French Chief of Staff: Assassination of Soleimani 'Was Not a Good Idea'
Chief of the General Staff of the French Armed Forces General Francois Lecointre said Iranian chief of al-Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani was a “real instigator,” but killing him in Iraq contributed in destabilizing the country.
He condemned the assassination of Soleimani and told the press that he “was not a saint” and a very destabilizing agent, but “it seems to me that going to kill Soleimani in Iraq was not a good idea."
Soleimani and deputy chairman of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis were assassinated in a US drone attack in Iraq earlier this month.
Lecointre indicated that this evidently weakens Iraq’s position, adding that the coalition and Western states want to secure Iraq and help it become a stable state in the region.
Asked whether it is possible for the PMF to execute any operation, Lecointre said that the current stage is risky. He said he doesn’t know if they will be able to continue with integrating PMF within the Iraqi army or if the party will become a more destabilizing tool in the hands of the Iranians, according to the French Press Agency (AFP).
France has deployed about a thousand soldiers operating within the framework of the international coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Meanwhile, PMF denied reports that Abu Ali al-Basri was appointed as the deputy chairman succeeding Mohandis.
The Forces issued a brief statement refuting the reports that spoke about the appointment of Basri, asserting that no decision was taken in this regard.
A source close to the PMF explained that the position of deputy chairman occupied by Mohandis before his assassination was dropped upon the issuance of the new amendment to the authority’s law, noting that the position remains vacant.