Dem Rep Slotkin, Former Shia Militia Analyst, Explains the CIA's Rationale for Keeping Soleimani Alive and Americans Won't Like It

 

Remember Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI), who was “torn” last fall over whether or not to vote for impeachment? Slotkin had been one of those “moderate” Democrats who won her seat in a district in which Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton by 7 points in 2016. Prior to becoming a Congresswoman in 2018, Slotkin had been a CIA analyst specializing in Shia militias, serving three tours in Iraq during the Bush and Obama Administrations.

Additionally, Slotkin will be leading Nancy Pelosi’s House Resolution today “to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran.” I posted about that story here.

Anyway, following the U.S. strike on Quds Forces Chief Qasem Soleimani last week, she explained in an op-ed why, despite the fact that this man was responsible for the deaths and injuries of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq, the CIA did not take him out much earlier.

As a former Shia militia analyst who served multiple tours in Iraq and worked at the White House under both Presidents Bush and Obama, and later at the Pentagon, I participated in countless conversations on how to respond to Qassem Soleimani’s violent campaigns across the region. If you worked on the Middle East over the past 20 years, you dealt with the growing organization and sophistication of Soleimani’s covert and overt military activities, which have contributed to significant destabilization across the region.

I watched friends and colleagues get hurt or killed by Iranian rockets, mortars and explosive devices that were provided to Iraqi proxies and used against U.S. forces under Soleimani’s guidance. We watched as his power increased and he brought strength and capability to groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, and to smaller cells around the Middle East and the world, with devastating consequences. We watched what can only be described as a cool war, taking place quietly under the surface of the public eye.

What always kept both Democratic and Republican presidents from targeting Soleimani himself was the simple question: Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict? The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means. The Trump Administration has made a different calculation.

The Iranian government has vowed to retaliate and avenge Soleimani’s death, and could do so in any number of ways: against our diplomats and service members or high-ranking military officers, against our allies and partners in the region, or through targeted attacks in the Western world. It is critical that the Administration has thought out the moves and counter-moves this attack will precipitate, and is prepared to protect our diplomats, service members, and citizens serving overseas.

This Administration, like all others, has the right to act in self-defense. But the Administration must come to Congress immediately and consult. If military engagement is going to be protracted — which any informed assessment would consider — the Administration must request an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. If the Administration needs additional resources, it will need to come back to Congress to request support. Congress also has a deep interest in the future of our relationship with Iraq, given our investment of blood and treasure there to rid the region of ISIS. Congress needs to understand the Administration’s plan as soon as possible.

The Quds Force is the overseas arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps specializing in unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations. It is designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Fox News explains that it has been “doing the dirty work behind the scenes for Iran for decades” and “supports non-state actors in many countries, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Yemeni Houthis, and Shia militias in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.”

The Quds Force was founded in 1980 during the Iran-Iraq war, but much of its growth and sophistication has come in the last 20 years. Over the course of two presidential administrations, this terrorist organization was allowed to grow and prosper because neither Bush, nor Obama, nor any of the U.S. intelligence officials tracking Soleimani’s increasing influence and threat were willing to accept the consequences of disrupting it.

Did any of them consider that the group would only become more formidable, and would ultimately have to be dealt with? Slotkin writes:

What always kept both Democratic and Republican presidents from targeting Soleimani himself was the simple question: Was the strike worth the likely retaliation, and the potential to pull us into protracted conflict? The two administrations I worked for both determined that the ultimate ends didn’t justify the means. The Trump Administration has made a different calculation.

I see the failure of President Bush and President Obama to act in the face of this growing threat to be a dereliction of duty. Obama was too busy trying to curry favor with the Iranians to act against them, but I would have expected more courage out of George Bush.

Anyway, there it is. The United States of America, a nation which was founded upon war, which led the world in the fight against Hitler’s Nazism and Japan’s Imperialism, was afraid to fight against Iran’s terrorism and allowed it to become a dominant force throughout the Middle East.

And the Democrats are calling President Trump crazy for finally saying enough is enough?