Saturday 11 January 2020

Suleimani's brutality made him unpopular in Iraq and with the Iranian secret service

This is from The Intercept.
A more nuanced portrait of Suleimani emerges from a leaked archive of secret Iranian spy cables obtained by The Intercept. The documents were generated by officers from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, or MOIS, stationed in Iraq between 2013 and 2015, when the Iranian war against the Islamic State was at its height, and Suleimani was running the show. 

The reports reveal how Suleimani was perceived in some corners of the Iranian intelligence establishment, and the picture that emerges does not always align with the carefully crafted public image of the general as an indomitable strategist. While the Iranian-led war against ISIS was raging, Iranian spies privately expressed concern that the brutal tactics favored by Suleimani and his Iraqi proxies were laying the groundwork for major blowback against the Iranian presence in Iraq. Suleimani was also criticized for his own alleged self-promotion amid the fighting. Photos of the Iranian commander on battlefields across Iraq had helped build his image as an iconic military leader. But that outsized image was also turning him into a figure of terror for many ordinary Iraqis.
A Syrian friend of mine told me that Iran is the devil and I am sure he spoke truly. Still my
friend rightly wants the Syrian government to win, because the alternative would be worse. 

A lot of column inches are covered by writers, including ex-military men and even the former Chief of the British General Staff, denouncing Suleimani as a terrorist. I do not praise him but I am not sure he was doing anything worse than what the Syrian Kurds did or what the Saudi forces are doing in Yemen. 

I don't think any evidence has been provided by the Americans.

He was fighting for his country and his religion. It was right and natural that he wanted the Shias to control Iraq and Iran's ally, the Syrian government, to rule Syria. The Syrian government is very cruel indeed, but the Syrian rebels are too and so is ISIS. So are the Saudis and so are the Iranians. 

War is cruel and civilians die in war, including children. I congratulate Donald Trump  for trying to keep out of wars. I wish he'd now pull out of Syria and Afghanistan.

British foreign policy, for the time being, has to focus entirely on doing what is necessary to help us make trade agreements. Jeremy Corbyn, who is a very unintelligent man, absurdly accused Boris Johnson of this at Prime Minister's Questions this week and Boris, who is clever, absurdly denied was the case. That means we must be friends with the USA, as well as Europe and, holding our nose, China. 

When the trade arrangements are more advanced, let us get out of overseas commitments altogether. In any case, let's have no more wars for values.

Right now, in Tehran, students are chanting: 
"Traitor mullahs! you displaced the nation, destroyed our country, killed and buried thousands of youths! death to you." 
The protests began after the government accepted responsibility for the Ukrainian Plane Crash.

I have always hoped that the Iranian regime will be toppled by an internal revolt and I still do, because I, like the journalists, am a romantic dreamer. But am I being logically consistent? The consequences of the revolutions in Libya, Syria and Yemen give me pause. 

The lesson being “lie about it next time”, I assume. 

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