For 10 days, President Trump and his team have struggled to describe the reasoning behind the decision to launch a drone strike against Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite security forces, propelling the two nations to the brink of war. Officials agree they had intelligence indicating danger, but the public explanations have shifted by the day and sometimes by the hour.On Sunday came the latest twist. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he was never shown any specific piece of evidence that Iran was planning an attack on four American embassies, as Mr. Trump had claimed just two days earlier.
On the day the U.S. military killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, U.S. forces carried out another top secret mission against a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, according to U.S. officials. The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration’s killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated.
Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in the administration pushing President Trump to kill Iran’s most important general. This week, he is back in his role as the nation’s top diplomat, trying to contain the international crisis the general’s death created.
President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran on Wednesday and called for a new diplomatic effort as the bristling confrontation of the last six days appeared to ease after Iranian missile strikes that proved more symbolic than deadly.
The skepticism expressed by some leading Democrats and the mainstream media regarding the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani has been refreshing, after decades of bipartisan support for disastrous U.S. policies in the region. However, the claim that Soleimani and the Iranian government are somehow responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—which has been repeated by leading Democrats and the mainstream media—appears to be groundless.
President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, and threatened “very big sanctions” on Iraq if American troops are forced to leave the country.
Following the killing of a senior Iranian commander, Iran announced it is suspending all its commitments under the nuclear agreement it struck with world powers in 2015, although it will continue to cooperate with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
In an extraordinary parliamentary session on Sunday, parliament called on the government to end all foreign troop presence in Iraq and to cancel its request for assistance from the US-led coalition which had been working with Baghdad to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
President Trump ordered the killing of the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in a drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport early Friday, American officials said. General Suleimani’s death was confirmed by official Iranian media.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia told a top aide in a conversation in 2017 that he would use “a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist killed in October, if Mr. Khashoggi did not return to the kingdom and end his criticism of the Saudi government, according to current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of intelligence reports.
Senators emerged from a closed-door briefing with the CIA director on Tuesday and accused the Saudi crown prince of complicity in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In some of their strongest statements to date, lawmakers said evidence presented by the U.S. spy agency overwhelmingly pointed to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the assassination.
Thanks to an ACLU victory in federal court, we know much more about how CIA doctors violated the medical oath to “do no harm.” One of the most important lessons of the CIA’s torture program is the way it corrupted virtually every individual and institution associated with it. Over the years, we have learned how lawyers twisted the law and psychologists betrayed their ethical obligations in order to enable the brutal and unlawful torture of prisoners.
Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated last month, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss,” believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, that the operatives had carried out their mission, according to three people familiar with a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence.
President Trump on Tuesday condemned Saudi Arabia’s account of the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi as “the worst cover-up ever,” and his administration warned for the first time that it would impose human rights sanctions on those who took part in the plot.
Saudi agents were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into their country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, beheaded, dismembered, his fingers severed, and within two hours the killers were gone, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.
The disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi is opening a rift between Washington and Saudi Arabia as the kingdom blasted President Trump on Sunday for promising “severe punishment” if the royal court was responsible. If Saudi Arabia “receives any action, it will respond with greater action,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement, citing the oil-rich kingdom’s “influential and vital role in the global economy.”
President Trump said on Monday that he spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia and that the ruler denied any knowledge of what happened to a missing Saudi dissident journalist. After the call, Mr. Trump said it was possible that “rogue killers” were behind the disappearance of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
A high-profile investment summit in Riyadh later this month is rapidly becoming a fiasco as prominent businesses and media groups pulled out over Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the disappearance and possible murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in her native Malta after exposing a massive web of corruption through the “Panama Papers,” including a revelation that Ivanka Trump helped her father’s Panama hotel venture with the help of an alleged international fraudster with ties to Russian money launderers.