A Tale of Oil and Fire: The Saudi-Iran Conflict

By The Emissary 57 Comments

With things popping off in the Middle East (esp with Iran), I thought it would be good to provide a big pic overview over the main driving conflict in the region – Saudi Arabia vs Iran,

I’ve done a comprehensive 4 part series called A Tale of Oil and Fire: The Saudi-Iran Conflict that I will link in parts below for easier reading (posting the whole thing here is gigantic/too much):

  1. Genesis
  2. Revolutions & Revelations
  3. A Furious Crescendo
  4. Meditations

What are you guys’ predictions on the upcoming turbulence (if there even is any)? With 2020 US elections, an infuriated Iran, weary Gulf, and a quiet Turkish shadow in the backdrop – we may be set for an interesting scenario in the tinderbox of the world.

PS: Latest development in Iran; apparently a pretty culturally/theologically significant event –

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57 Replies to “A Tale of Oil and Fire: The Saudi-Iran Conflict”

  1. Just watched a last year’s BBC prog on iPlayer
    Suleimani – Shadow Commander: Iran’s Military Mastermind
    played on 14th March 2019. Still on catch up.
    In recent years he has come more out of the shadows and slightly boasting. That overconfidence may have been his undoing.

    Strategically, the biggest benefactor of Iran has been the USA aka the Great Satan. USA knocked off 2 deadly enemies of Iran which was hemmed in by them – Saddam Hussein and Taliban. In Middle East politics, benefactors get spat upon and sinister guys are worshiped.

    Iran has cooperated with USA on many matters – against Taliban, Iraq and ISIs. Actually US-Iran enmity on benefits Pakistan which serves as conduit for the US military ops in Afghanistan. Better route to Afghanistan would be via Chaubahar port , which needs US-Iran co-operation however unwillingly and gritting their teeth. If the US wants victory in Afghanistan , it must drop Pakistan like a hot potato and cultivate Iran to use Chaubahar port, which has been built by India.

  2. The Trump administration has an inconsistent policy of talking tough and doing nothing in the Middle-east. In fact Trump has repeatedly promised the US electorate he will bring all soldiers back home frm the ME. Iran may think ‘let us call US’s bluff’ and do something large which may actually force Trump to do something large. If Iran does nothing large, it may lead to the perception Trump has called Iran’s bluff. Most probably the second option will happen. Iran would like to keep it’s Syrian and Lebanese “assets” through all this bluff. As long as that happens , Iran would think it has faced off the US. For Iran keeping it’s advantageous position in Syria and Lebanon is the core objective and the rest is a matter of management of public perception.

  3. My gut feeling is that Iran’s reaction will be muted. Even just lame. Iran will just hit feebly at some US proxy in middle east, and just hope that US does not perpetuate the cycle of retaliation.

    Iranian regime is on much weaker ground than most media outlets are guessing.

    For one, Iranian regime doesn’t have the support of its younger population, who have repeatedly shown their resentment against the regime by sporadic protests every couple of years.

    Second, a very important point – Iran doesn’t have the nukes yet. (Compare that to N Korea, which is armed with nukes and missiles that can obliterate US allies in its vicinity). Moreover, Iran has a lot to lose in a war with US. Its oil industry installations are sitting ducks for US warships parked just outside its borders.

    Moreover, Iran is a democracy (Yes, US media will never admit this, but the fact remains that Iran is a democracy). What it means is that in the event of a losing war with US, its population can rise against the regime and overthrow it.

    So, all in all, expect some sort of anti-climax to the built up of a great geo-political drama.

    1. I agree that Iran is a weak spot but not necessarily due to the reasons u elucidate, Its has stretched itself far too thin in being part of multiple conflicts while itself suffering from sanctions. There is no real ally of any consequence in the neighborhood , who is willing to share the burden, and almost all its allies like Assad are dependent on Iran than other way round. Iran in a way has been winging it, seeing the fertile situation in the middle east in the past decade.

