Qassem Soleimani’s Killing Puts the Middle East on Edge
If there is a silver lining, it is that Washington and Teheran have moved away from the brink of war and have opted to take the de-escalation off-ramps they offered each other since Soleimani’s killing.
The assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani on January 3 by an American drone strike was impulsive and ill-advised. Soleimani has blood on his hands, but targeting a senior official of another country, on President Trump’s order, has created many dangerous downsides and no upsides, none of which serves American interests.
One is tempted to ask what was the main objective of killing Soleimani and why would President Trump and his most hawkish Secretary of State Mike Pompeo go after the second most powerful man in Iran. Was this operation part of Trump and Pompeo’s plan to decapitate the theocratic system regime slowly but surely without calling it “regime change”? Or was killing the head of the Quds Force the first of many steps aiming at dismantling the Islamic Revolution and emasculating Iran as a regional power?
Media reports indicate that President Trump alerted the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a short while before Soleimani was killed. Were the Saudis given an advance notice as well? Removing Soleimani from the scene was much more than killing just another “terrorist” leader like Osama Bin Laden or ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Did the president, Secretary of State Pompeo, and their Israeli and Saudi supporters believe that Soleimani’s death would force Iran to cry uncle? Iran has not fallen apart, and the Iranian people have coalesced around the regime. The recent demonstrations decrying the regime’s initial refusal to take responsibility for unintentionally shooting down a Ukrainian civilian airliner are not driven by Soleimani’s death.
It’s clear by now that the clerical regime is still standing, the Quds Force is still in business, and the state of Iran remains a key player in the Gulf. The assassination has accrued no apparent positive consequences for the Trump administration, the Saudis, or the Israelis, other than eliminating a key player who was definitely a thorn in their side. On the contrary, more and more leaders in Congress are beginning to question the logic of Trump’s action. Several senior administration officials are backtracking on the president’s claim that Soleimani was planning to attack four American embassies and therefore he had to be taken out before such an attack occurred.
European and other countries have expressed concern that the action would lead to more chaos and instability across the region. Despite recent developments of triggering the dispute mechanism within the Iran nuclear deal, the Europeans also have shunned President Trump’s request to outright abandon it. EU countries have called on Washington and Teheran to de-escalate the tensions between them.
The President’s decision has begotten several negative unintended consequences for the United States and for the Middle East. Iran has freed itself from the limits imposed in the nuclear deal on uranium enrichment and seems to be moving away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. Iraq is on the verge of formally asking Washington to pull American troops out of the country. Although it is doubtful whether the administration would oblige the Iraqi request, Trump has threatened severe measures against Iraq should the troops be kicked out. Regardless of the outcome, relations between Baghdad and Washington seem to have cooled off considerably. Instability and sectarian and ethnic conflicts in Iraq are not good for either country.
The ensuing tensions could see a resurgence of terrorism, including ISIS and al-Qaida and their affiliated groups, which would result in rising threats to American military and civilian personnel in the region. Furthermore, the president’s decision has led to growing nervousness among American Sunni Arab allies in the Gulf and deepened their fear that the method and justification of Soleimani’s killing might set a precedent for similar actions in the future by other state actors. Senior leaders in other countries in the region could face a similar violent demise. The fact that assassinating a senior security official of another country by a state actor has not been undertaken in almost a century doesn’t mean that it won’t be repeated against another disliked high-level “terrorist” official.
The recent death of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the appointment of Haitham bin Tareq al Said as the country’s new leader is bound to increase uncertainty in the region, especially considering the negotiating role that Oman has played between the United States and Iran and between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Some in Israel’s right-wing government are equally concerned about the fall-out from Soleimani’s death on the long-term relations between Israel and Hezbollah and the stability and security of Israel’s northern border. Lastly, if Russian President Vladimir Putin was not in agreement with killing the Iranian general, he will certainly use the rising anti-American attitudes in the region to Russia’s favor. Putin is a master at fishing in murky waters.
