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[flagged] Iran general Qassem Suleimani killed in Baghdad drone strike (theguardian.com)
78 points by dmagee 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments



Some context here:

This guy was directly responsible for hundreds (maybe over 1,000) U.S. Soldiers killed in Iraq by shaped charge IEDs manufactured by Iran and its Iraqi proxies. He also orchestrated clandestine raids and kidnappings, like the one that happened in Karbala in 2007. [0]

He was also responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of civilians in Iraq and Syria at the hands of Shia death squads and Shia militias/paramilitary forces. These are people who kidnapped innocent Sunni civilians off the streets and drilled holes through their skulls to kill them. (Sorry for the graphic description there, but this was ugly war)

He was in charge of the Quds Force, which is like the American CIA and Special Forces Command combined. But, he’s far more important than his Major General (2-star) rank implies. He’s probably the second-most powerful person in Iran. Equivalent in strength to a Vice President, but much more behind the scenes. This is huge. Imagine if David Petraeus secretly ran everything that the US did externally and then some nation killed him.

More context here: https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1212913366492016640

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karbala_provincial_headquarter...


Unpopular opinion: I'm pretty sure the US bears some responsibility for putting thousands of US soldiers in Iraq, not to mention initiating the entire quagmire by overthrowing Saddam without any plan for what to do next.


Agreed. Iraq should not have been invaded.


It’s hard to imagine what the response is going to be. I don’t think a lot of people realize who this guy was or what this represents. (A lot of people are probably confused about what an Iranian general is doing in Iraq in the first place.)

I can only hope for the best outcome being something like Iraq asking us to leave, and then largely falling into the fold of Iran. And hopefully that not being opposed by the US (unlikely) and it being all the victory Iran needs. Maybe something like that.

The alternative at a minimum is going to be many more lives lost and billions spent. At the other end of the spectrum tens of thousands of US lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian lives, and trillions more in US dollars thrown on the fire.


Why would the best outcome be the specific thing this action was made to prevent - the overtaking of Iraq by Iran?


I don't think that's the specific outcome this action was intended to prevent. I think it was intended to prevent this guy from orchestrating any more killing of Americans. I think it was triggered by this guy's people killing an American contractor last week.


Iran & Iraq united is probably the worst outcome possible, as it will ensure our continued involvement to protect shipping throughout the persian gulf.


why should we GAF about shipping in the persian gulf. Cut our losses, and get the hell out of dodge. Let the rest of the world worry about it. I think Trump wants a war -- to help his campaign and 'legacy' such as it is. So we'll probably get a war.


No, Trump doesn’t want war.

Nobody actually wants war.

Go study up on the tanker wars and what Iran has done to the world economy in the past.

We’ve been in the gulf for decades, doing what our Navy does best - keeping peace.


>(A lot of people are probably confused about what an Iranian general is doing in Iraq in the first place.)

Looting Iraq?


> A lot of people are probably confused about what an Iranian general is doing in Iraq in the first place.

Coordinating with the local PMF forces [0] which just a bit earlier the US hit [1] in retaliation for the killed US contractor.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_Mobilization_Forces

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50951742


> I can only hope for the best outcome being something like Iraq asking us to leave

You think the US would leave Iraq to Iran ?

Iraq is essentially a buffer for SA / Israel


Fair enough but this guy wasn’t a unaffiliated civilian waging a secret war. He wasn’t a terrorist. He was a General in Iran’s military acting upon their nation policy.

Once he’s dead he’ll simply be replaced with the next general in line, and the war will continue.

My context is that this is no secret from the countries leadership, just merely not official acknowledged like CIA actions.


The IRGC is separate to the Iranian military.

He didn’t act based on his nations policy he set it.

The primary mandate of the Commander of the Quds Force is to export the Iranian revolution.

He isn’t a military general in any traditional manner, he sets up and commands militias around the Middle East.


> The IRGC is separate to the Iranian military.

