The United Kingdom should stand up to the United States over the execution of war criminal General Qassem Soleimani, prominent members of the UK left have said as they moved to condemn President Trump for the missile strike.
Soleimani, one of the most senior officers in the Iranian regime and the head of the nation’s elite Quds military force was killed Thursday night by a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad Airport, the Pentagon confirmed. While a Pentagon stated Soleimani was in the process of planning attacks against American citizens when he was killed, and had been responsible for previous murderous attacks, left-wing critics of President Trump raced to get out their statements opposing the move.
The condemnation was no less fervent across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom, where an ongoing leadership competition to replace Jeremy Corbyn as the head of the left-wing Labour Party apparently added extra urgency for would-be candidates to make their views known.
Taking to Twitter Friday morning, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn himself — who has long suffered from reputational issues stemming from his affinity with particular Middle Eastern extremists, not to mention his having taken money from the Iranians in return for television appearances — said the UK government should “stand up” to the United States.
The US assassination of Qasem Soleimani is an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict with global significance. The UK government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the US.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 3, 2020
Mr Corbyn said in 2011 that the death of Osama bin Laden during a U.S. special forces raid was a “tragedy”. The comments resurfaced in 2015 during the last Labour leadership competition but didn’t prevent Mr Corbyn from being elected party leader by members.
He is now in the process of standing down after his party and causes he supported lost the 2016 Brexit referendum, the 2017 general election, the 2019 European Parliament election, and the 2019 general election. His most recent electoral performance was the worst for the Labour party since the 1930s, when it was still a relatively new political force in the United Kingdom.
Presently leading the pack of would-be successors is Sir Keir Starmer, former director of public prosecutions and ultra-hard anti-Brexit campaigner. Clearly nailing his colours to the Iran Nuclear Deal mast, Starmer expressed his opinion that Iran needed to be negotiated with, writing Friday: “We need to engage, not isolate Iran.”
Starmer joined Corbyn in calling for the United Kingdom to stand against the United States, continuing: “The UK Government should hold him to account for his actions and stand up for international law, not tacitly condone the attack.”
Closely following Sir Keir in the race to replace is Jeremy Corbyn loyalist Rebecca Long-Bailey, who has been described as the continuity candidate of the hard-left within the party. She accused Trump of pushing the United Kingdom towards a “disastrous war”.