FILE – In this Feb. 16, 2016 file photo Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. An advocacy group recently identified by the White House as part of its echo chamber gave National Public Radio $100,000 to help it report on the Iran nuclear program and related issues. It also funded reporters at The Nation and fellow liberal media outlet Mother Jones, and partnered with the Center for Public Integrity. The groups quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help the Obama administration sell the Iran nuclear deal received attention this month after a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the presidents closest aides. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
Members of the Obama administration have had little trouble — or shame — expressing their opinions on the wisdom of the Trump administration’s decision to take out Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani Thursday. The latest example comes from former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who told Rachel Maddow that the Obama administration never had the opportunity to take out the lifelong terrorist, awful as he was. To punctuate her point that the decision was a bad one, she even implied that Team Obama probably wouldn’t have killed him anyway since the risks outweighed the benefits.
But let’s just be clear here: Susan Rice is a liar, and not in a squishy way but in a very specific way. Because her boss wasn’t simply content to look the other way as Soleimani defied travel bans and met with Putin in Russia while Obama pushed for support of his Iran Deal, for example; but because the previous administration actively, as part of the annex to the Iran Deal, granted Soleimani amnesty by removing him from the Treasury Department designated terrorist list he had been on since 2007.
In fact, Team Obama may even have been responsible for saving Soleimani’s life by alerting him to an Israeli plot to assassinate him.
But let’s back up and listen to what old Susan had to say about what her administration would (or, more accurately, wouldn’t) have done if only they’d been given the chance.
#NEW: Former NSA Susan Rice on Soleimani killing:
"The Obama administration was not presented with an opportunity by our intelligence community or by the U.S. military to strike Qassem Soleimani."pic.twitter.com/PlncGNvOk2
— Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) January 4, 2020
The lie is stunning in light of contemporaneous reports during the Iran Deal passage that show that Obama literally remove the Iranian terror mastermind from the sanctions and designated terrorist list, effectively granting him amnesty.
From a purely British perspective, he was responsible for training and equipping the Shia militias in southern Iraq who killed scores of British troops during the dark days of Iraq’s sectarian conflict following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and was reported to have trained the Taliban in the art of making deadly roadside bombs that killed and mutilated our Service personnel serving in southern Afghanistan.
So you can imagine my amazement when, leafing through the more obscure annexes of President Barack Obama’s “historic” deal with Iran (page 86 of the annex, to be precise), I found that Mr Suliemani – as the White House no doubt now refers to him – has been granted an amnesty and taken off the list of proscribed Iranians – together with a number of senior members of the Revolutionary Guards.
Thanks to Mr Obama’s scandalous capitulation to Tehran, Mr Suleimani has overnight gone from being one of the world’s most wanted terrorists to the White House’s newest best friend.
That’s quite a bit different from the way Rice describes how the Obama White House viewed Soleimani. And is proof that a much more active approach was taken by the US than simply choosing not to pay attention to the man as he ran roughshod throughout the Middle East and met with world leaders.
In short, much as he did when he gave Iran a ton of cash to fund their illicit activities, Obama enabled Soleimani to act freely with a decision largely hidden from view.
Exacerbating that (as if it could be worse), the Obama White House may have even stepped in and rescued Soleimani from the Israelis, who reportedly had a plan to eliminate him. That situation — which former members of the White House such as Ben Rhodes denies — led to this fascinating Twitter exchange between Bret Stephens of the New York Times (who tweeted the story from a Kuwaiti news source) and former Obama NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor, who ultimately nearly confirms the account by indicating that assassination of Soleimani would have been dangerous and was unnecessary because he was already sanctioned.
Which we know, thanks to the Iran Deal annex, wasn’t the case for at least a period of time, and may not have changed until Trump pulled the US out of the Iran Deal .
Gen. Soleimani is the commander of the Quds division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. He’s charged with exporting the Islamic Republic’s revolution to the rest of the Mideast and beyond. He has American blood on his hands. He is, then, America’s enemy.
Or is he? Gen. Joseph Dunford, Obama’s candidate to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last week that Soleimani is directly responsible for killing at least 500 US troops in Iraq. He’s also responsible for many deaths of others in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. That’s the nature of his business.
So America has made sure, since 2007, to name him on all lists of Iranians targeted for international sanctions.
No longer. According to the deal reached in Vienna Tuesday, Soleimani will be de-listed.
So Susan, Rice, with all due respect, please stop with the lies. We’ve moved on from the policies of your administration for a reason and the pitiful attempt at revisionist history is just sad at this point.