On December 2, US Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo revealed that he has sent a letter to General Qassem Soleimani, a commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force to warn him that the US will hold Iran responsible for any attacks on its troops in Iraq, according to Reuters.
“What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold he and Iran accountable for any attacks on American interests in Iraq by forces that are under their control… We wanted to make sure he and the leadership in Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear,” Pompeo said during a Reagan National Defense Forum in Southern California.
However, according to Pompeo, Gen. Soleimani refused to receive or open his letter, in a move that shows high tensions between the US and Iran in Iraq and Syria.
On November 30, Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, head of the Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Soleimani refused to receive a letter that was sent by the CIA director thought a mediator. Back then, many news outlets doubted Golpayegani’s statement and described it as a propaganda.
“I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people,” Golpayegani quoted Gen. Soleimani as saying, according to the Lebanese al-Mayadeen TV.
Al-Mayadeen revealed that Pompeo’s message was sent to Gen. Soleimani when he was leading the battle against ISIS in the Syrian city of al-Bukamal on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The message timing reflects the US fear of the advance of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies along the Syrian-Iraqi border. The liberation of al-Bukamal poses a great threat to the US and Israeli interests in the region, according to many experts, because it allows Iran to open a land route from Tehran to Beirut.
Tala Silo former spokesman of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) revealed during an interview with the Turkish Anadolu Agency that the US pushed the SDF to launch Deir Ezzor attack in order to capture the Syrian-Iraqi border before the SAA and its allies reache it. However, the US plan “failed” according to Silo.