As the architect of Iran’s hegemonic power across the region and the driver of Iran’s strategic relations with several Sunni and Shia proxy groups, Soleimani was a nemesis of the United States. His assassination, however, will not eliminate the perceived threat from Iran or its allies or advance American interests and security in the region. Nor will it cow Iran into submission.
The recent history of targeted killing has shown that eliminating a senior state or non-state leader, no matter how vile, will not neutralize the threat from the group that the assassinated leader associated with. Since the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the removal of al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Bin Laden, and al-Baghdadi from the scene did not end the threat from the terror organizations they led. On the contrary, these groups have metastasized and spread across the globe.
Similarly, killing Soleimani will not defang the Quds Force or reduce its influence in Iran and throughout the region. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already appointed Esmail Qaani, Soleimani’s deputy, as the new head of the Quds Force. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force will continue to manage a huge array of business enterprises in Iran and internationally. As a result of taking out Soleimani, American adversaries, including Sunni and Shiite pro-Iranian proxy groups, and other terrorist organizations will view American military, security, and diplomatic personnel across the region as legitimate targets.
Although Trump’s decision did not seem to reflect lengthy deliberations or consensus within the administration, Iran’s expected response by comparison will not be impetuous. It will reflect planning, patience, and cold calculations of the possible consequences.
Soleimani’s killing is not a game changer, as the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Epser has claimed. The real game changer in U.S.-Iranian relations was the president’s decision to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimpose severe sanctions against Iran.
A History of Conflict and Cooperation
If news reports about the CIA director’s involvement in the decision-making process before Soleimani’s assassination are accurate, Iranians will quickly see his killing as another American plot in the U.S.-Iranian conflict that dates back to the 1953 coup that toppled the duly elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Twenty-five years after the fall of Mosaddegh and the reinstalling of the Shah to the throne, Iranians rose up against the Shah and his American benefactors in a game changing revolution that toppled the Shah and established a theocratic Islamic regime in Iran.
The new revolutionaries’ animus toward the United States was demonstrated in the hostage crisis when 52 diplomats were held hostage for 444 days. The hostages were released following President Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, but Washington continued to harbor serious concerns against the new regime in Teheran. American enmity toward Iran continued throughout the 1980s when the United States supported Saddam Hussein’s eight-year war against Iran. The bloody war, which killed almost a million Iranians and Iraqis, resulted in Iran’s defeat, thanks to Washington’s military support.
Despite the recurring conflict, neither country has resorted to open warfare. Both countries have cooperated in the fight against terrorism after 9/11 and in stabilizing Iraq after the invasion in 2003. Cooperation between the two countries lasted through the end of the Obama administration and culminated in signing the nuclear deal in 2015. As Iran began to pursue a nuclear capability, which could have triggered an ominous nuclear proliferation in the region, the United States and Iran started secret negotiations through the good offices of Oman to put in place a stiff inspection regime to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Of course, President Trump scuttled the agreement in 2018.
Iran helped curb the spread of radical Sunni Wahhabi-Salafi ideology from Saudi Arabia across parts of the Muslim world, from West Africa to Central Asia. Driven by its own regional political calculations, Iran also helped fight the so-called Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria. However, it supported the dictatorial regime in Syria and helped blunt all opposition to the Assad rule in that war-torn country.
Iran and the United States have pursued their regional military, political, and economic interests through their allies. Washington has relied on its friendly Arab dictators in Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, to further its interests. Similarly, Teheran has relied on its proxies, non-state actors, and friendly regimes in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. The two states have operated at cross purposes but neither has opted for war. Unfortunately, however, instead of open warfare, the two countries have resorted to cyber warfare and hacking into each other’s military and financial systems.
If there is a silver lining in the recent tragic turn of events, it is that Washington and Teheran have moved away from the brink of war and have opted to take the de-escalation off-ramps they offered each other since Soleimani’s killing. Yet, some of the administration’s closest domestic and foreign allies — Evangelical Christians, right-wing Israeli leaders, and some Sunni Arab autocrats in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere — continue to support Trump’s campaign against Iran, albeit more circumspectly. Fortunately for the United States, the Middle East, and the rest of the world, President Trump has so far resisted the call to war.
