President Trump killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani before he could carry out another attack against Americans in Iraq, but could this lead to further escalation of tensions?
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“I take it at face value what [Trump] is saying and Secretary Pompeo that this was a preemptive defensive measure to disrupt a subsequent attack on American troops,” Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane (ret.) told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney.
Soleimani flew in from Syria to meet Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, according to Keane, who is an “Iraqi operational commander” currently working for Soleimani in the country. They were likely planning further operations when the U.S. struck, he continued.
In his dealings with Iran to this point, President Trump has “exercised significant restraint,” Keane argued. The Iranians have shot down a U.S. drone, disrupted the movement of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, attacked one of the world’s largest oil fields in Saudi Arabia and Trump responded only with defensive measures, he noted.
“We did something here because the president had established a red line—if you kill Americans, I’m going to respond,” Keane said.
Whereas the Obama administration tried unsuccessfully to bring Iran into the community of responsible nations with the nuclear deal, Trump changed the strategy for dealing with Iran, Keane suggested. Trump is willing to confront Iran with his policies and will refuse to appease the regime, he argued.
Keane suggested that war with Iran is a possibility, however, he does not believe it is likely.
“The Iranians have some choices to make themselves in terms of what their response will be,” he said.
Iran is a nation-state with resources and global networks. The threat they consequently pose, according to Keane, stretches beyond the Middle East, however, neither nation wants all-out war. Keane argues that both nations are too smart for that.