      Countries who are sympathetic to Iran (Pakistan, India, Afghanistan etc) at most wont allow their soil to be used to attack Iran, not at lest overtly. While Russia, China and Turkey can stand up for it in multilateral forums to provide diplomatic cover, but that;s the extent to which they would go. Iran has to extinguish some fires before it starts new ones.

      1. Saurav,

        Iran and Pakistan are enemies. Iran is friends with India and Afghanistan against Pakistan.

        Turkey and Iran are ancient and current rivals.

        Russia is close friends with Israel, India and Afghanistan. Russia isn’t Iran’s friend.

        China is not Iran’s friend.

        Iran’s absolute dictator and Supreme leader Ayatollah Sayyed Khamenei–peace be upon him–has few friends inside Iran or outside Iran. He “DOES” have Hezbollah in Lebanon. Who else does he have?

        1. India is sympathetic to the extent that Iran does not go back to older Shah of Iran time of backing Pakistan over India. Iran post revolution was the only big muslim ally when Pak had all the Saudi-american backing, in the 80s and 90s. And not withstanding India’s recent rise in the Arab world, it knows that Pakistan will always have a greater say in muslim (read Kashmir) matters.

          Once Suleimani was dead, Pompeo called Pakistan;s army chief , while Iran’s FM had a meeting with Indian EAM. He is also due to come to Delhi in couple of weeks.

          Make of it what you will.

          1. Saurav:

            “India is sympathetic to the extent that Iran does not go back to older Shah of Iran time of backing Pakistan over India.”

            Indira Gandhi made an alliance with Saddam Hussein and backed him against Iran and Sunni Arab states (including KSA or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) 1971-1991. India abandoned Saddam Hussein in 1991.

            Iran supported Pakistan against India 1971 to 1991 in part because India was backing Saddam Hussein against Iran.

            Since India abandoned Saddam Hussein in 1991, Iran and India have been friends.

            The BJP has been more supportive of the Iranian/Indian and Iraq/Indian friendship than Congress–partly because the BJP enjoys a lot of Indian twelver and Sufi support.

            In 1971 Saudi Arabia and to a lesser degree Iran both were preparing to militarily attack India. They tried to impose an oil embargo on India. India’s friend Saddam Hussein threatened to attack Saudi Arabia and Iran on India’s behalf. Saddam also tried to ensure that India had access to Iraqi oil exports despite an attempted global muslim embargo against India.

            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            The BJP has good relations with the 30 Shia marjas, Quom Marjeya and Najaf Marjeya. The BJP also has good relations with Iran and Iraq. Most of the wealth of Iran is domiciled inside the Indian financial and economic system. This relationship is partly lead by Indian Shiites–who are part of the BJP’s base.

            I think the BJP is shell shocked and not sure how to respond. The BJP is also good friends with Trump.

          2. For folks who want to know more on India-Iran’s sympathies

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u3AQj_X1fY

            from 8:10 mts onward.

            Also Iran abstained from voting in UN (it was the deciding vote on the panel) when Pakistan took India to UNHRC on human rights violation in Kashmir in the 90s , and could have faced sanctions.

  4. One of the reasons Sikhs are attacked inside Pakistan is the conspiracy theory that there is coalition between Jews, Dharmics (Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists etc.), Parsis, Bahai, Jews, Crusader Christians, Balochi, Pashtun, Jews, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Iranians, Israelis, Azerbaijanis, Iraqis, Jews, Kurds, twelvers, sixers, Chisties, Jews, Qadiri, Ahmedi, ex muslims, atheist muslims, Jews, LBGTQ, femnists, America, Europe, Russia, fivers, Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians, Japanese, South Koreans, Singapore, Malaysian and Indonesian fake muslims, Thais, Serbs and Jews aimed at destroying the true muslims.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdNJaCCfKWY

    Can nothing be done about this conspiracy theory?

    1. Does that include every race/ethnicity found on earth other than the perps? I don’t think these perps know about nicobarese tribes.