In order to walk away from the precipice, however, if regime change is not a key objective of the Trump administration, Washington jointly with the EU, Oman, Qatar, should seek a diplomatic outcome to tensions between Iran and United States. Negotiations could cover both nuclear and non-nuclear issues, which could lead to a new Middle East 21st century peace deal.
Dr. Emile Nakhleh was a Senior Intelligence Service officer and Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Two years ago on Feb. 24, 2022, the world watched as Russian tanks rolled into the outskirts of Kyiv and missiles struck the capital city.
Contrary to initial predictions, Kyiv never fell, but the country today remains embroiled in conflict. The front line holds in the southeastern region of the country, with contested areas largely focused on the Russian-speaking Donbas and port cities around the Black Sea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, having recognized the Russian-occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent days before the invasion, has from the beginning declared the war a “special military operation” to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine. His goals have alternated, however, between existential — bringing all of Ukraine into the influence of Russia — and strategic — laying claim to only those Russian-speaking areas in the east and south of the country.
It is in the latter that Russia has been much more successful. Yet after two winters of brutal fighting and hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides, as of the end of 2023 Russia only laid claim to 18% of Ukraine’s territory, as compared to 7% on the eve of the war and 27% in the weeks after the invasion.
Meanwhile, the West’s coffers have been opened — and, as some say, drained — to help Ukraine’s government, led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, defend itself against Moscow.
Regardless, Ukraine’s military forces have been wholly depleted as they compete with a much more resourced and populous Russia. While Ukraine’s military campaign was able to take advantage of Russian tactical mistakes in the first year, its much-heralded counteroffensive in 2023 failed to provide the boost needed not only to rid the country of the Russian occupation, but also to put Kyiv in the best position to call for terms.
If anything, as Quincy Institute experts Anatol Lieven and George Beebe point out in their new brief, “there is now little realistic prospect of further Ukrainian territorial gains on the battlefield, and there is a significant risk that Ukraine might exhaust its manpower and munitions and lay itself open to a devastating Russian counterattack.”
The only and best solution, they say, is to drive all sides to the negotiating table before Ukraine is destroyed.
The narrative of the war — how it began, where it is today — is well documented. On the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, RS thought it might be instructive to look at the numbers — weapons, aid, polling, population, and more — that illustrate the cost and the contours of the conflict over 24 months, and counting.
The U.S. Congress has allocated a total of $113 billion in funding related to the war. The vast majority of this money went directly to defending Ukraine ($45.2 billion in military aid) and keeping its government and society functioning ($46 billion in economic and humanitarian aid). Other funds went to rearming allies ($4.7 billion) and expanding U.S. military operations in Europe ($15.2 billion).
After two years of war, that funding has dried up. The Biden administration, which once shipped two or three new weapons packages each month, has not sent Ukraine a major arms shipment since Dec. 27, 2023. As Congress struggles to pass an additional $60 billion in Ukraine-related funding, observers increasingly believe that aid package may have been the last.
The Pentagon has sent at least 3,097,000 rounds of artillery to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. Most of those (2,000,000) have been 155 mm shells, the standard size used by the U.S. and its NATO allies. For perspective, that’s about 95,000 tons of 155 mm ammunition alone.
Despite ramping up military manufacturing, the U.S. still only produces about 340,000 155 mm shells per year, meaning that Ukraine has been firing rounds at three times the rate of American production.
Washington has also given Kyiv 76 tanks, including 31 Abrams tanks and 45 Soviet-era T-72Bs. Ukraine has received 3,631 American armored vehicles of various types, from infantry fighting vehicles to personnel carriers and medical trucks.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has made use of 39 American-made HIMARS, a mobile rocket launcher that has become famous for its utility in the war. As for smaller arms, the U.S. has sent at least 400,000,000 grenades and bullets in the past 24 months.
The war has killed at least 10,378 civilians and injured an additional 19,632, according to the UN. More than three in four non-combatant casualties occurred in areas held by the Ukrainian government, indicating that Moscow is responsible for the lion’s share of civilian harm.
