Posted 76 days ago
The January U. S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Monday.
The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani's convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U. N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The attack violated the U. N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.
'The world is at a critical time, and possible tipping point, when it comes to the use of drones. ... The Security Council is missing in action; the international community, willingly or not, stands largely silent,' Callamard, an independent investigator, told Reuters.
Callamard is due on Thursday to present her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.
Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran's campaign to drive U. S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran's network of proxy armies across the Middle East.
The Quds Force is known for supplying weapons and training to groups and insurgents in Iraq, including Kataib Hezbollah.
The 62-year-old was considered the mastermind behind Iran's fight for regional dominance and one of the most ruthless commanders in the area, who worked in the shadows for years, until emerging in the spotlight following the Arab Spring and the war with the Islamic State.
Washington had accused Soleimani of being behind attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U. S. forces in the region.
On December 31, 2019, when the US embassy in Baghdad was attacked by pro-Iran protesters, a top secret memo started to circulate among US defense officials signed by Robert C. O'Brien, Trump's national security adviser, listing out potential targets.
That memo's most provocative response option was to target specific Iranian officials for death by ... (Read more)