How Pompeo convinced Trump to kill Soleimani and fulfilled a decade-long goal

January 11, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a driving force behind President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a top Iranian general, sources inside and around the administration tell CNN, a high-stakes move that demonstrates Pompeo’s status as the most influential national security official in the Trump administration.

Taking Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani “off the battlefield” has been a goal for the top US diplomat for a decade, several sources told CNN.

Targeting Iran’s second most powerful official — the leader of the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, the politically and economically powerful military group with regional clout — was Pompeo’s idea, according to a source from his inner circle. That source said the secretary brought the suggestion to Trump. Pompeo “was the one who made the case to take out Soleimani, it was him absolutely,” this source said.

According to multiple sources close to Pompeo, the secretary of state has believed throughout his career that Iran is at the root of all the Middle East’s problems and has focused on Soleimani, Iran’s “shadow commander,” as the mastermind behind the country’s state sponsored terrorism throughout the region.
“We took a bad guy off the battlefield,” Pompeo told CNN on January 5. “We made the right decision.” The same day, Pompeo told ABC that killing Soleimani was important “because this was a fella who was the glue, who was conducting active plotting against the United States of America, putting American lives at risk.”


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