Dutch government ‘understands’ US assassination of Soleimani but wants further explanation

On the TV program Op1, Dutch Defense Minister, Bijleveld, says she understands why the US killed Soleimani and nodded to the awful atrocities Iran is responsible for, NOS reports. Nonetheless, the Netherlands, as a member of NATO, is focussed on de-escalation. 

“A real crook”

Bijleveld described Soleimani as “a real crook” and discussed his involvement in the war in Syria as commander of the Quds Force.

But she went on to acknowledge that the assassination of the leader created “a very fragile situation” and emphasised that NATO members are well aware of the potential retaliation from Iran.

Must focus on de-escalation

However, the minister said the Dutch government are focussed on de-escalation. Bijleveld referred to statements made by Stoltenberg, the secretary of NATO, who also stressed the drone strike was a decision made solely by the US and is not endorsed by NATO.

The Netherlands wants explanation from United States Government

Bijleveld believes the Netherlands and other countries should have been informed of the attack before it happened.

The Netherlands wants the United States to provide a “legal basis” for such a major decision. The US claim the attack on the Iranian general was “self-defense”.

In a letter sent to the House of Representatives, the cabinet says the Netherlands “will underline Iran’s negative influence on regional stability and point out the importance of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” during the upcoming meeting between EU foreign leaders scheduled for Friday.

The training mission of Dutch soldiers in Iraq has also been stopped due to tensions in the region.


Feature image: U.S. Secretary of Defense/ Flickr 

Freya Sawbridge
Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


  1. I think I agree with our government’s stance on this. Suleimani being at the airport with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of Iranian militias in Iraq which led attacks on US embassy is not a good thing.
    (not sure if that’s true. Wouldn’t be the first time the US would make up something like that)
    Though, as I understand it, Suleimani also had a travel ban from UN to leave Iran.

    Could be that he was there to tell Muhandis to stop the attack, but I doubt that though I guess we’ll never know.
    So capturing might have been the better option, though that really depends on the chance of succes. I obviously don’t have the intell that the president has.
    Really curious about the 5 options that were given to #45

    BUT I do not like how Trump is handling the affair. Threatening with war-crimes on twitter. Stuff like that is making hope he’ll be removed from office and replaced by either Pence, a Republican that beats him in the primary or a Democrat.

    I really hope a Republican/Independant manages to beat Trump in the primary. That would be very interesting. That would be interesting to see.


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