January 03, 2020

After the killing of Soleimani, what’s next for US-Iran relations?

By Richard Fontaine

Traveling with a congressional delegation to Iraq more than a decade ago, I recall one briefing by the US command in Baghdad. Soldiers had just caught several Iranians importing a few dozen copper plate-fused bombs uniquely designed for American military vehicles. These “explosively formed penetrators” were able to pierce even up-armored Humvees, and did so with devastating results. Hundreds of Americans lost their lives because of them.

Those weapons arrived courtesy of Iran’s Quds Force, which Major General Qassem Soleimani commanded for more than two decades. Soleimani was the personification of Iran’s malign regional influence, and led his country’s operations in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. Given the blood on his hands, and the credible reports that he was planning additional attacks on American personnel in Iraq, his death in a US airstrike Thursday delivers a measure of justice.

Whether it was also wise remains to be seen. Soleimani was the most popular regime figure in Iran and arguably the country’s second-most powerful man. Tehran will use his death as a much-needed rallying cry for its divided population, and the Supreme Leader has already issued calls for vengeance. The regime will wish to show its people and the world that it can fight back.

Read the full article in The Boston Globe.

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