McConnell Speaks on the Death of Terrorist Leader Qassem Soleimani

'The architect and chief engineer for the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism has been removed from the battlefield at the hand of the United States military.'

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding world events:

'This morning, Iran's master terrorist is dead.

'The architect and chief engineer for the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism has been removed from the battlefield at the hand of the United States military.

'No man alive was more directly responsible for the deaths of more American servicemembers than Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Quds Force within Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

'Soleimani's schemes and his agents killed hundreds of American servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He personally oversaw the state-sponsored terrorism that Iran used to kill our sons and daughters.

'And as we've seen in recent days and weeks, he and his terrorists posed an ongoing and growing threat to American lives and American interests. 

'Soleimani made it his life's work to take the Iranian revolutionary call for "death to America" and "death to Israel" and turn them into action.

'But this terrorist mastermind was not just a threat to the United States and Israel. For more than a decade he masterminded Iran's malevolent and destabilizing work throughout the entire Middle East. He created, sustained, and directed terrorist proxies everywhere from Yemen to Iraq to Syria to Lebanon.

'Innocents were killed. These sovereign countries were destabilized.

'In Syria, this leading terrorist and his agents acted as strategists, enablers, and accomplices to Bashar al-Assad's brutal repression and slaughter of the Syrian people.

'In Iraq, his violence expanded Iran's influence at the expense of Iraqis themselves. His dark, sectarian vision disenfranchised countless Sunni Arabs and paved the way for the rise of ISIS. 

'And with ISIS largely defeated, Soleimani and his agents again turned their sights on controlling the Iraqi people, who through massive protests are rejecting not only a corrupt government but also Iran's influence over it. And once again, there were Iran and its proxies, facilitating violence against these peaceful protesters.

'For too long, this evil man operated without constraint, and countless innocents have suffered for it. Now his terrorist leadership has been ended.

'Now — predictably enough, in this political environment — the operation that led to Soleimani's death may prove controversial or divisive.

'Although I anticipate and welcome a debate about America's interests and foreign policy in the Middle East, I recommend that all senators wait to review the facts and hear from the administration before passing much public judgment on this operation and its potential consequences.

'The administration will be briefing staff today on the situation in Iraq. We are working to arrange a classified briefing for all senators early next week.

'For my part, I have spoken to the Secretary of Defense and I am encouraged by the steps the U.S. military is taking to defend American personnel and interests from a growing Iranian threat.

I know I speak for the entire Senate when I say that my prayers are with all American diplomats, personnel, and brave servicemembers serving in Iraq and the Middle East.

'I am grateful for their courageous service to protect our nation.

'Right from the outset of this new year, it is already clear that 2020 will require the Senate and our whole nation to redouble our resolve to keep America safe in this troubled world.'



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