  5. one reason middle east is such a mess is that there are multiple conflicts playing out simultaneously. The major fault lines are shia vs sunni, turks vs kurds, arabs vs kurds, christians vs muslims (mostly confined to lebanon), iranians vs arabs, russians vs americans, americans vs iranians, and biggest of all – jews vs all others.

    the conflicts can be simplified and brought to a resolution if the parties involved will form durable coalitions. unfortunately historical baggage prevents that from happening even when it is obvious that a coalition between two given parties is the natural choice.

    take for eg. iran vs america. theoretically iranians and americans should be natural allies. islamic extremism is a specific sunni problem. shia islam is not given to random acts of terrorism. that being the case, iran can form the bulwork for fighting terrorist groups like al-qaeda or IS. it can free up america and enable america to recall its troops home.

    two factors prevent this coalition to take birth. one – america still has bitter memories of hostage crisis of 1979. the wounds are still raw more than 40 years later. in fact america’s strike on soleimani was triggered by the protests at american embassy in baghdad just a week ago in which the embassy premises were breached by protesters. as the possibility of a deja vu of earlier embassy invasion loomed, america’s greatest fears were ignited. obviously they reacted with disproportionately large reaction by taking out soleimani.

    second – iran’s obsession with israel. it is funny that while all the sunni powers of the region like saudi, egypt, turkey etc have grudgingly reconciled themselves to israel’s presence in their midst, iran remains implacably hostile to israel. and like it or not, jews run america. so unless there is some reconciliation of sorts between israel or iran, america will remain hostile to iran.

    1. “Jews run America”– Wow, just wow! That’s some pretty casual anti-semitism just being thrown out there like its nothing.

      1. a more precise formulation would be that this is an anti-semitic trope. it is commonly (erroneously imo) believed outside of the west that jews run the USA (or UK or whatever). unlike traditional anti-semitism often these ppl don’t have enmity toward jews, and often even admire jews (this is the case in xtian africa and non-muslim asia, china & india; muslims often do have some enmity for obv reasons).

        you shouldn’t assume that people have your western cultural background on this weblog (30-40% of readers clearly don’t).

      2. “Jews run America”

        that was meant as a compliment to jews 😉

        on a more serious note, i was really testing out the free speech credentials of this blog. as anyone can see, my comment on jews was safely within the bounds of laws of the country where this blog is hosted.

        and again seriously, jews do exert a disproportionately large pull on american politics. if only americans will ask israel to sort out its issues with palestinians themselves, half of middle east’s “endless wars” will end in no time.

        jews are a pragmatic people. without america’s backing they will settle for half of jerusalem, vacate west bank and go back to 1967 borders readily. it is america’s support that emboldens them to grab more than what is rightfully theirs.

        1. My attitude to speech is liberal. Kabir is SJWinflected so of course he smells vapors when thoughtcrime is mooted. But we don’t enforce his blasphemy laws.

          I won’t tolerate jew hatred, but to err is no cardinal sin.

        2. “Jews run America” is the kind of thing that is said by white nationalists. You may not have meant it in a negative sense but this type of generalization is problematic.

          Not all Jews support the policies of the Israeli government. Many younger American Jews are quite vocally against Netanyahu. On the other hand, many Christian Zionists are overwhelmingly pro-Israel (but only because they want to bring on the end times or something).

          1. i do feel that jews get a pass at lot of things in america where other ethnicities don’t.

            long ago i used to watch south park TV show regularly. it is a highly irreverent show. at one time or other they have ridiculed most religions and their prophets. jesus, muhammad, mormons – no one has escaped their scathing satire. but i don’t recall any episode in which they have seriously lampooned or criticized jews (and if I missed any such episode, do let me know). why?

            and as razib mentioned, as an internet hindu i don’t have any particular reason to be hostile to jews. so coming from me there must be some iota of truth in my observations.

          2. Sjw confirmed! Hundreds of millions of afroasians share these views. On a blog with 1/3rd Indian readership u refer back to the white Gods nonetheless. Your faith is deep, especially as u lived in Pakistan and know the brown face of antisemitism.

          3. ” no one has escaped their scathing satire. but i don’t recall any episode in which they have seriously lampooned or criticized jews”

            Didn;t southpark have that all God-squad episode , Moses was there i think. Some jokes must have been made on him.

          4. Anti-semitic views are shared by white nationalists and many Muslims. The particular statement I was referring to would be problematic no matter what the cultural background of the person making it. Certainly it is not the kind of statement one expects to come from an educated person who has lived in the United States.

        3. Man i envy jews

          For most part folks are good at mostly 1 thing , at best 2 out of commerce, education or fighting. Like these people are so good at every damn thing. In India we had to create like a whole *caste* system for it. 😛

    2. “take for eg. iran vs america. theoretically iranians and americans should be natural allies”

      To me both USA-Iran and Israel-Iran conflict seem non nonsensical. Iran TBH tries to be more catholic than the pope, it cannot become the leader of the muslim world with its 15 percent shia pops. When Sunni turks can’t , then forget shia Iran.

      1. America removed a democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister and re-instated the Shah. This is where knowing some history comes in handy.

      2. Come on man , you are smarter than that. US has done far graver things to other countries. Like drop Atom bombs and stuff.

        Or is it ur belief that Iranians are just anti american by nature and it has absolutely nothing to do with the regime constantly fueling this.

        1. I’m simply saying that Iranians remember that the US committed a coup against a democratically elected leader. This coup re-instated the hated Shah who was then ousted by the Islamic Revolution. History has consequences.

          1. Kabir, to comment about Iran it is useful to be curious about Iran and study it.

            In 1953 a young Khomeini (yup the famous one of Vilayat-e Faqih fame), the Quom Marjeya and Sayyed Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni overthrew the deeply unpopular communist post modernist Soviet quisling Mohammad Mosaddegh and replaced him with their guy–the Shah. America supported Khomeini, the Quom Marjeya and Sayyed Abu’l-Qāsem Kāšāni in this.

            Later in 1976 this same crew lead by Khomeini reached out to their American friends. Carter and Khomeini exchanged many very warm letters in 1976. Khomeini’s friend Carter won the US presidential election. President Carter and the CIA backed their old friend Khomeini in a new coup against the Shah in 1979.

            Khomeini was vulnerable to accusations of being a foreign puppet because he twice sought and obtained American help to overthrow the government Khomeini opposed. Much of what Khomeini did afterwards was to protect himself against this charge of being a covert Jew with secret Jewish blood flowing in his veins.

            Khomeini initially continued Iran’s friendship with Israel. Israel saved her friends Khomeini and Khamenei from certain defeat at the hands of Saddam Hussein 1980-1982.

            Israel also saved Lebanon’s twelvers from being slaughtered by Sunni Islamist extremists in the early 1980s–even invading Lebanon in 1982 in support of Khomeini’s and Israel’s Shiite Lebanese friends (who were being slaughtered by the sectarian Sunni Arab extremist Yasser Arafat and his many Sunni Arab sectarian anti minority muslim buddies).

            Khomeini was getting killed on the muslim street for being a Jewish collaborator and killed some Jews to prove he was a real muslim.

            Israel felt saddened and betrayed by what Israel regarded as her friends Khomeini and Khamenei. Some say there is no worse sin in this world than ingratitude.

            Is what Khomeini and Khamenei did right? Was it just? Khomeini and Khamenei have said that they are the first perfect homo sapien sapien modern on earth since 884 AD with full temporal and spiritual power over all other homo sapien sapien modern species on earth. Is this what “perfection” means?

          2. Anan,

            I made a very simple point. The coup against a democratically elected leader (whether communist or not) led to an authoritarian monarchy. The revolt against that led to the Islamic Revolution. I have never and nor am I interested in defending the Islamic Revolution.

