On the killing of General Soleimani – Frank Ofili231 views
A lot has happened since Trump ordered the killing of Iranian strong man General Qasem Soleimani. Opinion is divided even among the US political establishment. Republican lawmakers support the killing, while Democrats are lukewarm, claiming they were kept in the dark about the killing. They are looking at possible illegality committed by Trump in not seeking Congress approval prior to the order to kill.
Let us put American politics aside for now. Back home in Nigeria, some have declared that Trump did not need to get Congress nod before ordering the killing of a man considered to be an enemy of America. Some say no Congress approval is needed for a covert operation.
I’m amused by these arguments. Why? Because these are the same guys who condemned Buhari and the DSS for a sting operation on some allegedly corrupt judges in 2018. These guys obviously do not know the relationship between a sting and a covert operation. Or they deliberately choose to ignore it.
Whether COVERT or STING operation, both are the same thing with similar modus operandi in sofar as both are SECRET missions.
The second reason I’m amused is because the US is not YET in an openly and officially declared war with Iran despite the beligrance and bellicosity towards each other. And so openly approving the killing of a top government official of a sovereign country with whom you are not yet in a shooting war with, is not only tendentious but also paints an ominous picture.
My understanding is that a covert action is no more covert if it has the open and tacit approval of the President as did the killing of General Soleimani.
Covert actions are secret operations surreptitiously endorsed, but not necessarily openly approved by the President. The withholding of the tacit approval of the President in a covert operation is for purposes of plausible deniability in case of failure. In which case, the government can validly claim ignorance, or deny responsibility.
The killing of General Suleimani, in my view, is an overt action fit to be exercised in time of war. The mistake official US made is coming out openly to claim responsibility. That gives the killing a different texture.
And that is why it is generating global interest and concern because General Soleiman was not a leader of a faceless stateless organisation like Osama Bin Laden of Al Qaeeda. He was the second in command of a sovereign country. Even though his country (Iran) has cold relation with the US, they are at least not yet in an officially declared war. There is international law guiding the use of force between sovereign states. Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamonein has vowed there would be “harsh revenge” for the US killing of General Soleimani.
Another worrisome angle is that Soleimani was killed on foreign soil – Iraq. The same Iraq that the same America had been accused of invading and killing it’s leader (Saddam Hussein) without sufficient justification.
Iraq can validly claim violation of its sovereign territory. Sensing danger, the US has asked its citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately. It is clear Soleimani’s killing has re-ignited tension not only in the middle east, but also around the world. But we wait to see how all these play out.