The United States government is talking terrorism and assassination, although it is most conspicuous to other countries that it is open to the latter; and mostly polite to the former. Still, this week Facebook revealed it is hosting over 4,200 Trump-affiliated and pro-Trump Russian-Russian Facebook ads; links to which appeared on Twitter and may even show up in Google search results (despite Google trying to preemptively remove this issue).
So we don’t even need to ask, as Tech Crunch nicely did, why the administration now—or at least now Trump—is so keen to start a violent war with Iran. Because earlier this week the Washington Post published a story on the site World Net Daily (now owned by a conservative mega-donor, after three major components were bought out).
According to the report, both the Iranian and Russian governments warned that they would continue to track down Qassem Soleimani, the chief commander of the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
I’ve been to Iraq several times since the American invasion in 2003. Recently there was a gentleman who worked on a military post and asked me, when I mentioned Soleimani’s name, “If you aren’t going to do anything about this guy, who else will?” And here, to paraphrase the dead guy in Dances With Wolves, the answer is you, Uncle Sam.
That’s why the claim that Soleimani might be killed was reported as true by both the New York Times and The Daily Beast, including here. Both also reported that a man said to be in control of the Quds force’s operations in Iraq—a man named Sheikh Abdullatif al-Samoury—sent an email to Washington warning the Trump administration that Soleimani had been in contact with the Russian military.
Then, Washington Post reporter Adam Entous claims, a Special Forces soldier posted a YouTube video praising Soleimani, knowing full well that the government had that video, and knew that it was going to be shared millions of times across the social network. The image was shared by Lt. Gen. Jeff Harrigian—who (as mentioned above) is the deputy commander of US Central Command, and who since leaving the US Army is trying to make it into a reality television show.
As the AP reported yesterday, Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, has pushed “a war strategy of covert operations against the Islamic State that could include killing [Soleimani] without declaring war and…bring Iran back from the brink of war.”
As it happens, since the article appeared, we have learned that Facebook and Google have scrubbed much of the corresponding Facebook ads, and in fact dozens of the ads currently remain on the platforms.
The interest being generated—and clearly propagated—towards the end of 2018 was a mixture of opinion, disinformation, propaganda, and blatantly pro-Iran hate that hinted at the kind of vicious slaughter of civilians that the Iran-Iraq War did, especially during its 1980-1988 period.
With something like 3,000 US troops deployed in Iraq right now, it seems inevitable that we will see a renewed moment of aggression.
The resources that the Quds force has put in place to capture Soleimani so they can kill him while he is safely hiding in Syria indicate what kind of havoc Iran will put into play. And hopefully, we’ll now see the dark nature of the propaganda that was apparently being circulated in the U.S. and around the world.