Former CIA official Norman Roule: Soleimani came to power thanks to US, Israel & others

Fmr. intel. official in charge of Iran: Iran seeks retaliation, but not interested in war. Soleimani was 'not a mastermind or a leader'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Qassem Soleimani
Qassem Soleimani

Norman Roule, a former CIA official, told Efi Triger on Galei Zahal that he believes the missiles fired at the US Embassy in Baghdad were just the beginning of Iran's retaliation for the death of Qassem Soleimani.

Roule, who served as the US intelligence official in charge of Iran until September 2017, told Galei Zahal's Efi Triger, "I believe these are small-scale responses. I do believe there will be an attempt by the Iranians to retaliate against the United States. I do believe that some proxies will attempt to do the same thing, but I think this is going to play out over time."

Roule also said he does not believe Iran will seek a war against the US.

"Iran's position right now is, although it must seek retaliation against the United States, it must do so in a way that does not invite an American military response which would threaten the survival of the Islamic Republic. But it symbolically states that Iran is prepared to do this unless the international community provides the economic aid it seeks," he explained.

Soleimani, he said, was not a great leader in and of himself, but rose to power thanks to the international community's reluctance to stop Iran's expanding reach.

"He was not a mastermind, he was not a great political-military leader, his power came from the fact that the international community, to include the United States, and Israel, allowed him to conduct these activities over a period of 16 years since 2003, and he developed a political reach and a sense of inviolability, which enabled him to have an outsized reputation."

However, Soleimani's death will not undo what he succeeded in accomplishing during his lifetime.

"It's very difficult to pull Iran out of that geography once it is installed because it builds local actors who are part of the DNA of that particular geography," Roule explained. "So this will not be a rapid reversal of Iranian influence simply because to do so would require almost a ground invasion, would require a major conflict which nobody wishes to support."