Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser fully supported President Trump’s decision to kill top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and floated the “possible collapse” of the theocratic regime in Tehran.
“What the administration did in the Soleimani case is absolutely correct,” Gen. James Jones, 76, said at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi.
“This was a powerful step. We’ll see where it goes,” he added. “It’s a complicated region, but I think history will say that this was the right thing to do.”
Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani in a targeted drone strike near the Baghdad airport earlier this month has been scrutinized by Democrats and a few Republicans, who have cited the risk of escalating tensions with Iran and because Trump did not seek congressional approval.
Iran retaliated with missile strikes on two military bases in Iraq that housed American forces. The country also admitted that it mistakenly shot down a passenger plane on its way to Ukraine as it awaited possible confrontation with the United States, prompting days of protests.
Jones, who was Obama’s national security adviser from 2009 to 2010 and was speaking on Sunday to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, said Soleimani’s death was a “potential game changer.”
“It’s clear that the regime in Iran has had a very bad couple of weeks,” Jones said. “And one of the things that people don’t talk about too much is the degree of unrest that there is in the country, which I think is significant.
“So, you take the removal of Soleimani, you take the accidental downing of the civilian aircraft coupled with the amount of popular unrest — the needle toward possible collapse of a regime has to be something that people think about,” he continued. “It’s probably not politically correct to talk about it, but you have to think about it.”