It is hard to judge which is most disturbing aspect of the murder of Qassem Soleimani by the American Government. Given that Johnson has been our Prime Minister for six months and claims to be well connected with Trump, the fact that he was unaware of the carefully planned murder is clearly a very serious issue. Whether this was because Trump would not have told anyone, irrespective of how close he was to them or if this is because of the lack of credible and genuine International concern expressed by Johnson over the last six months, in either case the prospect of our closer relationship with USA as we leave the EU is heavily concerning, particularly if Trump gets re-elected in November until early 2025 and if Johnson chooses to remain as Prime Minister until late 2024.
It is inconceivable that the plans for this murder were only determined over the last day or two whilst Johnson was on holiday, even though its actual process was probably determined at the last minute and indeed one would suspect that it was one of the possible plans in the US strategy when Trump came to the NATO summit in the early part of December. Indeed it may have been even earlier than that. It is certainly clear that Trump did not share the information with the other senior NATO members and if this now turns into a major conflict, just like the Iraq conflict did 17 years ago in early 2003, Trump is bound to call for NATO to play its part and it will be very difficult for a rather conflicted NATO to act in an effective manner with a British Prime Minister being uncertain of what to do and a deeply unreliable US President pressing all sorts of buttons when it suits him to do so.
On a domestic level, the knowledge of the attack should under normal terms (assuming Trump and Johnson worked together) have reached the leader of the Labour Party, and would have been understood by some of the senior Government Ministers before or just as it took place. This could have led to a shared understanding and planned response from both sides. However given that this was not the case, and given our own connections with Iran and the British Citizens who our Government is supposed to be getting out of Iranian prisons, it is very understandable that Corbyn’s view is shared by a wide range of people in our nation. For some Government Ministers to publicly criticise him, rather than simply to stay quiet given their ignorance is another very concerning matter, given that Corbyn is about to step down but that they have around 55 months ahead of them and a great deal to live up to, following their success last month. Of course this is made much more challenging by the fact that Johnson is staying quiet and staying away.
A final issue is that just as we are about to leave the EU if the claims by Johnson make any sense, the fact that we have limited connections with the rest of the European Governments from the end of this month makes our prospect of coming up with a shared European approach (or a Western approach less the USA) much more difficult.