Ex-Ambassador Nikki Haley: Attack on Soleimani 'Was a Long Time Coming'

By Susan Jones | January 7, 2020 | 7:44am EST
Nikki Haley formerly served as President Trump's ambassador to the United Nations. (Photo via EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images)
Nikki Haley formerly served as President Trump's ambassador to the United Nations. (Photo via EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Two years ago, on Sept. 20, 2018, then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned the world that every conflict in the Middle East had Iran's "fingerprints" on it.

In her speech to the U.N. Security Council, Haley specifically mentioned General Qassem Soleimani, the terrorist head of the Iran's Quds Force, saying he was leading the effort "to build an Iraqi government that is under the control of the Iranian regime."

Last night, Haley told Fox News's Sean Hannity that President Trump's decision to take out Soleimani "left the Iranian regime completely flat-footed."

They did not see this coming. They thought they could continue to do their multiple strikes. But when it got to the lives of Americans, the president is never going to allow that to happen. It happened with a contractor. When they started to threaten our diplomats at the embassy, our military personnel, the president put a stop to it.

You could see the ayatollah crying today because that was his number one strategist. That was the number one guy that has literally told all of the proxies in all of these countries who to kill, when to kill, how to kill. And that guy is now gone. Iran is having to regroup and figure out, now what?

So, make no mistake, they're shaking in their boots. They're trying to figure this out. And I think the president showed great decisiveness, great resolve. And I think that this was a long time coming. If you look back 2 years ago, I gave a speech at the U.N. on Soleimani and talked about the threats. The president has had restraint all of this time since we gave that speech.

And I'll tell you, we said then he was not -- by the entire Security Council, he was banned from leaving Iran. What he was doing in Iraq anyway? Trying to move in.

Haley noted that few countries, including Russia, China and those in the Gulf, are standing up for Iran.

"The only ones that are mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democratic leadership and our Democratic presidential candidates. No one else in the world, because they knew that this man had evil veins. They knew what he was capable of, and they saw the destruction and the lives lost based from his hands."

Haley said the missile attack on Soleimani "was something that needed to be done and should be celebrated."

"And I'll tell you right now, partisan politics should stop when it comes to foreign policy. This is about America united. We need to be completely behind the president. What he did, because every one of those countries are watching our news media right now, seeing what everyone's saying. And this is a moment of strength for the United States. It's a moment of strength for President Trump.

In her September 20, 2018 speech to the Security Council, Haley said that Iran has "trampled on the sovereignty of its neighbors," especially Iraq: "In the case of Iraq, their goal is to exploit uncertainty in order to create an Iranian controlled corridor for weapons and fighters from Tehran to the Mediterranean," she said.

Haley gave examples of Iranian aggression, including the reported transfer of ballistic missiles to Iranian proxies inside Iraq.

"This Iranian interference in the sovereignty of Iraq should be of great interest to the Security Council for many reasons, not least of which is because it occurs in clear defiance of Security Council resolutions," Haley said.

Then she turned to Soleimani:

Iranian General and head of the IRGC Quds Force Soleimani is leading an effort to influence the composition of a new Iraqi government. I remind my colleagues that Soleimani was banned from traveling outside of Iran by the Security Council in 2007. That ban was reaffirmed in 2015 with the passage of Security Council Resolution 2231.

Despite this unambiguous travel ban, Soleimani has practically taken up residence in Iraq since the May elections. This fact was noted by the Secretary-General in the most recent 2231 Implementation Report. And let’s be clear about what Soleimani is up to in Iraq. He is not there to help create a government in Baghdad that is responsive to the Iraqi people. He is there to build an Iraqi government that is under the control of the Iranian regime.

Iran treats Iraq as if it was not an independent nation. Iran sees Iraq as merely a transit point for Iranian weapons and a training ground for Iranian proxies. Iran seeks to keep Iraq economically weak and dependent on its exports – even though Iraq has plenty of its own resources. Why? Because Iran wants to use a weak Iraq to illicitly fund its terrorist activities.

There is one more recent Iranian escalation that bears special consequence to Americans. Two weeks ago, two Iranian proxy groups launched rocket attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Basra. Using proxy forces in Iraq does not give the Iranian regime plausible deniability when attacks like this occur. The Trump Administration does not, and will not, buy that.

Iran could have stopped its proxies’ attacks. It chose not to, so the White House responded by putting Tehran firmly on notice. We hold the Iranian regime fully accountable for its proxies’ attacks on U.S. facilities and personnel in Iraq. And we will not hesitate to vigorously defend American lives.

Haley concluded her 2018 speech by saying the United States is committed to working with Iraq to help it create an inclusive and independent government.

"Not only is Iranian interference preventing forward progress for the Iraqi people, it is pulling them backward to the conflict and division they are striving to put behind them. This is the very same conflict and division that Iran promotes in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and across the Middle East.

"All members of the Security Council who respect the principle of national sovereignty should be concerned. And all who respect the right to self-determination for the Iraqi people should come to their defense," she said.


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