“The killing of Qassem Soleimani is surely a game-changer. He was the mastermind of Iran’s policies in the region, and perhaps the second most powerful figure in the Iranian hierarchy.
“He developed and shaped Shia militias as tools of Iranian coercion, leverage and intimidation in the Middle East. He trained, financed, armed and helped guide their operations — and they, in turn, enabled Iran to extend its influence at minimal cost. His successes permitted Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, to refer to Lebanon and Syria as part of Iran’s ‘forward defense.’ Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leaders and parliamentarians spoke of Iranian dominance in four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana, Yemen…”