            The rest of your verbiage is frankly irrelevant to me. I am not interested in whether or not you think Mossadegh was a “quisling” or a “postmodernist”. We all know you hate “postmodernists” but he was the democratically elected leader of the Iranian people. I don’t think the US has any business getting involved in regime change. You are free to think otherwise.

  6. A terribly violent and cunning anti-semite responsible for many deaths summarily put down. Americans got an opportunity and they took it. Job well done. Nothing more to add really.

    1. \A terribly violent and cunning anti-semite\
      He must be seen as part of Shia expansionism – or resilience – in the ME. Plus risk taking , cult of martyrdom , etc were driving him . I don’t think he was personally an anti-semite in the old sense, he was simply working for his country with gusto and anti-Israel hatred is one of the cornerstones. He was more like a regular WW2 German general than an SS officer
      Unfortunately, Islamic world has dug itself into the anti-semetic hole through consuming hatred for the state of Israel, and can’r say how they will get out of it.

      Talking of causing many deaths , many other leaders including Bush Sr and Jr are responsible.

    2. @Slapstick: You do realize the US, UK etc all have their own Soleimani type generals leading special ops programs on foreign countries? Do you also call them terribly violent (may be islamophobic?) Absurd. What if Iran assassinated the head of the CIA or MI6?

        1. How? I’m not arguing for different moral standards to be applied to Iran or any other country, only asking that the same absolute moral standard be applied to US and UK generals who lead similar covert operations for their country abroad.

    3. Slapstick wrote:
      “Americans got an opportunity and they took it. Job well done. Nothing more to add really.”
      There is a word for it: Surgical strike. Helps win elections also.

  7. Latest reports suggest that soleimani was on a peace mission to facilitate rapprochement between saudi arabia and iran when he was killed.

    a reconciliation between 2 major islamic powers in that region would have been huge. who would want to scuttle it?

    cui bono?

    1. Scorpion Eater,

      America and India would greatly benefit from improved Saudi Iranian relations. Who do you think would not benefit? Pakistan?

      Soleimani was not killed because of his attempts to reach out to the Saudis (I am not convinced he was not trying to con the Saudis.)

      Israel and Iran are natural best friends forever. If the alliance between Israel and Iran could be re-formed the rest of the world could rally behind them and after 14 centuries of vicious civil war (where over 100 million moderate muslims were killed by Islamists) solve the global Islamist challenge once and for all. India, China, Russia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia, Australasia and Africa need global leaders to rally behind.

  8. In the mid-east, all the Oil is in Shia regions*. Even in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain the oil is in Shia regions.

    Iran an ancient civilization and Shia will prevail against the US. Shia a much more inclusive sect of Islam. This should be a death knell for the US supported Wahabbi Saudis who have been responsible for the spread of Terrorism in the world, including Sri Lanka.

    When the Saudis Collapse, the petrodollar collapses and that is a huge blow to the US Dollar as a reserve currency and the US economy.

    Iran will suffer too, but they are a resilient and proud people and will not sell their country and honor for a few dollar.

    *
    https://theintercept.com/2016/01/06/one-map-that-explains-the-dangerous-saudi-iranian-conflict/

    I think Iran will retaliate in equal proportion. History says so.

    The U.S. attack:

    Iran Air Flight 655 was a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas, that was shot down on 3 July 1988 by an SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes, a guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy. The aircraft, an Airbus A300, was destroyed and all 290 people on board, including 66 children, were killed.

    The Iranian retribution:

    Pan Am Flight 103 was a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. On 21 December 1988, N739PA, the aircraft operating the transatlantic leg of the route was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing.

