’s body to its final resting place.
On the second anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination, millions of Iranians again took to the streets of Iranian cities to commemorate the assassination of a national hero. In Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi described General Soleimani as “not just a human individual, but a creed, and creeds cannot be destroyed by assassination and rockets – creeds remain, and they survive.” In a separate meeting with Soleimani’s family, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Soleimani “was, and still is, the most nationalistic and religious person in Iran and in the world of Islam.”
In the United States, on the other hand, most Americans woke up on the morning of January 3 unaware of the grief thousands of miles away. Nor did they know about the burning desire for revenge that burns in the heart of virtually every Iranian citizen. If Soleimani was mentioned at all in the American media that day, it was only in passing, and accompanied by statements denigrating him as a terrorist.
Americans’ utter inability to empathize with non-Americans is one of the fundamental failings of American society. If the American people could project their emotions about the assassination of JFK or about the September 11 attacks onto the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, they might not be so blithe about the possible consequences of actions committed in his name to encounter. The failure of the American people to identify with the suffering of the Iranian nation over the death of a man considered a national hero in Iran is a major failure in the quality of Americans as human beings.
This failure will have consequences. Americans scoff at Iran’s attempts to try former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and dozens of others for the Soleimani murder. Especially if this justice should take place before an Islamic court. This hypocrisy is overwhelming, because the American people had no problem with it when, in October 2013, US special forces arrested Abu Anas al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative accused of planning bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to have. Abu Anas al-Libi pleaded not guilty and was scheduled to stand trial in a US court on January 12, 2015. Instead, al-Libi died in an American hospital, allegedly from complications related to hepatitis C.
Iran knows only too well that its efforts to secure international support for the arrests of Trump, Pompeo and others are doomed to failure. The purpose of the Iranian stance is not justice, but the exhaustion of all legitimate means to bring those held responsible for Soleimani’s death to justice. If all avenues of international law for satisfaction have been exhausted, Iran may conclude that it now has the moral authority to prosecute the matter using its own inherent powers and prosecutorial tools.
It cannot be ruled out that Iran will even arrest people abroad and try them in Iran, as the arrest and subsequent execution of Abdolmalek Rigi in 2010 suggests. Or she hunts and kills, like Dr. Cyrus Elahi, a monarchist who was shot dead in Paris in October 1990. “If Trump and Pompeo are not tried in an independent court for the criminal act of killing General Soleimani, then Muslims will seek revenge on our martyr,” Iranian President Raisi said.
Unlike the American people, the Iranian nation has not, and never will, forget the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by the American military. His death will be the driving force behind an upcoming Iranian plan for revenge-based justice. There is no telling when, where, or the outcome of these efforts, but one thing is certain—those who refuse justice will face vengeance.
more on the subject – Media report: Iranian allies kill two responsible for Soleimani’s assassination
RT DE strives for a broad range of opinions. Guest posts and opinion pieces do not have to reflect the editor’s point of view.
Translated from English.
Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector in the implementation of the INF Treaty, on General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War and as a UN weapons inspector from 1991-1998. You can follow him on Twitter at @RealScottRitter Follow.