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January 3, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8460

Reactions To U.S. Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani – Part I

January 3, 2020
Iran, Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 8460

The following are January 3, 2020 reactions to the killing early that morning of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and PMU deputy commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad's international airport. The reactions are from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Reactions In Iran

Iranian TV Announcement About U.S. Killing Of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani: He Met His Creator With Gratitude For Years Of Jihad

On January 3, 2020, at 6:00 AM, IRINN TV (Iran) announced the assassination of Soleimani. The anchor said: "The soldier of the Jurisprudent Ruler and of the Islamic nation, the military commander of Islam, the Revolution, and Iran, Hajj Qassem Soleimani, has been martyred in an attack by American helicopters [after] a life full of jihad."

Explaining that Soleimani had "hastened to meet his Creator" with gratitude for "years of jihad that were full of pride and honor," he added that Soleimani had been "awarded martyrdom" along with Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below

Worshippers Burst Into Tears When News Breaks Of Soleimani Killing; Preacher: He Was An Agent Of Unity Between Muslims And Jews

During a live broadcast of morning prayers in the Iranian city of Rahim Abad in Gilan Province, January 3, 2019, on Iran TV's Channel 1, the preacher broke the news about the Soleimani's killing, and the worshippers burst into tears and chanted "Death to America."

The preacher congratulated Soleimani for achieving what he had wished for. and told the worshippers that Soleimani had been an agent of unity between Sunnis and Shi'ites and among Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below

IRGC Spokesman Gen. Sharif Bursts Into Tears, Adds: Before Long, The Joy Of The Americans And Zionists Over The Killing Of Soleimani Will Turn To Grief

On January 3, 2020, Shahram Farhadi, a reporter for Iran's IRINN TV, spoke with IRGC spokesman Gen. Ramezan Sharif on the "martyrdom" of Soleimani. Farhadi said: "As a reporter and as an Iranian, I have a lot to say, but I will remain silent and say nothing, because all our people know who the real terrorist is. It was clear and now it is even clearer."

Gen. Sharif said: "…Allow me to congratulate and send condolences to our dear people, to the great Leader of the Revolution, to the Hidden Imam, to the heroic public of Islamic Iran, the resistance front, the families of the martyrs who defend the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque in Damascus, and all the free men and people who fight injustice...

"In all certainty, it will not be long before the momentary joy of the Americans and the Zionists will turn into grief. The IRGC and the wise people of Islamic Iran and of the resistance front all over the geography of the Islamic world think about nothing other than exacting revenge for the blood of this proud martyr whose only thought was how to bring pride and glory to the Iranian people and the Islamic nation, and how to liberate Jerusalem….

"We in the IRGC were very sorry to hear this news. However, our resolve to exact revenge from criminal America and the occupying Zionists will grow stronger. This will definitely happen. We embarked on a path 40 years ago. We have sacrificed many IRGC generals for the ideals of the Islamic Revolution and for the security of the Iranian people. In this very hall, we announced a few years ago the martyrdom of General Tehrani Mughaddam [the head of Iran's missile program]. He was a man who thought about annihilating Israel. He made steps that allowed us to advance most of the way on this path."

The two men began weeping copiously, and Farhadi explained, "Our crying is due to excitement over the martyrdom of this country's great divine man." He added: "If I see his body, I will kiss it, but for now, I will kiss this sacred garment on General Sharif's side. I'd like to thank my colleagues in this broadcast. I leave you in the hands of God Almighty. We will continue to be at your service with our programs on the international news channel."

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below

Reactions In Iraq

Iraqi President And Prime Minister: "We Call On Everyone To Exercise Self-Restraint"; "We Condemn... The U.S. Administration's Assassination Of The Two Martyrs"

Iraq's president and prime minister both harshly condemned the U.S. assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. In an official statement, President Barham Salih called on all parties to "show self-restraint": "We call on everyone to exercise self-restraint, to let the voice of reason and wisdom prevail, and to place the highest national interest above all interests." He added that the U.S. airstrike had targeted senior security commanders who are part of the Iraqi military institution, and commended both Soleimani and Al-Muhandis for their "significant and decisive role in defeating ISIS."[1]


Iraqi President Salih's statement

On his part, Iraqi Caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi strongly condemned the U.S attack, calling it "aggression against the country," and added: "We condemn with the utmost condemnation the U.S. administration's assassination of the two martyrs, Haji Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and other Iraqi and Iranian figures. The two martyrs were great symbols in achieving victory against the terrorist ISIS. The assassination of an Iraqi military commander holding an official position is an aggression against Iraq, the state, the government, and the people."