It's not separate, it's an official branch of the Iranian Armed Forces [0]. You are similarly off-beat with pretty much all of your other statements.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Revolutionary_Guard_Co...


I am not and you shouldn't rely on Wikipedia.

The IRGC is completely separate from the Iranian Military.

It is not bound to by the Iranian constitution, it is not bound to protect Iran but rather to protect the Islamic Republic, which is a completely separate entity.

The IRGC do not swear to protect the people of Iran but rather the ayatollahs.

They also do not share the same command structure exactly, the Iranian Army chief of staff is Abdolrahim Mousavi not Khamenei.

The Quds Force is also unique within the IRGC they do not report through the IRGC chain of command, hence Hossein Salami has no authority over Quds, but rather they report directly to Khamenei.


> I am not and you shouldn't rely on Wikipedia.

I'm relying on publicly available information, if you have better information it would be common courtesy to share it, instead of merely proclaiming Wikipedia is wrong.

> The IRGC do not swear to protect the people of Iran but rather the ayatollahs.

According to that logic, not even Iranian law enforcement is there to protect the people, because that's also structured under the Military Office of the Supreme leader.

> The Quds Force is also unique within the IRGC they do not report through the IRGC chain of command, hence Hossein Salami has no authority over Quds, but rather they report directly to Khamenei.

On what do you base this interpretation? It's completely contrary to the structure of the Iranian armed forces described on Wikipedia [0].

Not to mention that you in your original comment, you called him the Commander of the Quds Force, and now you say he has no authority over them.

If you have a better source then share it, but just declaring "You shouldn't rely on Wikipedia", while offering nothing except your own words, is not exactly constructive to the discussion.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_Forces_of_the_Islamic_Re...


Why would he be in Baghdad after the recent events ?

Do you think the next general in line shows up at Baghdad international too?


Why are both the Guardian and NBC articles flagged? Is anyone actually questioning the content of those articles? It looks like both Iranian and US officials confirm them.


There are quite a few HN readers who consider any political news off-topic.


It's politics. More, it's the kind of politics that's likely to generate a discussion that's a nationalistic flame war. (Reading the comments so far, the discussion here looks pretty good. This type of news often turns into a lousy discussion, though.)


From the guidelines: "If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic."


I feel very conflicted about this. This man has an insane amount of blood on his hands but I cannot help but feel anxious about what happens next. Iran's paramilitary forces have entanglements in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen... this seems to be the type of thing that could spiral into a regional conflict if cooler heads do not prevail.


There is something philosophically unsettling about drone strikes. Violence, particularly mortal violence is naturally self-policing in nature. In order to kill something you must be there and risk injury yourself. Technology based distance attacks like drones and missiles remove this doubley: you not only de-risk your person, you are also more emotionally distanced from the attack as well.

It is not a trend that bodes well for humanity in the future.


OTOH, in this instance it's at least elites killing each other directly with their toys, and not peasants killing each other for a bunch of megalomaniacs and war spoils.

This was a real decaptitation strike. US killed a major mastermind, organizer, and an icon to some. It's akin to killing Al-Baghdadi or Hannibal at the peak of their successes. It will be interesting to see how that will end up working out.


With drones and the right technology you could literally assassinate virtually ANYBODY in the world covertly without any trace tying it back to you. Esp w/ smaller and smaller drones.

Imagine a drone the size of a fly landing on a President or someone high up in a country and 'stinging' them with a poison then flying back home? Even if it was caught/destroyed it wouldn't always be traceable if using vpn's and pre-programmed flight patterns and ai.

There's been nothing like this ever. It's scary and kind of fascinating in a JAmes Bond kind of way, but still mostly scary. If the tech is ever open sourced or democratized it could be used to attack anyone you don't agree with or who's wronged you, etc... basically a super tiny hitman that isn't as stupid/error prone as a real hitman.


