Daily Memo: Soleimani’s Assassination, Ending Spain’s Political Gridlock, Russia-Belarus Oil Tiff

The killing of the Iranian general pushes out into the open what’s largely been a shadow war waged by proxies for more than a decade.

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All eyes on Tehran. The United States assassinated Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the longtime chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a singular figure in the Middle East over the past two decades, with an airstrike at the Baghdad airport early on Friday morning. Soleimani had just arrived on a flight from Lebanon. Also killed were a senior commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and (reportedly) deputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem. The Pentagon said the strikes were intended to deter future Iranian aggression in the region, while the State Department said they were motivated by an “imminent” attack on U.S. facilities in the region by Iran or Iran-backed militias in Iraq. This is, to put it mildly, a dramatic escalation in the U.S.-Iran confrontation, pushing what’s largely been a shadow war waged by proxies for more than a decade out into the open. As chief of the IRGC’s notorious Quds Force, Soleimani had been instrumental in a range of efforts that ran counter to U.S. interests, including countless insurgent attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq in the 2000s, Baghdad’s subsequent expulsion of U.S. forces from the country, Iran’s successful campaign to turn the tide of the […]

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