He went on to state that Iraq considered the U.S. attack a "violation of the conditions that regulate the presence of the U.S. forces in Iraq and its role, which is limited to training Iraqi forces and fighting ISIS within the international coalition forces and under the supervision and approval of the Iraqi government... [C]arrying out an elimination operation against Iraqi senior figures or those from a brotherly country [Iran] on Iraqi soil is a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty, a blatant attack on the dignity of the country, and a dangerous escalation that ignites a devastating war in Iraq, the region and the world."

In conclusion, Abdul-Mahdi called calling for an extraordinary Iraqi parliamentary to "coordinate the Iraqi official position and take legislative decisions and necessary measures."[2]


Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi's statement

Iran-Backed Iraqi Shi'ite Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq Militia Leader Qais Khaz'ali: The Punishment For The Spilling Of Al-Muhandis's Blood Is "The Complete Elimination Of The American Military Presence In Iraq" And For Spilling Soleimani's Blood Is "The Complete Elimination Of 'Israel'"

The leader of the Iran-backed Iraqi Shi'ite Shi'ite Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq militia, Qais Khaz'ali, said in a handwritten statement: "In the name of Allah the Compassionate and the Merciful... The natural [destiny] of the commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani and the commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is martyrdom, [whereas] the natural end of the U.S. and Israel is perdition. The punishment for [spilling] the blood of the commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is the complete elimination of the American military presence in Iraq, and the punishment for [spilling] the blood of the commander Qassem Soleimani is the complete elimination of 'Israel.'

"All the mujahideen of the resistance must stand ready, for we are on the cusp of a great, imminent victory. It may require [suffering] torment, but you must trust in the promise of Allah...

"Your brother,

"Qais Al-Khaz'ali,

"January 3, 2020."


Qais Khaz'ali's handwritten statement

Iraqi Sadrist Movement Leader Muqtada Al-Sadr: Soleimani's Assassination Will Not Damage Our Jihad

Senior Iraqi Shi'ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr, who heads the Iraq-based Sadrist movement, tweeted the following on January 3: "In the name of Allah the Compassionate and the Merciful... We belong to Allah, and to Allah we will return. I console myself and the Islamic Republic of Iran – on the level of the source of authority, the commanders, the people, and the government – on the martyr's death of the mujahid Hajj Qassem Soleimani and of the [Muslim] believers who were with him.

"It is known that the damage done to him, by the global arrogance [i.e. the U.S.], is like damage to jihad, the resistance, and the global revolutionary spirit – but they will not damage our determination and our jihad.

"If only Allah would distance the danger from the region and keep our beloved Iraq [safe] from dangers and disasters. I hope that everyone will act wisely and with common sense?

"As the one in charge of the national Iraqi resistance, I order the mujahideen to be ready, particularly the Jaysh Al-Imam Al-Mahdi and the Liwa Al-Yawm Al-Muwad ["the Promised Day Brigade," that is, Judgment Day, an armed Islamic Shi'ite Iraqi organization established by Muqtada Al-Sadr in 2008] and all the national factions that are carrying out our mission?, in order to be fully ready to defend Iraq.

"The mujahid

"Muqtada Al-Sadr"


Twitter.com/Mu_AlSadr/status/1212993817500168192, January 3, 2020

Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani: "Exercise Self-Restraint, Act Wisely"

A statement by Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani that was read out by his representative Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi Al-Karbalai in the Friday sermon in Karbala, Iraq at the shrine of Imam Hussein called on all parties to exercise self-restraint and act wisely in the aftermath of U.S. airstrike that killed Soleimani and Al-Muhandis: "We call on the parties to exercise self-restraint and act wisely. We raise our palms to pray to Almighty Allah to protect Iraq and its people."

Warning that Iraq is sliding into "difficult conditions," the statement called the U.S. strike a "brutal attack," and continued: "Events are accelerating and crises are escalating, and the country is going through the most dangerous junctures – from the sinful attack on the positions of the Iraqi forces in the city of Qaim, which led to the martyrdom and wounding of dozens of our fighters, to the unfortunate incidents in Baghdad during the past days, to the brutal attack near its international airport last night. They all represent a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a violation of international conventions."

