Editor’s Note: A great article from our good friend Sara Carter.
Terrorists In Iraq Fearing U.S. Targeting: Are Fleeing and Hiding After Soleimani Killing
U.S. officials have intercepted chatter and received confirmation that terrorist leaders in Iraq have been fleeing the region and have gone into hiding fearing United States intelligence capabilities after the successful airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani, according to multiple sources that spoke to SaraACarter.com.
Soleimani, the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, was killed early Friday morning as he stepped off his plane and headed to the SUV at the Baghdad Airport in Iraq. The U.S. developed extraordinary actionable intelligence to target the most wanted terrorist in the world and it was a ‘precision strike’ that caught the Iranian government off guard, said a White House official, who spoke on background due to the sensitive nature of their work.
For the past two decades, U.S. and Western intelligence officials have worked to monitor Soleimani’s movements, as well as his planned attacks on overseas assets, U.S. troops and civilians. He was a designated terrorist by the United States but previous administrations, including both Obama and the Bush administrations, stayed clear of targeting him directly fearing possible retaliation from Iran or escalation of war. For twenty years Soleimani operated with impunity directing Iran’s financial purse to terrorist proxies around the world, while also planning Iranian military strategy in the region. His death was an extraordinary blow to the Iranian regime. During the Obama administration he was frequently reported to be traveling throughout the Iraqi region despite sanctions limiting his travel and was working closely with Iranian allies in the Iraq government, said a U.S. official, who works in the region.
President Trump’s ‘decapitation strike targeting general Qassem Soleimani was a seminal moment, a change in strategy for the United States,’ Daniel Hoffman
Under President Donald Trump the tables have turned. It was apparent that the president was ready to take the action necessary when U.S. intelligence officials informed him that Soleimani was in the planning stages of a strategic attack targeting Americans that was expected to come within days, said a White House official, with knowledge of the airstrike. Trump’s decisive decision to act on the intelligence he was given and to target Soleimani saved countless American lives, the official added.
The White House official added that shortly after the airstrike that killed Soleimani information began to surface that other terrorist leaders in the region were ‘fleeing,’ and others had gone into hiding.
And on Wednesday, as Trump addressed the nation, woven into his words was the warning to terrorists in the region that Soleimani was only one of many terror leaders U.S. officials are monitoring in effort to prevent attacks on U.S. assets, the homeland and Americans overseas.
“Last week, we took decisive action to stop a ruthless terrorist from threatening American lives. At my direction, the United States Military eliminated the world’s top terrorist, Qassem Soleimani,” said Trump. “Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood. He should have been terminated long ago. By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: if you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people.”
The message was heard loud and clear in Iraq. U.S. officials intercepted communications and intelligence suggesting that terrorists in the region were signaling immediate concerns over Iran’s inability to protect Soleimani from the U.S.
James Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, told this reporter that Iran’s inability to protect its most prized asset was a message to proxy terrorist organizations and terror leaders that they were vulnerable.
“Makes sense,” said Carafano. “If this is all Iran will do to avenge Soleimani no one can expect Tehran to expend a lot of capital to protect them from the Americans.”
Daniel Hoffman, a retired CIA station chief and former chief of the CIA‘s Middle East Department, said the president’s “decapitation strike targeting general Qassem Soleimani was a seminal moment, a change in strategy for the United States and how we deal with Iran’s aggression.”
Hoffman, whose work in the region is extensive, said Trump made it clear “that we will deal with everyone’s proxy militia foot soldiers but we will also deal with Iranian leaders who are responsible for making the decisions that put our people and installations in harms way.”
Hoffman added that it’s “with a high level of confidence that Iran’s military leaders have likely changed their calculus about the risks they are taking by ordering strikes against the United States.”
The White House official added that for the president “just one American life was enough” to target the world’s most wanted terrorist but the actionable intelligence he received regarding the attack was enough to make the decision.
As for why Soleimani had taken the risk of traveling to Iraq shortly after Trump had tweeted the warning to Iran that there would be retribution for the attack by its proxy militias on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the death of U.S. contractor Nawres Hamid, 33, the White House official said it was apparent that Soleimani felt “emboldened” because past administrations did little to stop his actions or his travel. Hamid, who was the father of two young children, became a naturalized citizen in 2017.
Further, stronger economic sanctions against Iran and the administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA weakened the regime’s intelligence apparatus lessening its ability to protect its top commander, the White House official said.
A former senior military official, who now works in the region, told SaraACarter.com that “President Trump’s decision to put American contractors and military personnel first was a reversal from the Obama administration’s position and is going to save more American lives than people realize.”
“He has put our nation first,” the former military official said. “We’re respected and we’ll be safer because of it – it’s already working, terrorists are hearing the message loud and clear.”