Soleimani zeigte sich gelegentlich nicht in Uniform. Hier in Teheran in einer Garde-Jacke ohne Gradabzeichen.
Es folgt der ausführliche Yahoo-Report zu den Hintergründen des Soleimani-Attentats vom 3. Januar 2021 im Original. Yahoo merkt an, die Lektüre erfordere 23 Minuten. Für alle, die an geheimdienstlicher Arbeit und Kooperation interessiert sind, lohnt sich, den informativen Text zu lesen. Ebenso für Spezialkräfte-Experten.
8. Januar 2020: Generalstabschef Milley nach dem Briefing im Kongress.
Inside the Trump administration’s secret plan to kill Qassem Soleimani
Jack Murphy and Zach Dorfman
·23 min read
Three teams of Delta Force operators peered through their scopes from concealed locations at Baghdad International Airport last January, waiting for their target: Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander. Disguised as maintenance workers, the operators had secreted into position in old buildings or vehicles on the side of the road.
It was a cool, overcast night and the southeast side of the airport had been shut down on short notice for a military training exercise — or so the Iraqi government was told. The three sniper teams positioned themselves 600 to 900 yards away from the “kill zone,” the access road from the airfield, setting up to triangulate their target as he left the airport. One of the snipers had a spotting scope with a camera attached that livestreamed back to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where the Delta Ground Force commander was based with support staff.
Long-range marksmanship involves contesting with a variety of environmental factors, including wind, but the Delta teams didn’t rely on guesswork. A member of the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG), an elite Kurdish unit in northern Iraq with deep links to U.S. Special Operations, helped them make the wind call from down range.
The flight from Damascus, Syria, finally landed after midnight on Jan. 3, 2020, several hours behind schedule. Three U.S. drones orbited overhead. As the plane taxied off the runway, toward the closed-off portion of the airfield, one of the Kurdish operatives disguised as ground crew guided the aircraft to a halt on the tarmac. When the target stepped off the airplane, Kurdish CTG operators posing as baggage handlers were also present to positively identify him.
Soleimani had just arrived at Baghdad International. The Iranian general and his entourage loaded into two vehicles and drove toward the kill zone, where the Delta Force snipers lay in wait.
The two vehicles, one containing Soleimani, pulled out into the street to leave the airport. The three Delta Force sniper teams were ready, safeties rotated off on their long guns, fingers resting gently on their triggers. Above them, the three drones glided through the night sky, two of them armed with hellfire missiles.
In the six hours before Soleimani boarded his flight from Damascus, the Iranian general switched cellphones three times, according to a U.S. military official. In Tel Aviv, U.S. Joint Special Operations Command liaisons worked with their Israeli counterparts to help track Soleimani’s cellphone patterns. The Israelis, who had access to Soleimani’s numbers, passed them off to the Americans, who traced Soleimani and his current phone to Baghdad. (The Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to a request for comment.)
Members of the secretive Army unit known as Task Force Orange were also on the ground in Baghdad that night, said the military official, providing “knob turners” — close-range signals intelligence experts — to help home in on Soleimani’s electronics for the tactical portion of the operation.
As the two vehicles moved into the kill zone, drone operators fired on the motorcade. Two hellfire missiles crashed down on Soleimani’s vehicle, obliterating it in the street. The driver of the second vehicle stepped on the gas to escape. The driver made it about 100 yards before slamming on the brakes when a Delta Force sniper engaged, firing on the vehicle. Just as the vehicle ground to a halt, a third hellfire missile struck, blasting it apart.
It’s now been over a year since the Jan. 3 killing of Soleimani, who was widely considered second only to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself in the Iranian government hierarchy, and the consequences of that strike are still unfolding. Yet many of the details behind the events leading up to his killing are shrouded in secrecy.
This article, based on interviews with 15 current and former U.S. officials, reveals new details about the Soleimani strike and the Trump administration’s long-running deliberations about killing the Iranian general and other top Iranian officials and proxies. It depicts an operation that was more sophisticated, and with a broader list of people potentially targeted for killing, than was previously known. And it describes previously unreported threats to U.S. officials in the aftermath of the strike.
For better or worse, the Soleimani killing was one of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of the Trump administration, with effects that will reverberate for years to come and likely shape the strategic environment President Biden now faces in the region. In audio that leaked in April, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said the Soleimani strike was more damaging to Iran than if the U.S. had destroyed an entire Iranian city. And according to a former senior CIA official who was in favor of the killing, it was “as dramatic a reshaping of the Middle East as we’ve seen in 50 years, and it happened in a matter of hours. It was a game changer.”