When it comes to military casualties, good data still remains hard to come by and estimates are sometimes wildly different. Neither Russia nor Ukraine have offered detailed, public indications of the war’s impact on their soldiers.
The U.S. estimated in August that 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers had died and an additional 100,000 to 120,000 had been injured, putting the number of total casualties at over 170,000. Russia, for its part, claimed in November that 383,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or wounded.
On the other side, the United Kingdom estimates that Russia has suffered at least 320,000 casualties, with 50,000 deaths among Russian soldiers and 20,000 deaths among Wagner Group mercenaries. Washington said in December that Moscow had suffered 315,000 casualties, though American officials did not provide a breakdown of deaths and injuries.
The United Nations estimates that the Ukrainian population (the entire country within internationally recognized borders), which totaled 43.5 million people in 2021, dropped to 39.7 million in 2022 as war swept through the country’s east. This trend continued into 2023, as the population dropped to 36.7 million — the lowest level since Ukraine became independent in 1990.
As of January, 6.3 million Ukrainians have become refugees abroad, with another 3.7 million displaced internally. As the frontlines have settled, Ukraine’s population has slowly started to grow again, reaching 37.9 million in early 2024. Meanwhile, demographer Elena Libanova estimates that only 28 million of those people live within areas currently under Ukrainian government control (outside of Crimea and the Donbas).
Two new polls that came out within the last week illustrate the complexities of Americans’ feelings toward the war in Ukraine and the U.S. role in it.
First, a Pew poll published February 16 found that a large majority of Americans (74%) see the war between Russia and Ukraine as somewhat (30%) or very important (43%) to U.S. interests. And another survey, from the Harris Poll and the Quincy Institute, which publishes Responsible Statecraft, found that Americans broadly support a U.S.-led negotiated end to the conflict.
But the past few months in Washington have been largely focused on U.S. aid to Ukraine, specifically whether Congress will pass President Biden’s request for roughly $60 billion for Kyiv’s fight against Russia.
According to Pew, in March 2022, 74% of Americans said U.S. aid to Ukraine was “just right” or “not enough.” In December 2023, that same survey found that just 47% said the same. The biggest change came from Republicans: 49% said in March, 2022 that U.S. aid was “not enough,” while just 13% said the same in December.
Meanwhile, Gallup found in August 2022 that 74% of Americans said U.S. aid to Ukraine was “about right” (36%) or “not enough” (38%). Those numbers came down slightly in Gallup’s latest track on this question in October, 2023, with 58% saying U.S. aid was about right (33%) or not enough (25%).
There have been several attempts to bring nations together to outline talks to end the war. Russia and Ukraine engaged in five rounds of talks in Belarus and Turkey shortly after the invasion, but the talks collapsed amid allegations of Russian war crimes and Western pressure on Kyiv to keep fighting.
Since then, the belligerents have spoken directly about secondary issues, like Black Sea shipping and prisoner swaps. Ukraine, meanwhile, laid out a “10-point peace plan” that has formed the basis for five international summits, none of which included Russia. These took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in June 2023; in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in August 2023; in Malta in October, 2023; in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2023; and Davos, Switzerland, in January of this year.
Since the start of the war, Congress has passed four aid packages for Ukraine, totaling $113 billion. While none of the four packages were identical and aid for Ukraine was sometimes bundled with other spending, the trends for support for Kyiv in Congress are similar to those we see in polling, particularly among congressional Republicans.
The 2022 supplemental, which became law in May 2022 and provided Ukraine with $39.34 billion in aid passed the House 368-57 and the Senate by a vote of 86-11. By September 2023, when the House voted on the Ukraine Security Assistance and Oversight Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provided Kyiv with $300 million in security assistance, it passed by a vote of 311-117, with a majority of Republican members opposing the legislation.
On February 12 of this year, the Senate voted 70-29 to pass a national security supplemental, which would provide approximately $60 billion in aid for Kyiv alongside money for Israel and partners in the Indo-Pacific. The bill has not yet been voted on in the House.
Ben Armbruster, Blaise Malley, Connor Echols and Kelley Vlahos contributed reporting. Graphics by Khody Akhavi.
