Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any terrorist leader since Osama Bin Laden. No one should mourn his death. In Iran, however, and certainly without moral equivalence, he was a revered figure like former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, a man who advocated for the troops and was not afraid to mix with them. Inside Iran, he pulled as the most popular or second most popular figure over the course of years. As successive U.S. administrations repeatedly dropped the ball on any informational strategy to accompany the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and military approach, he filled a vacuum which capitalized on Iranian nationalism. He may be the man largely responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Syria, but Iranians saw him as the man figure who defeated the Islamic State. Many Gulf Arabs interpreted his cultivation of a cult of personality as perhaps the forebearer of a decision to one day seek Iran’s presidency. Those discussions can now, thankfully, be put to rest. But amidst the political cheering, it is imperative to acknowledge how much his death may have changed the operational environment and diplomacy.
Fear of Retaliation Acknowledges Much More: