General Petraeus: ‘Impossible To Overstate’ Significance Of Soleimani Strike
David Petraeus served 37 years in the United States Army He rose to the rank of four-star general, served as commander of the International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan led the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and the Multi-National Force – Iraq, overseeing all coalition forces in the terrorist hotbed. He also served as CIA director.
So we’ll stipulate that Petraeus knows a thing or two about Iraq.
On Sunday, the general said it is “impossible to overstate” the significance of President Trump’s order to to strike Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top military commander and the world’s No. 1 terrorist. He also called the strike “bigger” than the death of Osama bin Laden.
“It’s impossible to overstate the significance of the attack that takes out Qassem Soleimani and the number two militia leader in Iraq as well, who also never dared to set foot in Iraq during the surge after we’ve missed him and he escaped,” Petraeus said on CBS’s “Face the Nation. That No. 2 leader was Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. “So this is bigger than bin Laden. It’s bigger than Baghdadi,” he said of the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who U.S. forces took out last October.
“This is the equivalent in U.S. terms of the CIA director, CENTCOM commander, JSOC (the Joint Special Operations Command) commander, and presidential envoy for the region for Iran,” Petraeus said of Soleimani’s role in the Iranian military.
Petraeus said the U.S. may not have gone far enough.
“It’s not quite enough, I don’t think, to say, well, they know how to reach us. I think we should actually be trying to reach out through intermediaries first, of course, as we have in the past, and then trying to come to some kind of agreement about how to get back to the nuclear deal that was had its strengths, as well as some shortcomings, to be sure, and then address the other legitimate grievances and issues that we have about militia activity, support and the missile program,” he said.
The general said he was surprised the U.S. military hit Soleimani. “We’d never gone after him before, although I hasten to add that he never dared set foot inside Iraq to my recollection, when I was commanding the surge, nor in the time that I was the commander of U.S. Central Command. He only really became visible in the way that he has in more recent years after the Arab Spring, supporting the murderous Bashar al-Assad in Syria and then very actively supporting the Iranian-supported militia inside Iraq that were helping to contend with the Islamic State invasion of northern and western Iraq.”
He also said Iraqis are cheering the death of Soleimani.
“The people are demonstrating on the streets and in unprecedented numbers since the revolution against the economic deprivation, the lack of employment opportunities and the plummeting of their quality of life. So, they’re not- by the way, they’re not that invested in the kinds of Iranian adventures that have been funded and carried out by the Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force under the leadership of Qassem Soleimani.”