Former CIA acting and deputy director Michael Morell predicted Friday that the Iranian government will kill a senior American government official and American civilians, perhaps within days, as retaliation for airstrikes that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force.
“The world is a better place without him. The problem is that comes at a very high cost,” Morell said on CBS News, noting that Soleimani was “an evil genius” who had “a lot of American blood on his hands.”
The Pentagon said Thursday that U.S. forces killed Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of Kata’ib Hezbollah, a terrorist group, in a strike near Baghdad’s airport. The Pentagon said that Soleimani was plotting attacks against Americans and American forces in Iraq, and that he had approved an attack Dec. 29, 2019, against the American embassy in Baghdad. In April, the State Department said Soleimani and the Quds Force was responsible for the deaths of 603 American service members in Iraq since 2003.
Soleimani’s death is certain to escalate tensions in the Middle East. President Donald Trump’s supporters praised the decision to take out Soleimani, while his detractors asserted that the airstrike amounted to an act of war against Iran. (RELATED: Iraqis Celebrate In The Streets, Praise Trump After Soleimani’s Death)
“There will be dead Americans” as a result of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani being killed, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell said on @CBSThisMorning.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 3, 2020
“This sets a precedent … that senior officials are fair game in this hybrid, not-yet-at-war kind of scenario that we’re in with Iran, and that’s a dangerous precedent to set,” said Morell, who served at CIA until 2013.
“There will be dead Americans, dead civilian Americans, as a result of this.”
“Possibly over the next few days in any place where Iran has its proxies, Iraq is the most likely place, but also Lebanon, Bahrain, other places in the Middle East,” he said.
Morell predicted Iran will not carry out a traditional military operation as part of its retaliatory push. Instead, Iran will use proxies in the Middle East to stage attacks against U.S. interests.
“At a time and place of their choosing, they’re going to conduct a terrorist strike that kills a senior American official,” Morell said. “And that could be anywhere in the world.”
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