Crocker did not offer veto power, but he abandoned candidates whom Suleimani found especially objectionable. As the American occupation faltered, Suleimani began an aggressive campaign of sabotage. Many Americans and Iraqis I interviewed thought that the change of strategy was the result of opportunism: the Iranians became aggressive when the fear of an American invasion began to recede.
For years, Suleimani had sent operatives into Iraq to cultivate Shiite militias, so, when Saddam fell, he already had a fighting force in place: the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of a Shiite political party called the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The Badr Brigade spent much of its time carrying out revenge killings against Baathists, and largely held its fire against the Americans. But another Iranian-backed militia—the Mahdi Army, headed by the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr—began confronting the Americans early.
Suleimani found Sadr unpredictable and difficult to manage, so the Quds Force began to organize other militias that were willing to attack the Americans.
Its operatives trained fighters in Iran, sometimes helped by their comrades in Hezbollah. At one point, a senior Iraqi official, on a trip to Washington, publicly blamed the Supreme Leader for escalating the violence in Iraq. Soon after returning to Baghdad, he told me, he received messages from the leaders of two Iraqi Shiite militias. Both posed the same question: Do you want to die?
In , the Quds Force began flooding Iraq with lethal roadside bombs that the Americans referred to as E. The E. Iraqi and Western officials told me that, early in the war, Suleimani encouraged the head of intelligence for the Assad regime to facilitate the movement of Sunni extremists through Syria to fight the Americans. In many cases, Al Qaeda was also allowed a degree of freedom in Iran as well.
Crocker told me that in May, , the Americans received intelligence that Al Qaeda fighters in Iran were preparing an attack on Western targets in Saudi Arabia. Crocker was alarmed. He flew to Geneva and passed a warning to the Iranians, but to no avail; militants bombed three residential compounds in Riyadh, killing thirty-five people, including nine Americans. As it turned out, the Iranian strategy of abetting Sunni extremists backfired horrendously: shortly after the occupation began, the same extremists began attacking Shiite civilians and the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government.
It was a preview of the civil war to come. Throughout the war, he summoned Iraqi leaders to Tehran to broker deals, usually intended to maximize Shiite power. At least once, he even travelled into the heart of American power in Baghdad.
As both sides sought an advantage, the shifting allegiances led to uncomfortable, sometimes bizarre encounters. But it was never an equal relationship. The Iranians are our neighbors. We have to deal with them. A senior intelligence officer in Baghdad recalled visiting Talabani at his house during a trip to northern Iraq. When he walked in, Qassem Suleimani was sitting there, wearing a black shirt and black jacket. The two men looked each other up and down. He was terrified.
In the years after the invasion, General McChrystal concentrated on defeating Sunni insurgents, and, like other American commanders in Iraq, he largely refrained from pursuing Quds Force agents. Provoking Iran would only exacerbate the conflict, and, in any case, many of the agents operated under the protection of diplomatic cover. But, as the war dragged on, the Iranian-backed militias loomed ever larger.
In late , McChrystal told me, he formed a task force to kill and capture Iranian-backed insurgents, as well as Quds Force operatives. We had broken the unwritten law. When they did—reluctantly—Maliki released him.
However the most decisive factor in the economy of the village was wine yards, orchards, and gardens above the village proper which consistently produced sizeable crops….. In the midst of a night, an unexpected ferryboat approaches to the shores of a cute little town. And one more with capital in our pockets our networks have also spread out. Reformers inside the government, who had advocated a rapprochement with the United States, were put on the defensive. In summers they transport ice from Erciyes to the city center and collected some brushwood to sell. The following is a similar quotation related with the same topic.
After the incident, the American Ambassador told Maliki that the next time they caught an Iranian operative they were going to keep him. According to other intelligence sources, Suleimani was riding with him. A group of Kurdish fighters were waiting to welcome them when they crossed over. McChrystal decided to allow the Iranians to cross the border. The Americans moved in anyway, and took five Iranians into custody. All were carrying diplomatic passports, and all, according to McChrystal, were Quds Force members.
Neither Suleimani nor Jafari was there; they had evidently broken off from the convoy at the last minute and taken refuge in a safe house controlled by the Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. Nine days later, five new black S. The men inside spoke English, wore American-style uniforms, and flashed I.
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In the compound, they jumped out of their vehicles and ran directly to a building where American soldiers were working. They killed one and captured four, ignoring everyone else. In a few hours, the four captives were dead, shot at close range. American officials speculated that Suleimani had ordered the raid, in response to the capture of the Quds Force operatives in Erbil.
Within two months, the Americans had killed the alleged leader of the attack and rounded up several of the participants. At first, Daqduq pretended to be unable to speak, and the Americans nicknamed him Hamid the Mute. But after a time, they said, he started talking, and told them that the operation had been ordered by Iranian officials.
For the first time, American commanders publicly pointed to Suleimani. As the covert war with Iran intensified, American officials considered crossing into Iran to attack training camps and bomb factories. Those debates lasted well into , until the last American soldiers left the country. Each time, the Americans decided against crossing the border, figuring that it would be too easy for the Iranians to escalate the fighting.
Around the same time, Suleimani struck up a correspondence with senior American officials, sending messages through intermediaries—sometimes seeking to reassure the Americans, sometimes to extract something. One of the first came in early , when the Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, handed a cell phone with a text message to General David Petraeus, who had taken over the year before as the commander of American forces. And indeed, the ambassador in Baghdad is a Quds Force member. None of the Americans believed him. According to diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks, Petraeus sent messages through Iraqi officials to Suleimani, asking him to call off rocket attacks on the American Embassy and on U.
Suleimani, who sensed a political opening, sent Petraeus a message lamenting the situation and saying that he had assigned men to apprehend the attackers. At times, Suleimani seemed to take pleasure in taunting his American counterparts, and stories of his exploits spread. In the summer of , during the thirty-four-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the violence in Baghdad appeared to ebb.
When the fighting ended, the Iraqi politician told me, Suleimani supposedly sent a message to the American command. Some experts on the region believe that it has grown less dependent on Iran as it has matured.
From to , Iran contributed a hundred million dollars a year to Hezbollah. Its fighters are attractive proxies: unlike the Iranians, they speak Arabic, making them better equipped to operate in Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world. Working with the Iranians, they have either launched or prepared to launch attacks in Cyprus, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.
A brief but fierce war ensued, in which the Israel Defense Forces destroyed much of Lebanon. The question of Iranian influence in Lebanon resurfaced in , when the United Nations-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon charged four senior members of Hezbollah with assassinating the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, in Hariri, a Sunni, had been trying to take Lebanon out of the Iranian-Syrian orbit.
As it turned out, the agencies knew quite a bit. The senior intelligence officer told me that Iranian operatives were overheard talking minutes before the assassination. Robert Baer, a former senior C. Meanwhile, the four Hezbollah suspects in the killing have disappeared. The country had been without a government for nine months, after parliamentary elections ended in an impasse.
The composition of the government was critical; at the time of the election, there were still nearly a hundred thousand American troops in the country, and U. In the months before, according to several Iraqi and Western officials, Suleimani invited senior Shiite and Kurdish leaders to meet with him in Tehran and Qom, and extracted from them a promise to support Maliki, his preferred candidate.
The deal had a complex array of enticements. Maliki and Assad disliked each other; Suleimani brought them together by forging an agreement to build a lucrative oil pipeline from Iraq to the Syrian border. In order to bring the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in line, Suleimani agreed to place his men in the Iraqi service ministries. Most remarkable, according to the Iraqi and Western officials, were the two conditions that Suleimani imposed on the Iraqis. The first was that Jalal Talabani, a longtime friend of the Iranian regime, become President.
The second was that Maliki and his coalition partners insist that all American troops leave the country. Connect to YouTube No thanks. Share Post to Facebook Post to Twitter. Subtitles Comments 0 Revisions 1 Edit Subtitles. This could poison you, my girl. Your mother should be more careful. Today's subject is the rules which govern social life. Who wants to read? You can read better if you outline it with a piece of red tile.
Couldn't you find a better place than the grave to place it on? What he wants with those tiny birds I will never understarstand.
I've got no hair left. I went to the barber. This could poison you, my girl. Your mother should be more careful. Today's subject is the rules which govern social life. Who wants to read? You can read better if you outline it with a piece of red tile. Couldn't you find a better place than the grave to place it on? What he wants with those tiny birds I will never understarstand. I've got no hair left. I went to the barber. He just cut twice. When I was in America a dollar was less than one lira. They put us on a train at Sirkeci Station.