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Local Middle East analyst comments on death of Iranian general

Updated: Jan. 3, 2020 at 11:57 PM CST
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INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (WBTV) - Anmar Jerjees, a resident of Indian Trail and native of Iraq, spoke to WBTV Friday night about the death of Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds military force.

Jerjees said he used to work as a junior Middle East Analyst for an organization in Washington D.C. He said he was born in Iraq, but his family left for Syria during the Iraq War. He said that after spending a few years in Syria, his family was granted asylum and relocated to the Charlotte area.

Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq Friday. The Pentagon said President Trump made the decision to kill the Iranian leader to “protect U.S. personnel.” Trump accused Soleimani of “developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq, and throughout the region.”

Jerjees said he has been keeping tabs on Soleimani for years and was surprised to hear about the general’s death.

"If you had come up to me three days ago and told me in 2020, Qasem Soleimani would be taken out by an American airstrike, I would have laughed at you because that to me seems so unbelievable,” said Jerjees.

He explained that many people in the Middle East viewed Soleimani as a great leader who seemed invincible. Jerjees explained why he believes followers of the Iranian regime are upset with the actions taken by the U.S.

"The death of the second most important person in the regime and the most popular military figure in the country is a blow to those hardliners who believe that Qasem Soleimani is in fact resisting this liberal order of the United States,” said Jerjees.

The analyst said his own family feels differently. He explained that his loved ones believed Soleimani was a dictator and murderer. Jerjees said they were elated when they heard Soleimani had been killed.

"They were very, very happy, They were very, very excited. There was a lot of happiness and excitement in fact they called our relatives both in Europe as well as in the Middle East and they also were surprised but they were also happy at the same time,” said Jerjees.

He agreed that the big question now is, ‘how will Iran respond?’

"I think they will retaliate somehow, but I don’t think anyone knows what that would look like, I don’t even think they (Iran) are aware of what that would look like in the short term,” said Jerjees.

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