The killing of General Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces has removed a huge threat to U.S. national security. But the source of the problem, the Islamic Republic in Iran, still stands. And while the regime is likely to retaliate against U.S. interests, Soleimani’s death comes at a vulnerable time for the regime as it fights economic collapse and popular rebellion. While Washington should brace itself for a deadly response, it should also not lose sight of the possibilities created by the passing of the region’s greatest terror mastermind.
Soleimani was the chief of the Quds Force, the infamous Revolutionary Guards unit responsible for the Islamic Republic’s campaign of expansion and terrorism across the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Soleimani was also Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s most trusted, loyal, and capable lieutenant, a true believer in the revolution who expressed his willingness to be “martyred” for the cause.
Alireza Nader is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (@FDD), a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) research institute focusing on foreign policy and national security. Follow him on Twitter @AlirezaNader