    The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) claimed to be responsible for the bombing of the plane. It had used a Palestinian cutout in Lebanon to plant the bomb. But for political reasons the official investigation was manipulated and the blame for the Lockerbie bombing was put on Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi who had absolutely nothing to do with it.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/the-revenge-for-the-assassination-of-qassem-soleimani.html

  9. The vast majority of global commentary on Soleimani is low resolution.

    Soleimani is complicated. He assassinated several of the greatest Shiite twelver religious spiritual leaders, including one of my heroes–Sayyid Abdul Majid al-Khoei–on April 10th, 2003. {PS. I asked his son to be a guest on Brown Pundits Podcast. Note that Sayyid Abdul Majid al-Khoei’s father was the leader of the world’s 150 million twelvers for many decades. He groomed his successor to be Ayatollah Sayyed Sistani–who I also think highly of.}

    He assassinated people in New Delhi, Thailand, Argentina and almost every part of the world. His killings in New Delhi were correctly strongly objected to by every part of the Indian establishment.
    https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/trump-s-claim-of-iran-link-to-delhi-terror-plot-puts-india-in-a-bind-120010400276_1.html

    He killed many tens of thousands of Iraqis. He killed many Iranian private citizens who might have become a threat to Iran’s absolute dictator–Supreme Leader Khamenei. He has killed many patriotic good Afghans when they crossed his agenda.

    At the same time he also played a major role in defeating the Taliban in 2001 and Saddam Hussein in 2003. He has played a major role in keeping Al Qaeda, Daesh, Taliban and other Salafi tilted Islamists under control–which is no small thing. He has killed many very dangerous Pakistanis, Chechens, Uighurs, Yemenese.

    On the whole as Slapstik says he was a bad man–who happened to sometimes kill very dangerous Sunni Islamists who poised an existential threat to our species.

    He was also an “EXTREMELY” intelligent capable man. Far more intelligent than most people can understand. It takes intelligence (aka Slapstik and Razib) to recognize intelligence.

    1. Whether or not Soleimani was a “bad man” the fundamental question is whether the US has a right to engage in regime change and the assassination of foreign leaders. My answer to that question is no. You are free to disagree but then you are defending a very dangerous principle. If one country has that right, then other countries surely also have the right to take out those they consider their enemies. What if you disagree on who those enemies are? One man’s evil fascist is another man’s hero.

      As Mayor Pete stated: taking out “bad guys” doesn’t work unless you have thought through the possible consequences of your actions. At this point, we don’t know how Iran will retaliate. Does Trump really understand the consequences of going to war with Iran? Based on his previous behavior, I highly doubt that.

    2. “His killings in New Delhi were correctly strongly objected to by every part of the Indian establishment.”

      if I am not mistaken, nobody died in iran’s covert op in delhi. only some people, including israeli defense attache’s wife were hurt. and the attack itself was a retaliation for killing of an iranian nuclear scientists at the hands of israel’s secret service.

      anyway, it is stupid to call military commanders working under the official government of a country either “good” or “bad”. suleimani was no lone wolf terrorist, or some mafia boss bumping off rivals. he was a military commander of iran who was building militias in iran’s neighborhood to protect iran’s interests. militias fight, and combatants get killed in fights. this is how wars work. suleimani was only as much good or bad as the US army chief of staff who must have planned the operation to kill him.

      1. The fundamental question that people need to answer is:

        Regardless of how “good” or “bad” Suleimani was, did the US have a right to assassinate him?

        Those who answer yes to this question then need to answer the follow-up:

        If the US has the right to assassinate foreign leaders, what stops other countries from being justified in doing so (assuming that they had the same power as the US)?

        1. “If the US has the right to assassinate foreign leaders, what stops other countries from being justified in doing so”

          Kabir, in principle I am totally against assassinating political and military leaders. the reason is that there is no way to tell who is a legitimate target and who is not. however, there are caveats…

          lots of historians have wondered if it would have been better to assassinate hitler in 1930s, or even as late as early in WW2. it would have saved close to 80 million lives. in fact there were opportunities to take out hitler in early years of ww2, but the british govt frittered away the opportunities getting bogged down in moral dilemmas.

          this is not to say that suleimani was a hitler in making. far from it. he was just a general of iranian military, and somebody will replace him without much difficulty. nothing will change on the ground.

