A United Nations report concluded that President Trump violated international law by staging a drone strike on an airport in Baghdad that killed the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
At the time of the Jan. 8 attack – carried out without the knowledge or consent of Congress or U.S. allies in the region – Trump claimed the ambush was necessary to avoid an imminent threat posed by Iran on U.S. interests. The U.N. said these vague claims were likely exaggerated and unsupported by evidence.
“No evidence has been provided that Gen. Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against U.S. interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified,” Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution, said in her report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday.
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Although America claimed self-defense, the U.N. argued that “by killing Gen. Soleimani on Iraqi soil without first obtaining Iraq’s consent, the U.S. violated the territorial integrity of Iraq.”
The drone strike violated article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter, which “prohibits the threat or use of force and calls on all members to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other states,” the agency said.
The U.N. council is scheduled to convene on Thursday to discuss the findings of the report, but the scope of their authority is limited in condemning the U.S., which is no longer a member of the council.
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The report comes a week after Tehran issued an arrest warrant for Trump in Solemaini’s death and asked Interpol for assistance in detaining him, a request which was rejected by the international police organization.
Soleimani was the long-running leader of the elite intelligence wing called the Quds Force — a special forces external arm of the IRGC responsible for supporting terrorist proxies across the Middle East.
It reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was itself designated a terror group in 2007. The group is estimated to have amassed a militia of 20,000 fighters.
American officials have condemned the Quds Force as being responsible for spreading Iran’s Islamic revolution, supporting terrorists, subverting pro-Western governments, and waging Iran’s foreign wars.
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Outgoing U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told Fox News in an exclusive exit interview in 2015: “Qassem Soleimani is the one who has been exporting malign activities throughout the Middle East for some time now. He’s absolutely responsible for killing many Americans. In fact, I would say the last two years I was there, the majority of our casualties came from his surrogates, not Sunni or Al Qaeda.”
In April 2019, the State Department announced that Iranian and Iranian-backed forces led by Soleimani were responsible for killing 608 U.S. troops during the Iraq War. The State Department believes he was the masterminded behind the major military operations, bombings, and assassinations that accounted for at least 17 percent of all U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.