The statement then described those killed in the strike as "heroes in the anti-ISIS fight," and commended those killed in the December 28, 2019 U.S. aerial attack on the Hizbullah Brigades positions in Anbar province, Iraq. It concluded with a prayer that Imam Ali habitually uttered when preparing for confrontation.

Worshippers attending the sermon chanted "No No America."


Sistani's statement, from his official website (Source: Sistani.org/files-new/Archeives/1441h/7-5-1441h.pdf)


Screenshot of Sistani's representative reading Sistani's statement in Karbala. The subtitles state: "Iraqis chant 'No No America' in response to the U.S-Israeli crime of assassinating Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis." (Source: the pro-PMU satellite Alanwartv2, January 3, 2020)

Reactions In Lebanon

Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah: It Will Be The Responsibility, Duty, And Action Of All Resistance Fighters And Mujahideen Throughout The World To Take Harsh Revenge Against Soleimani's Criminal Killers

Following Soleimani's death, Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah announced: "...In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful... Given that the beloved brother and great leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani has fulfilled his ultimate hope by achieving noble martyrdom, he truly became the master of the martyrs in the resistance axis.

"We offer our condolences to our master and Imam, master of the time, may God Almighty hasten his relief; to His Eminence the Leader, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Khamenei, to our great religious references and dear brothers and officials of the Islamic Republic in Iran, especially the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and the great and resisting Iranian people, to each and every member in Hajj Qassem's noble and resisting family in particular.

"I extend the warmest condolences to them all on the loss of this brave and ingenious role model and compassionate father of all resistance fighters and Mujahideen in our region.

"I congratulate him [and envy him] for this great martyrdom and for arriving to the high status in the school of (Imam) Hussein and Zainab, peace be upon them. This is what the scene is like for us.

"This is how we perceive the scene and the situation.

"Concerning us who remained after him, we will pursue his path and work night and day to achieve his goals. We’ll carry his flag in all arenas, fields and fronts. The victories of the resistance axis will increase with the blessing of his sacred blood, just like these victories grew with his perseverance and tireless struggle. It will be the responsibility, duty, and action of all resistance fighters and mujahideen throughout the world to take harsh revenge from his criminal killers who are the worst villains of this world.

"The U.S. killers, God willing, will not be able to achieve any of their goals with this huge crime. Rather, all of Hajj Qassem's goals will be accomplished owing to the greatness of his soul and blood. (The goals) will be accomplished by his brothers, children, and students of the resistance from all the peoples of our nations that reject humiliation and submission to the imperialists and tyrants.

"Glory, honor, and high ranks be to the great martyr leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and to all the dear Mujahideen who were martyred with him, especially the great martyr leader Abu Mahdi, may Allah be pleased with them."[3]

Nasrallah also released an announcement in reaction to the killing Al-Muhandis, congratulating him on his martyrdom and extending condolences to senior Iraqi officials, the Iraqi people, and the Hashd Al-Sha'bi commanders. He added:

"The dear Iraqi people and resistance factions will prove their great and sincere loyalty to these martyr leaders and all the martyrs and to their noble goals. They will not allow these pure Husseini blood that was shed unjustly to go to waste. But the blood of Hajj Qassem, Abu Mahdi and those martyred with them and all the memories of jihad and sacrifices of these two great leaders, will constitute a strong incentive for them to continue their march, carry the flag and achieve the goals and hopes for a free Iraq, dear, independent, strong, prosperous and free from occupation and terrorism..."[4]

Writer In Lebanese Daily Al-Akhbar: The U.S. Will Pay Dearly For The Assassination

Hassan Aliq wrote in the Lebanese Hizbullah-affiliated daily Al-Akhbar: "...The assassination at dawn was not a complex security operation, but in terms of the political and military [power] balance, this operation is the harshest blow dealt to the [resistance] axis, at least since the death of Hajj 'Imad Mughniyeh, and at a broader level. It is a vicious blow that opens the gates of madness in the region. Whoever made the decision to assassinate him is a fool who does not understand what he is doing, or perhaps – and more likely – he opened the gates to a war for which he has already prepared.

"With this decision, the U.S. sought to convey a message to the resistance axis: 'Your deterrent capability has deteriorated, and nothing will prevent us from thwarting your [plans] to expel us from the region. We will target all your leaders and all your strong points.'

