July 3, 2014 | Quote

Iran’s Top Spy Is The Modern-Day Karla, John Le Carré’s Villainous Mastermind

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer based in Istanbul, and now an analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, was responsible for turning Revolutionary Guardsmen fleeing the Islamic Republic during the tide of human devastation that was the Iran-Iraq War. The Guard might not have been in pieces on the floor in the early ’80s, but its personnel were open to U.S. advances. While there is no indication that any Western intelligence operative ever had the chance to persuade the young Suleimani to switch sides, according to the New Yorker profile, Gerecht did at least assign him an identifiable personality type, along the lines of the Karla mould: “You’d get a whole variety of guardsmen. You’d get clerics, you’d get people who came to breathe and whore and drink. There were the broken and the burned out, the hollow-eyed—the guys who had been destroyed,” he told Filkins. “And then there were the bright-eyed guys who just couldn’t wait to get back to the front. I’d put Suleimani in the latter category.”

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