          1. I don’t think even Hitler should have been assassinated. If you open the door to this type of action, it can have consequences that you may not like. One country’s enemy is always the hero of some other country.

            Killing Hitler after WWII was formally declared would have been another matter. The US Congress has not declared war on Iran.

      2. Scorpion Eater, thanks for the correction. Should have read: “attempted killings” (which obviously were completely immoral and amoral.)

        Soleimani is no ordinary person. I heard his name in the 1990s. He has been the 2nd most powerful man in Iran for a generation–after only Iran’s dictator Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Khamenei.

        Khamenei suffers from bipolar, mania, dementia, psychosis, schizophrenia and old age. Khamenei believes in Vilayat-e Faqih–claiming to be the only perfect human other than Khamenei since 884 AD. Khamenei claims full temporal and spiritual authority and power over every human being.

        Because of this many believe that in reality Soleimani has been running Iran for a long time.

        This is why Soleimani decides who to kill or what to do around the world. He wields enormous influence inside many countries, including America, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, China, Indonesia, Malaysia.

        He is far, far smarter than almost any other policy maker. Intelligence is correlated with power.

        Kabir–where did I say that President Trump should have assassinated Soleimani?

        Your thinking is way too one dimensional low resolution. Multi-dimensional Iranian leaders are much smarter than Im the dim or most Pakistanis.

        Soleimani has in some ways been an enemy of India. But in other ways Soleimani has been a friend of India, Narendra Modi, BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and Hindutva. Soleimani loyally backed India on section 370, Kashmir in general, Supreme Court Ayodhya decision, CAA, NRC, attempts to dismantle Shariah (including triple talaq and nikah halala), and Modi’s other pro muslim policies.

        As long as Soleimani was alive the Pakistani Army, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Daesh, Kashmiri militants, Chechens, Saudi Arabia, Qatar could not win. Yogi Adityanath and the BJP could rely on the Indian twelver vote. Things are now dicier.

        Kabir, I am impressed that you are standing up for one of Pakistan’s fiercest and most feared enemies–the killer of tens of thousands of Pakistanis. And even more impressed that you are backing Yogi Adityanath’s ally. There is hope for you yet. Salut!

        1. “Your way of thinking is too one dimensional”– Don’t condescend to me.

          “Iranians are smarter than most Pakistanis”–Wow, just wow! Racist much?

          “Backing Yogi’s ally”– I don’t give a damn about your Yogi. I am simply pointing out that the US doesn’t have a right to assassinate foreign leaders. No country should have that right. Whether I like Suleimani is irrelevant. For the umpteenth time, I am a liberal progressive secularist and I have no love for Iran’s theocratic dictatorship.

          You are free to have the last word. I am completely done engaging with people like you.

  10. Apparently this theory has been going around in Iranian circles. Soleimani had become far too popular for the clerics in Iran. He was seen as a threat even by Khamenei. The precise intelligence that the US needed to carry out the killing of Soleimani had to have come from Iranian sources or from Iraqis who were deemed to be trusted by Soleimani.

    FWIW, the IRGC has been the major beneficiary of the funds that were made available to the Iranian regime after the conclusion of the 5+1 deal. Khamanei needed to reign in Soleimani as the ventures of the IRGC were exhausting the Iranian treasury. But Soleimani was refusing to compromise and may in fact have been on the verge of major attack on US interests.

    By leaking information that enabled the US to get rid of Soleimani, Khamenei has removed a threat to his own position and the risk that Soleimani’s actions could have entailed for Iran. He has united the majority of Iranians in a burst of patriotism. He has the opportunity to pare back the influence of the IRGC.

    Or so this theory would have us believe.

  11. Trump tweets support of Iranian anti-government protesters after Ukrainian passenger plane shot down

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-support-iran-protesters-ukrainian-airplane

    “”The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people,” Trump wrote. “There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.”

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