Artillery. Bombers. Naval torpedoes. And worst of all, land mines. We've had this problem for a long time. If anything, drones have the problem less than land mines do.


its interesting in that, you can happily hurl big rocks at people in castles via catapults while being unable to see what /who you're hitting and be perfectly safe, yet you might not (I know i dont) have an issue with it like you (and I) do with drones...

its basically the same thing. just an upscale in range, and really safe distance is safe distance... doesn't really change the situation when you add more 00's to the distance.


Iran is not sieging our castle, that is the key difference. We are the aggressor, even if the acts of the other side are morally repulsive


In his example, we are the aggressor too as we have the catapult and they have the castle.



Saudi Arabia is a US client kingdom, their proxy war would not be happening if Iran was still a US subject.


They were sieging our embassy...


Many people are getting the time-line of events completely wrong.

The embassy protests (call it riots if you like) were a response to the US killing at least 25 of them [0], which was a response to them supposedly being responsible for the death of US contractor [1].

There were no casualties during the embassy protests, yet the consequence of that was the US killing QS, and other PMU leadership, near Baghdad airport.

Now some people are peddling stories about how those two were supposedly not connected at all, and the US allegedly had intelligence how QS was planning to attack US Americans all over the world, which comes across as a bit of FUD to distract from the reality that the US just assassinated the general of another nation.

[0] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50951742

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/27/politics/iraq-rocket-atta...


In basically their territory. Why do we need a presence or embassy there? Why waste the money? Does Canada have an embassy in every nation? Does France? What about Sweden and Denmark?

If we absolutely need a presence why not have coalition embassies? A single office w/ 1 member from each coalition country, and equal soldiers from all countries and diplomatically making unilateral decisions as a group not based on any country's agenda.


its interesting in that, you can happily guide drones to kill people at great distances while being unable to see what /who you're hitting and be perfectly safe, yet you might not (I know i dont) have an issue with it like you (and I) do with triggering self-replicating nanobots anonymously through the internet to target victims based on a secret set of metadata ruled by a secret set of laws...

its basically the same thing. just an upscale in precision, and really safe distance is safe distance... doesn't really change the situation when you add more dangerous technology to the mix.


heh, you make my point forward looking.

I think I agree.


Point taken, though i would argue that somewhat-blindly hurling rocks at walls is materially different from intentionally ending a specific life from across the world.


Collateral Murder was disturbing in the enthusiasm by the soldiers for what is a grainy video. I wonder if WWII bombardiers when looking down and seeing miniature sized vehicles and buildings were as enthusiastic as well.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/July_12,_2007_Baghdad_airstri...

Amusingly, the video starts with Wikileaks decrypted the video, but all drone feeds are unencrypted.


It’s not a drone feed it’s form the gun sight camera of an Apache attack helicopter.

Drone traffic is now predominantly encrypted it’s not the early 2000’s anymore when you could tune into drone feeds with a satellite dish and $30 worth of software.


The aircraft flies like a plane, not a helicopter. Helicopters have very small turning radii.

I think it is from a drone.


You seem to not understand that the gunsight is gimbaled and can rotate and zoom independently of the helicopter flight path.

Also the turn radius of a helicopter is what ever the pilot wants it too be.

For CAS you wouldn’t turn on a dime you’ll take slow wide turns to allow the gunner to maintain their engagement and for you to have better situational awareness you aren’t evading incoming fire here.

This isn’t a drone you do get such angels form fixed wing drone footage, not to mention that drones don’t come with auto cannons...


Yeah, it must've been at a pretty high altitude far away.

Too bad the pilot was flying past a building, blocking view of the civilians carrying indistinct objects. Maybe the pilot didn't know what he was doing. I suppose I will be downvoted for my views, but I abhor dishonesty.


The video is heavily edited, it was cut and over 20 min were removed by WikiLeaks that showcase the entire engagement.

There was an inquiry into this, yeah mistakes were made and quite a few lessons had to be learned but this wasn’t a joy ride.


I don't want you making decisions with ambiguous information over life or death situations.


The first sentence of the wiki page mentions that they were in two AH-64 Apache Helicopters.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12,_2007,_Baghdad_airstri...


[flagged]


But what will it look like tomorrow?




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