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To Soleimani and his Iraqi terrorist sidekick al-Muhandis, good riddance. To Agnes Callamard, shut up until you know what you are talking about\

UN Secretary General Punts While UN Human Rights Official Denounces U.S.


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Agnes Callamard

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres read a statement to the press at UN headquarters on Monday declaring, “The New Year has begun with our world in turmoil. Geopolitical tensions are at their highest level this century.” The Secretary General did not refer directly to the tensions between the United States and Iran that have escalated sharply during the last week. He punted, although he did make two observations that may have been intended as oblique comments on the current situation.

Secretary General Guterres:  “Nuclear non-proliferation can no longer be taken for granted”

Secretary General Guterres noted that “nuclear non-proliferation can no longer be taken for granted,” which could be viewed as an expression of concern over the apparent collapse of the Iranian nuclear deal in the wake of Iran’s announcement that it would no longer abide by the deal’s enrichment limitations. He also said that more and more countries were taking “unpredicted decisions with unpredictable consequences and a profound risk of miscalculation.” This could be the Secretary General’s diplomatic way of couching his concern about the unintended consequences and risks of miscalculation precipitated by “unpredictable” military actions undertaken by the United States and the Iranian regime (directly or through its proxies).

The Secretary General said that he was” in constant contact with leading officials around the world,” although he did not say with whom he had spoken. His message, he said, was “simple and clear” –  to stop escalation, exercise maximum restraint, re-start dialogue, and renew international cooperation.

Such non-controversial maxims are often trotted out in the absence of moral clarity, but at least they do no harm. The UN Security Council did not conduct any meetings on the Iran-U.S. conflict escalation. Again, at least it has not made things worse – yet.

Agnes Callamard, the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions

In contrast to Secretary General Guterres’ very carefully chosen words of neutrality, Agnes Callamard, the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, tweeted up a storm of outrageous denunciations against the U.S. airstrikes that finally ended Iranian terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani’s ability to continue the crimes against humanity and war crimes he has committed for years. Instead, Callamard said that the action taken by the United States in self-defense against more planned attacks on its citizens directed by Soleimani most likely violated international law, including human rights law. She added, “Outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.”

What does Callamard think the attack by the Iranian-backed, Soleimani-directed militia group, Kata’ib Hezbollah, on an Iraqi base was, which killed an American civilian contractor and wounded several American and Iraqi personnel? How about the unprovoked violent assault by Soleimani’s thugs from Kata’ib Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militant groups on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in violation of international law?  Those are active hostilities instigated by Iran and its terrorist proxies.

What does Callamard think a country is supposed to do to protect its citizens, especially when it has sound reasons to believe that more attacks on its citizens are imminent? Sit back and wait for its citizens to be killed before taking any action?  Does Callamard have any understanding at all of what self-defense means legally in such circumstances? Obviously not.

Kata’ib Hezbollah is considered a direct arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Kata’ib Hezbollah is considered a direct arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Quds Force. This terrorist group has pledged loyalty to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and was said to be working directly for Soleimani. Its leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also taken out by the U.S. airstrikes, developed a close relationship with Soleimani and served as his close adviser.

Last Friday’s killings of Soleimani and al-Muhandis did not suddenly happen in a vacuum. Context matters, except to narrow-minded ideologues such as Callamard.

In a measured military response to the Kata’ib Hezbollah attack on the Iraqi base that cost an American his life, President Trump ordered retaliatory U.S. airstrikes that killed some Kata’ib Hezbollah members. The Iranian terrorist proxies and their leader Soleimani remained unbowed, however. Hundreds of Iranian-backed militia fighters, reportedly at Soleimani’s direction, invaded the compound of the United States embassy in Baghdad last week after breaking down the compound gate. They threatened American lives, before finally withdrawing. Again, President Trump tweeted a warning. He said that Iran “will be held fully responsible.” (The UN Security Council, by the way, was blocked by Russia and China from issuing a statement that such attacks on a country’s embassy is a violation of international law)

Soleimani’s presence in Iraq alone last October and last week violated the UN Security Council’s travel freeze imposed against Soleimani

None of this gave Kata’ib Hezbollah’s patron Soleimani any pause. He brazenly took a flight from Syria to Iraq and was met by his co-terrorist lackey Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at the Baghdad airport. Both met their maker last Friday night before they could carry out their lethal plans.

According to U.S. intelligence services, Soleimani was in the midst of planning for the execution of imminent major attacks on U.S. military and diplomatic personnel in Iraq and other countries in the region that could have cost hundreds of American lives. Reuters separately reported that planning for stepped-up attacks against Americans had begun at a strategy session last October in Iraq attended by Soleimani and al-Muhandis. Soleimani, who considered it his mission to make Iraq essentially a satellite of Iran, was concerned with rising mass protests against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq. “Soleimani’s plans to attack U.S. forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect that rising anger toward the United States,” Reuters reported. Soleimani arranged for the supply of advanced weapons to Kataib Hezbollah, including an advanced drone, Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles, in order to scope out potential U.S. targets and to launch attacks against them.

Soleimani’s presence in Iraq alone last October and last week violated the UN Security Council’s travel freeze imposed against Soleimani. In his last report on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that Iran has since abandoned, Secretary General Guterres said as follows:

Soleimani should not have been in Iraq in the first place

“Information from Iraqi media outlets suggests that Major General Soleimani has undertaken travel inconsistent with the travel ban provisions of the resolution. I call upon all Member States to diligently implement the restrictive measures imposed on the individuals and entities on the list maintained pursuant to resolution 2231 (2015).”

Soleimani should not have been in Iraq in the first place. His very presence was illegal. Iraqi officials should have detained him and immediately sent him back to Iran. Of course, that would have been impossible since the Iranian regime today holds such sway over the Iraqi government and Soleimani was running the show in directing Iraqi Shiite militia against Americans.

Soleimani’s meetings on Iraqi soil to plan and carry out major attacks against Americans in Iraq as well as other countries in the region had an obvious illegal purpose. They turned Iraq into a battlefield against the United States. Together with the recent intelligence reports of plans of imminent attacks against Americans in the region that could well have resulted in the loss of many lives, there was ample justification under international law for President Trump’s decision to take out the Iranian terrorist mastermind Soleimani and his Iraqi terrorist sidekick al-Muhandis. To them, good riddance. And to Agnes Callamard, shut up until you know what you are talking about (if that should ever happen).

Joseph A. Klein, CFP United Nations Columnist — Bio and Archives
Joseph A. Klein is the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.

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