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A woman lays flowers at the monument to the victims of political repressions following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in Moscow, Russia February 16, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
President Biden was entirely correct in the first part of his judgment on the death of Alexei Navalny: “Putin is responsible, whether he ordered it, or he is responsible for the circumstances he put that man in.” Even if Navalny eventually died of “natural causes,” his previous poisoning, and the circumstances of his imprisonment, must obviously be considered as critical factors in his death.
For his tremendous courage in returning to Russia after his medical treatment in the West — knowing well the dangers that he faced — the memory of Navalny should be held in great honor. He joins the immense list of Russians who have died for their beliefs at the hands of the state. Public expressions of anger and disgust at the manner of his death are justified and correct.
The problem comes with the other part of Biden’s statement, that “[Navalny’s death] is a reflection of who [Putin] is. And it just cannot be tolerated.” If he had said “approved,” “justified,” or “defended,” that would have been absolutely right. But “tolerated”? What can Biden do in response, that he has not done already?
The U.S. president has promised major new sanctions intended to “cut Russia off from the world economy” — but that requires Washington to control the world economy. Economic sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine have failed, and even strengthened the Russian economy and the state’s grip on it. They cannot be significantly extended, because this would damage and infuriate countries that are dependent on Russian energy exports, including India, a key U.S. partner. As to sanctions against Russian individuals part of or linked to the Russian regime, there are already thousands of them, and they have had no effect whatsoever.
Statements like Biden’s are both pointless and dangerous. For the spoken or unspoken implication is that it is impossible to deal with Putin. But like it or not, Putin is the president of Russia. To all appearances, he will remain so for a considerable time to come, and will hand over to a successor of his own choosing. The Biden administration has said that it wants Ukrainian victory (whatever that now means), but it has also said that it believes that the war will end in negotiations, and following the failure of last year’s Ukrainian offensive, is now reported to be moving in this direction.
Who does Biden think that he will negotiate with, if not Putin? Seeking talks on an end to the Ukraine war does not imply approval of Putin’s crimes or his invasion of Ukraine, any more than the Eisenhower administration’s negotiation of an end to the Korean War implied approval of the North Korean regime and its invasion of South Korea.
By its own account, the Biden administration has supposedly made the promotion of democracy around the world a central part of its diplomacy, with the clear implication that only democratic governments that respect human rights are truly legitimate. Actual U.S. diplomacy does not work like this and never has; not because of American imperialist or capitalist wickedness, but because the world does not work like this.
Nobody should be required to like or admire the governments of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Mohammed Bin Salman or Narendra Modi (though we might well wish that U.S. officials had been less effusive in their praise of them). Like Putin, they are however the heads of their countries’ governments, and likely to remain so. You deal with Saudi Arabia and India — and you have to deal with Saudi Arabia and India — you deal with MBS and Modi.
The other thing to be wary of in the outpouring of outrage at the death of Navalny, is that this is already being used to build a strategy of greatly increased Western official support for the Russian opposition. Many (not all) people and groups in the Russian liberal opposition are personally and politically admirable. Some, like Navalny, have shown tremendous courage. To say this is quite different from believing that they are ever likely to form the government of Russia, and that the U.S. should base its policy towards Russia on the hope that this will be so.
The sad truth is that the Ukraine war has placed the Russian liberal opposition in a politically impossible position. Having been largely chased into exile by Putin, they are dependent on Western support. This means however that their principled opposition to the Russian invasion can be portrayed by the Russian government — and is seen by many ordinary Russians — as treason in time of war. As with the Iranian, Chinese, and other oppositions, official support from Washington only allows the ruling regimes to paint the name “traitor” in brighter colors.
A combination (differing from individual to individual) of idealism, dependence on the West and hatred of Putin means that instead of advocating a compromise peace in Ukraine, many Russian oppositionists have — willingly or unwillingly — identified themselves with Ukrainian and Western positions that explicitly demand complete Russian defeat.