"This is a zero-sum game, and the resistance axis  must approach it only out of the duty to avenge [Soleimani's] death – not for vengeance, but to rebuild the resistance's deterrent capability and to consolidate its achievements of the last few decades. The assassination of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's IRGC Qods Force, and of Abu Al-Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMU, in Baghdad, just before midnight on Thursday-Friday [January 2-3, 2020] cannot be overlooked as if it were some passing incident in the region. 

"Soleimani is the famous Iranian general who partnered with Hajj 'Imad Mughniyeh in defending Lebanon in July-August 2006. He was the chief supporter of the Iraqi resistance against the American-British occupation of Iraq, the architect of the lines of defense of Damascus, and Assad's partner on the ground during the greatest of the battles in Syria (such as the battle to retake Aleppo). It was he who persuaded Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in Syria, and who was the partner of Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan in the arrangements in northern Syria, and so on. He was the main liaison between Iran and the Palestinian resistance factions.

"During his time, the IRGC Qods Force became a massive regional power providing military and logistic support in regions from Yemen in the south to territories north of Iraq, through Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian [territories] – and especially in Gaza, where he played the leading role in developing the capabilities of the resistance. The Israeli intelligence and operational [forces] followed his movements in Syria and Iraq to prevent him from transferring game-changing weapons to these two countries, and from replicating the Lebanese resistance [i.e. Hizbullah Lebanon], which Israel considers an existential threat, in each of them...

"The assassination of Soleimani and Al-f is not a passing incident. It was a decision made by the American administration in order to ignite the region, or at least to attempt to turn back the clock and eradicate the results attained by the steadfastness of the resistance axis in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Palestine. Likewise, it strove to escalate the aggression whose goal is to destroy all the cumulative achievements of this [resistance] axis. Even without a scrap of information from any 'authorized' source in the [resistance] axis, its reaction can be expected. The assassination of Soleimani crosses the red lines, and it will be carried my more than one side. Therefore, the U.S. will pay very dearly."[5]   

Reactions By Palestinian Terrorist Organizations

Hamas Military Wing: Soleimani Devoted A Great Deal Of His Efforts To Aiding The Resistance in Palestine; His Blood "Will Be A Curse On The Murderers And On The Zionist Occupation"

The 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, also released a statement in response to Soleimani's killing. It stated:

"In Iran's [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)... we remember the history of [Soleimani's] life and the great and extensive role he played in the Palestinian cause and in supporting the resistance. He devoted much of his efforts and his jihad to bring about an end to the Zionist entity and to uproot it from the land of Palestine, and he acted to present all types of support for the resistance in order to confront the Zionist enemy. There is no doubt that the great role that he played in this way made him an important target for America and the Zionist enemy.

"The Martyr 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades extend the warmest condolences to the brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran for the loss of this great commander, and emphasize to the Arab and Islamic nation that we, as the resistance in Palestine, will continue in our path against the Zionist enemy, the source of evil in the entire region. We are certain that the blood of Hajj Qassem Soleimani will be a curse on the murderers and on the Zionist occupation..."[6]


The Al-Aqsa statement

PFLP: The Assassination Demands A Response Against The Americans And Zionists In The Region

In a statement, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said: "The PFLP emphasizes that the U.S. administration's and the Zionist entity's lawlessness and unrestrained aggression in several Arab countries, most recently the aggression and assassination in Iraq, demand a coordinated and comprehensive response by the resistance forces and by all patriots in the region where Americans and Zionists and their interests are found. The Palestinian people is not forgetting its prominent and pioneering role in consolidating support for the Islamic Public of Iran, its rights, and its struggle against the Zionist enemy, and its support for the resistance forces and the development of their capabilities."[7]

 

[1] Presidency.iq/Details.aspx?id=8505, January 3, 2020.

[2] Pmo.iq/press2019/3-1-202001.htm, January 3, 2020.

[3] English.alahednews.com.lb/51113/385; Alahednews.com.lb, January 3, 2020. The original English has been very lightly edited for clarity.

[4] English.alahednews.com.lb/51115/385, January 3, 2020. The original English has been very lightly edited for clarity.

[5] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 3, 2020.

[6] Alqassam.net, January 3, 2020.

[7] Pflp.ps, January 3, 2020.

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