David Petraeus: Eliminating Qasem Soleimani More Significant than Killing Bin Laden or Al-Baghdadi

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - JULY 17: Gen. (Ret.) David H Petraeus (L), Chairman of KKR Global Institute speaks during a conversation with Gustau Alegret (out the frame), Director US News, NTN24 as part of the 2018 Concordia Americas Summit day 2 at Agora Bogota Convention Center on July 17, 2018 in …
Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images for Concordia Americas Summit

Former General David Petraeus described President Donald Trump’s decision to eliminate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad as the most significant action against terrorism in the Middle East.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of this particular action. It is more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the death of [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi,” he said in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine.

Petraeus said President Trump had effectively reestablished the idea any Iranian attack against American targets would be met with considerable force.

“This is the most formidable adversary that we have faced for decades,” he said, noting that Soleimani had previously enjoyed considerable power and freedom to act boldly in the region. “This is a very significant effort to reestablish deterrence, which obviously had not been shored up by the relatively insignificant responses up until now.”

Petraeus said Iran would clearly think carefully before attacking an American target, noting that they had recently become emboldened in the region.

“Many people had rightly questioned whether American deterrence had eroded somewhat because of the relatively insignificant responses to the earlier actions,” he said. “This clearly was of vastly greater importance.”

Petraeus said Iran was in a “precarious” situation because of their fragile economy, and estimated that the Iranian people would not support an escalation of war with the United States.

“Iran has to be very worried that in the state of its economy, the significant popular unrest and demonstrations against the regime that this is a real threat to the regime in a way that we have not seen prior to this,” he said.

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