Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the driving force behind President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, CNN reported referring to sources in the administration.
This high-stakes operation 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.
The Secretary of State brought this proposal to Trump. Pompeo “was the one who made the case to take out Soleimani, it was him absolutely,” this source said. According to numerous sources close to Pompeo, the Secretary of State throughout his career believed that Iran was at the heart of all the problems in the Middle East and focused on Soleimani, the “shadow commander.”
The Secretary of State was so obsessed with the Iranian general that he even tried to get a visa to Iran in 2016 when he was a congressman.
Pompeo, a West Point graduate who has many friends in military service in the Middle East, also believed that the blood of hundreds of American soldiers was in Soleimani’s hands.
A source told CNN that Pompeo has told friend and colleagues that "I will not retire from public service until Soleimani is off the battlefield."
Sources believe that it is Pompeo who conducts the administration’s policy on Iran. One former national security official believes Pompeo is so influential, he is like the "secretary of state, secretary of defense and director of the CIA" combined.
From the moment he became Secretary of State, Pompeo became the person in charge of the “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. In April, Pompeo was the main force behind the Trump administration's controversial decision to recognize the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. This was the first time that the US recognized part of another government as a terrorist organization and laid the foundation for the legal rationalization of the Soleimani murder.
After Iran shot down an American drone in June, Pompeo was disappointed when he failed to convince Trump to take aggressive action against Iran and Soleimani. The president canceled the decision to strike at the IRGC goals.
But, according to many informed sources, Pompeo defeated the president, especially after the American civilian contractor died as a result of rocket fire in Kirkuk on December 27.
A source in Congress claims that the death of an American contractor was crucial. "If an American hadn't died, I don't think any of this would have happened," the Republican said.