Suleimani pictured in February 2016. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images “The game has changed.” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Thursday made what, at the time, seemed to be a warning. Within 12 hours, it turned into a prediction, with one crucial flaw — this is not a game. In less than a week, the…
“The game has changed.”
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Thursday made what, at the time, seemed to be a warning. Within 12 hours, it turned into a prediction, with one crucial flaw — this is not a game. In less than a week, the standoff between the U.S. and Iran has zoomed from what seemed to be a somewhat calibrated exchange of rockets, cyberattacks, and rhetoric to the killing of a man reckoned to be Iran’s second-most-powerful military official, causing military and counterterrorism experts to worry about nasty scenarios from all-out regional war to terrorist retaliation against Americans abroad or at home.
What seems to have happened Friday morning in Baghdad involved the Iran-backed Iraqi militia responsible for attacking the U.S. Embassy earlier this week firing off some more rockets at U.S. installations — threatening behavior, but not especially unusual. U.S. forces responded by firing back, not at the rocket launchers, but at the motorcade of the militia’s deputy leader, Abu Mahdi al-Mahandis — who had personally participated in the embassy attack. The Iranian visitors he was escorting were also killed, and they included (as U.S. intelligence certainly would have known) a rather special guest.
did not know who Suleimani was, had to be prompted in a friendly interview, and then confused the Quds Force (the IRGC’s secretive unit charged with clandestine operations) with U.S. allies the Kurds. At the time, Trump said the names “would all be changed” by the time he took office. wonders about Iran withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and restarting its bomb program in earnest. Americans of Middle Eastern origin worry about yet more restrictions on travel and immigration, and yet more suspicion, humiliation, and prejudice, both at the border and in everyday life. reminded us that Congress is required to approve assassinations of senior foreign officials — or any act of war that is not immediate self-defense. Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us.
The U.S.-Iran Conflict After the Death of Qasem Suleimani