Wednesday, June 11, 2008

At the Tip of Iran's Spear

Good profile of Petraeus' Iranian counterpart, Brig. General Qassem Soleimani in Sunday's WaPo;
Let's try for a moment to put ourselves in the mind of Brig. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. For it is the soft-spoken Soleimani, not Iran's bombastic president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who plays a decisive role in his nation's confrontation with the United States.

Soleimani represents the sharp point of the Iranian spear. He is responsible for Iran's covert activities in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and other battlegrounds. He oversees the regime's relations with its militant proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas. His elite, secretive wing of the Revolutionary Guard is identified as a terrorist organization by the Bush administration, but he is also Iran's leading strategist on foreign policy. He reports personally to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his budget (mostly in cash) comes directly from the supreme leader's office.
Bill O'Reilly's been making apocalyptic noises on his radio program for the past two days. One wonders what's in store between now and the November elections.