And while not many Russians wanted the war, not many Russians want to see Russia defeated. As I have remarked before, even many Americans who strongly opposed the war in Vietnam were outraged when Jane Fonda went to Hanoi. If she stood a chance of being elected to any office in the U.S. before that trip, she certainly didn’t afterwards.
Any hope of rebuilding liberalism in Russia (and indeed Ukraine, albeit to a much lesser extent) therefore requires an end to the war. For some degree of authoritarianism is a natural accompaniment to every war, and regimes all over the world have exploited this to increase their own power. Equally importantly, mass support for Putin is critically dependent on the general belief that the West intends not just to defeat Russia but to cripple it as a state, and that to prevent this it is essential to support the government.
For the moment at least, this has eclipsed previously widespread resentments —which Navalny channeled — at regime corruption. No amount of Western or Russian opposition propaganda can change this Russian picture. Peace might, if it is given a chance.
For the third year in a row, globally, the number of investors in nuclear weapons producers has fallen but the overall amount invested in these companies has increased, largely thanks to some of the biggest investment banks and funds in the U.S.
“As for the U.S., while there is, like past years, indeed a dominance, and total financing from U.S.-based institutions has increased, the total number of U.S. investors has dropped for the third year in a row (similar to our global findings), and we hope to see this number will continue to fall in the coming years,” Alejandar Munoz, the report’s primary author, told Responsible Statecraft.
In 2023, the top 10 share and bondholders of nuclear weapons producing companies are all American firms. The firms — Vanguard, Capital Group, State Street, BlackRock, Wellington Management, Fidelity Investments, Newport Group, Geode Capital Holdings, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley — held $327 billion in investments in nuclear weapons producing companies in 2023, an $18 billion increase from 2022.
These companies are also profiting from the enormous government contracts they receive for developing and modernizing nuclear weapons.
“All nuclear-armed states are currently modernizing their nuclear weapon systems,” says the annual “Don’t Bank on the Bomb” report from PAX and ICAN. “In 2022, the nine nuclear-armed states together spent $82.9 billion on their nuclear weapons arsenals, an increase of $2.5 billion compared to the previous year, and with the United States spending more than all other nuclear powers combined.”
American weapons companies are some of the biggest recipients of contracts for nuclear weapons. Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics are “the biggest nuclear weapons profiteers,” according to the report. Combined, the two American weapons manufacturers have outstanding nuclear weapons related contracts with a combined potential value of at least $44.9 billion.
Those enormous government contracts for nuclear weapons, alongside contracts for conventional weapons, have helped make nuclear weapons producers an attractive investment for American investment banks and funds.
“Altogether, 287 financial institutions were identified for having substantial financing or investment relations with 24 companies involved in nuclear weapon production,” says the report. “$477 billion was held in bonds and shares, and $343 billion was provided in loans and underwriting.”
The report notes that while the total amount invested in nuclear weapons has increased, the number of investors has fallen and trends toward firms in countries with nuclear weapons.
ICAN and PAX suggest that concentration may be a result of prohibitions on nuclear weapons development for signatories to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), a 93 signatory treaty committing to the ultimate goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The report says:
The TPNW comprehensively prohibits the development, manufacturing, testing, possession, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance with those acts. For companies that build the key components needed to maintain and expand countries’ nuclear arsenals, access to private funding is crucial. As such, the banks, pension funds, asset managers and other financiers that continue to invest in or grant credit to these companies allow for the production of inhumane and indiscriminate weapons to proceed. By divesting from their business relationships with these companies, financial institutions can reduce available capital for nuclear weapon related activities and thereby be instrumental in supporting the fulfilment of the TPNW’s objectives.
Susi Snyder, managing director of the Don’t Bank on the Bomb Project, told Responsible Statecraft that even U.S. banks, like Pittsburgh based PNC Bank, are facing shareholder pressure to divest from nuclear weapons and that the tide may be shifting as shareholders in U.S. companies grow increasingly sensitive to investments in nuclear weapons.
“For three years shareholder resolutions have been put forward at PNC bank raising concerns that their investments in nuclear weapon producers are a violation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and that they are not in line with the bank's overall human rights policy guidelines,” she said.