In Revenge of the Sith Darth Sidious tells Darth Vader to take care of some of the members of the Trade Federation on Mustafar after killing the children at the temple. What I'm wondering is why did he want the trade federation destroyed?

Weren't they making money for him and also fighting his enemies? It seems as if they were pawns in his scheme, why would he want potential assets destroyed?

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    First rule of seizing power: Kill all those who can seize power from you. 2nd rule of seizing power: Kill everyone who knows your secrets. 3rd rule: Have your henchman do it to prove his loyalty. 4th rule: Kill anybody who questions you, so they become an example to the others. – RichS May 2 '17 at 22:26

Two things.

Who was killed?

The scum Vader killed on Mustafar were not just the Trade Federation - they were the military and economic leaders of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the separatists. That included the leaders of the Trade Federation, but also members of the Corporate Alliance, the Commerce Guild, the Banking Clan, as well as senators from various planets and species.

The group as a whole was Separatist Council; there was also a Separatist Senate/Parliament, for legislative issues. They were not present on Mustafar.

Why were they killed?

They knew about him. They knew about his machinations, they knew he was a Sith, they knew he was behind the Clone Wars all along.

Weren't they making money for him

He didn't care about the money. Money was their concern, not his - to Sidious, money was never more than a tool he could use to gain more power. When he had all the power, he didn't need the Seps any more.

and also fighting his enemies?

No, they were fighting the Republic. Sidious's enemies were the Jedi; with the Jedi gone, the Clone Wars had served their purpose and were no longer needed. At this point, the Separatists could be shut down and folded back into the Republic-turned-Empire. This would be easier, of course, if the Separatist leadership was dead.

  • If you want sources, feel free to take mine, my answer doesn't add anything new to yours and I'm going to delete it anyways. – Edlothiad May 1 '17 at 15:57
  • There's also a "eliminate all witnesses" thing here. After all, the Separatist forces drafted the original Death Star plans. No loose ends. – Ellesedil May 1 '17 at 23:53

Why did he want to Separatists destroyed? For a lot of reasons actually.

  1. It looks very good if the newly appointed Emperor can finish the clone wars in a matter of days (a war that has been raging for 7 years at this point). Now, you have the support of the people, so you are unlikely to be removed from power.
  2. The Jedi are all already dead, and he has his army. The primary reason to start the clone wars was to give himself the clone army, who (after he becomes "temporary" Emperor), obey him only. Without a war, the republic would have never given him an army. He has also destroyed his only real enemy, the Jedi, so he doesn't need the war pretext to be picking them off.
  3. It increases Anakin's belief in him. Palpatine's angle to get to Anakin is to insist that the Sith are not, by nature bad people, just misunderstood. They give into their emotions (which is natural), they are willing to cast aside "arbitrary" rules to help other people (trying to stop death). Having Anakin end the clone war just proves his point. "Look Anakin, I want to bring peace and harmony to the Galaxy. Just go kill the bad separatists and the war will end and you will be a hero. We will have peace!"

And lo and behold, they do have peace, with the exception of a few rebels here and there, there are no wars (that we know of) between Episode 3 and 4, a span of some almost 20 years. That's not too shabby.

  • One nitpick: Palpatine's assumption of emergency powers, just before the Clone Wars started, was theoretically temporary but his assumption of the role of Emperor at the end of RotS was permanent AFAICT. (It is possible that the Senate had in theory the ability to dismiss him. I don't think it was ever mentioned.) – Harry Johnston May 1 '17 at 21:28
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    @HarryJohnston - Perhaps. At least it may have done until he ... dissolved it, permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic were in fact swept away. :) – Jules May 1 '17 at 23:05
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    @Jules: you can declare yourself an Emperor in a day, but restructuring the Republic into an Empire takes a bit longer. The Senate lasted long enough for Leia to become a Senator. It was in the first part of Ep.IV were Vader says that the Emperor just disbanded the Senate (so there’s no-one left to object the capture of a Senator). In other words, it took two decades for Palpatine to actually get rid of the Senate; even being full of loyal socket puppets it was still needed in an operational shape for some time. – Holger May 2 '17 at 9:04

While the Trade Federation had been fighting the Republic, the Republic was now becoming the Empire. I don't think Palpatine/Sidious cared about money and these pawns had served their purpose. Just as Palpatine ordered Anakin to kill Count Dooku - both to keep him from revealing the plot and to push Anakin further to the Dark Side- he was now tidying up one more loose end.

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