So two obvious topics of conversation are the death of Qassem Soleimani and the today’s visit with the therapist. Let’s start with Qassem.
I first wrote about him in 2013, after reading Dexter Filkins’ piece about the commander. Up until then, he was virtually unknown. My interpretation was that exposing him to the limelight was a way to discredit the hard liners in Iran, in favor of Rouhani who became Prime Minister. I think I was right about that, based on the subsequent efforts in 2015 to put together the Iran Nuclear Deal. But things change, and Obama and then Trump actually made Qassem more powerful than he’d been before. And that power went to his head, so he traveled around Iraq without thinking about those drones flying overhead. I don’t think he was unaware of them; he just thought he was safe because none of his associates would ever betray him. He was wrong about that, and it cost him his life.
So questions must be asked and answered on both sides. First: who betrayed him? Fingers are immediately pointed at the Iraqis, but I don’t think so. I think somebody in Iran informed the NSA of his travel plans. Why? He’d gotten too big for his britches. All real power rests in the hands of the Ayatollahs, and Soleimani wasn’t one of them. He couldn’t take Ali Khamanei’s place, and he wasn’t a politician, so he couldn’t rise to replace Rouhani. No, one of the successor Ayatollahs got him. I’d point the finger at Ali Khamanei’s son, Sayyad Mojtaba Khamanei. He worked closely with the Quds Force, so likely knew about Qassem’s travel. Mojtaba as he’s called is the natural successor to Ali, and wanted Qassem out of the way. What better way to handle the situation than to get the gullible Americans to do the deed for him? Clever..and likely he’ll never get caught. Who’d think they were responsible for killing one of their own?
But this will likely strengthen, at least temporarily, the hawks in Iran. His deputy has become his successor, but he has no cult of personality following like Qassem did. And Rouhani will be out after the elections in Iran, paving the way for whoever Mojtaba wants in that slot. Wait and watch.
The other questions that must be asked and answered: why kill him now? Because they could. Israel wanted him dead, and this should indefinitely postpone impeachment proceedings. OK, what happens next – what’s the game plan from our perspective? They’ve not a clue: wait for more people to be killed by the Iranians. Then what? Who knows. I’m terrified for Meredith, Patricia Mary’s daughter, who’s at the Embassy for another year. She needs to get out of there. And I’m glad Erik the younger isn’t in the military anymore. This is going to get worse before it gets better…and it won’t get better by much.
Re: my visit with the therapist. Sadly, Elaine’s husband passed away last month. She says she’s doing okay, and has been surprised by the outpouring of love and support she’s received from others – even neighbors she didn’t know all that well.
But it was as though no time had elapsed since our last visit. We talked for an hour, and it felt like 10 minutes. She recommended a book, Women Who Run with Wolves, which I will endeavour to get from the library. We are working on integrating the two sides of my personality. After 70 years, isn’t it about time?
More on that later…adios.