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.

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • October 15, 2019
    The Nonintervention Delusion

    Richard Fontaine addresses the most frequently expressed concerns about U.S. military interventions and concludes that the use of military force will remain a key component of...

    By Richard Fontaine

  • Commentary
    • April 30, 2020
    Sharper: Global Coronavirus Response

    As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...

    By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Commentary
    • Defense News
    • April 23, 2020
    How the US can learn from Israel to counter Iran

    During the COVID-19 crisis, one would have thought the United States and Iran would find ways to reduce tensions. Instead the Trump administration refuses to relax sanctions i...

    By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas

  • Reports
    • April 14, 2020
    Countering Iran in the Gray Zone

    American freedom of action to strike Iranian targets in the gray zone may be greater than previously assessed, if U.S. policymakers are willing and able to replicate at least ...

    By Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas & Jennie Matuschak

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia