In the Arena

The Most Powerful Man in Iraq…is Iranian?

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There is so much excellent reporting in this McLatchy feature about Brigadier General Qassam Suleimani that it is hard to pick a choose the best nuggets. To my mind, there are two crucial takeaways from this piece:

1. It’s another reminder that the Iranians have as much, if covert, sway in the current ruling alliance in Iraq as we do…and that the loyalties of the Badr Organization ne Badr Brigades run through Baghdad to Tehran. The Sadrist tendency remains outsiders, poor and populist–no matter the support the Mahdi Army and Special Groups have received from Iran in recent years. Our current posture of seeing the Mahdi Army as “enemies” while considering the Badr-laced Iraqi Army as “allies” is naive and simplistic in the extreme.

2. It’s another reminder that McLatchy is in a realm of its own–persistent excellence–when it comes to daily reporting out of Iraq.

Read the piece. It’s worth it.