Byrne: With Soleimani dead, the world is safer
You may not have known his name, but the most dangerous man in the Middle East has finally received justice for a lifetime of brutality.
Before being taken out by an American airstrike, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was a major general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and commander of its extra-military, clandestine Quds Force. He left his stain on this world by organizing, training and leading terrorist groups across the Middle East and beyond.
The blood on his hands included that of at least 600 Americans and thousands more.
Consider the scope of his activities. Soleimani attacked Americans in Afghanistan. His forces were active throughout Iraq. He armed Hezbollah with rockets that have indiscriminately killed women and children in Israel. He attempted attacks in Europe against our allies. He even planned at least one failed bombing in our nation’s capital.
To put it simply, he was a terror mastermind. Taking Soleimani off the battlefield leaves a gaping hole in the Iranian regime’s ability to orchestrate terrorist activities throughout the Middle East. Make no mistake, the Middle East, and the entire world, is safer without him.
We can’t be naive. The evil Iranian regime’s goal is to destroy the West and its way of life, no matter the cost. Soleimani and the government of Iran have never had any intention of adhering to any global norms or abiding by any treaties.
That’s why policies of appeasement towards Iran are misguided and dangerous. The Obama-era Iranian deal was, at best, an empty public relations victory for the Obama administration that did little to slow down Iran’s public support for global terrorism and quest towards its goal of securing nuclear capabilities. In reality, as we pumped up their economy with billions in cash and sanctions relief, Iran never wavered. With international scrutiny relaxed, Iran successfully took their operations underground. Iran continued and even escalated its proxy support of terrorist groups while the Iranian deal was in place. And Soleimani was the unquestioned leader.
Unlike the previous President who drew a “red line” regarding Assad’s evil Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, President Trump means what he says. He made clear that any Iranian attack on Americans would be punished. The killing of Soleimani came just days after his proxies attacked our embassy in Baghdad and a military base in Kenya that resulted in the loss of an American life.
President Obama may have capitulated in Syria, but global terrorists and the regimes who support them now know with certainty that President Trump does not make idle threats. He will act decisively to defend Americans and our interests around the world. After two face-saving attacks from Iran in the region that took no American lives, the Iranian regime appears to be wisely deescalating their aggression.
Last week, House Democrats introduced a War Powers Resolution designed to discredit President Trump for using his constitutional powers to eliminate Soleimani. It is disappointing that when Congress should be showing national resolve and unity against an evil Iranian regime, Democrats are playing politics. Last week, I received a classified briefing from national security officials that made clear the continued threat Soleimani posed to Americans. We should be thanking the president and the brave men and women who successfully carried out this attack, not engaging in political grandstanding.
The evil Iranian regime is growing weaker at home. President Trump’s sanctions are continuing to damage Iran’s economy. Iranians are protesting in the streets, shouting “death to the dictator!” After President Trump’s show of American strength, the Iranian government can’t risk further antagonizing the United States. Their leaders would be wise to continue their de-escalation.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. He is a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate.