January 03, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement from Senator King on last night’s strike that killed Major General Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, as well as top leaders of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias.
“Soleimani was a terrorist, and a chief architect of Iran’s efforts to undermine regional security and the safety of American servicemembers and diplomats serving abroad. Indeed, he was responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans and thousands of others in the region – there is no doubt that he was a force of evil. At the same time, last night’s attack leaves us with one important question: how does this impact our strategic objectives in the region?
“In the short term, I am concerned this could bring about violent reprisals from Iran and their partners that will place Americans working or serving in the region in increased danger; in the long-term, the rapidly rising escalation between our two nations could lead to dangerous and bloody consequences. This is a moment fraught with serious threats, and we must navigate it with the utmost care to protect American citizens both at home and abroad and advance our interests in the region.
“I expect that Congress will be briefed by the Administration in the coming days, and I will be listening closely, particularly for the specific intelligence on imminent attacks on Americans which has been put forward as the justification for this strike. It would be tragic if a strike intended to deter such attacks makes them more rather than less likely. This is a perilous moment which calls for good intelligence, wide consultation with allies, Congress, and national security experts within the Administration, and a calm deliberation of options and possible consequences. A major new conflict in the Middle East is in no one’s interest.”
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator King is recognized as a thoughtful voice on national security and foreign policy issues in the Senate. In April, he took part in a bipartisan delegation to Iraq, and in September he traveled on a bipartisan delegation to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Oman; on both trips, he met with American servicemembers and officials and regional leaders to discuss America’s security interests.