The collaboration of British spy agencies with American and Israeli operatives to assassinate top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani is a “near certainty,” says an American political analyst and foreign affairs journalist.
Patrick Lawrence, a writer and columnist in Norfolk, Connecticut, made the remark in an interview with Press TV on Thursday, commenting on a new research that revealed a secretive UK intelligence base was likely involved in the US military’s drone strike that killed General Soleimani in early 2020.
According to the research reported by the British daily The Guardian, it “was probable” that the assassination of General Soleimani — who headed the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) — had been planned using information obtained from the Menwith Hill intelligence base, run by the UK Royal Air Force, in Yorkshire.
“I think the collaboration of British intelligence in the unlawful murder of Lt.-Gen. Soleimani is more than probable—it is a near certainty, based on what we know,” Lawrence told Press TV.
“In recent years it has become increasingly evident that British and American intelligence agencies are barely distinguishable from one another, so closely have they worked together,” he added.
“There are many examples: The concocted 'Russiagate' case, the fake assassination attempt on the Skripals, the phony 'White Helmets' brigade in Syria, and so on. In the Soleimani case, it was almost certainly UK and US cooperation in the planning and execution of the crime.”
Lawrence also said it comes as no surprise to learn of Israel’s collaboration in the assassination when Tamir Hayman, the head of the Israel’s military intelligence department, recently acknowledged that the information provided by the regime to the United States had led to the assassination of the top Iranian commander.
“We cannot be surprised to learn of Israel’s collaboration in the Soleimani assassination any more than we can to learn of Britain’s. Israeli and American intelligence work together hand-in-glove. We all know this,” he said.
“Mossad or a related Israeli agency has carried out numerous crimes against the Islamic Republic. We know this, too. It is entirely in keeping with the record to learn the Israel’s military intelligence had a part in the planning of the Soleimani crime,” Lawrence added.
Asked to explain as to why the US, Israel and the UK decided to assassinate General Soleimani despite his efforts to eradicate Daesh, Lawrence suggested two reasons among many.
“There are many reasons the US, Britain, and Israel would plan and execute Gen. Soleimani’s murder. I will suggest two. To begin with, the General’s efforts to eradicate Daesh were quite undesirable to the three powers in question, given we have it on the record—I repeat, on the record—that all three have supported Daesh in its campaign against the Damascus government even while pretending to oppose Daesh,” the American political analyst said.
“Second, my understanding has been that General Soleimani was playing an important role in efforts to negotiate a settlement between Tehran and Damascus as part of a larger effort, often mentioned by former [Iranian] FM [Mohammad Javad] Zarif, to develop a regional security mechanism that is not dependent on and will not include the Western powers.
“I also understand that the general was in Baghdad at the time precisely to participate in a round of talks on this question, with the participation of the Baghdad government. Such a settlement would be squarely against the Western strategy in the Middle East, which favors Sunni-Shi’a tensions and specifically Saudi animosities toward the Islamic Republic.”
On January 3, 2020, the US military conducted an air operation under former US president Donald Trump’s order to assassinate General Soleimani at Baghdad airport after his arrival in Iraq. The attack also killed the general’s companions, including Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
As part of its retaliation, Iran launched a volley of ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and another airbase in Erbil on January 8, 2020, as a result of which 110 US troops were diagnosed with “traumatic brain injuries”.
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said the US cannot escape the consequences of the terrorist act, and that the operators and directors must be punished and brought to justice for their action.
Iran has identified and vowed to legally pursue 36 individuals, with Trump at the top of the list, for the assassination of Gen. Soleimani and his companions.