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  • Mark Lavie

Soleimani assassination: Right, but wise?

A wise teacher once said, "Everything depends on where you start your history."

So here's my take on the Suleimani assassination, followed by a series of tweets from the rightfully respected former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.

Certainly he deserved to die. But there is a saying in Hebrew: "Better wise than right."

Read his whole series of tweets, and then ask if the policy of confronting Iran militarily, instead of implementing the nuclear accord and attempting to bring Iran back into the family of nations with economic incentives, is really such an enlightened concept.

Here's Shapiro's view:

"Qassim Soleimani had the blood of many thousands on his hands: Americans, Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Israelis & many, many others. Truly one of the most evil men on the planet. Seeing his smiling mug in selfies with terrorists across the region was hard to take. Good riddance.

"That he deserved this fate, a fate he authored for so many others, is not in question. The ability to carry it out is also impressive, as an intelligence and operational achievement.

"To take a decision like this has major strategic consequences. Iran has capabilities far beyond al-Qaeda or ISIS when their leaders were eliminated. And they will have many opportunities to respond. The question is, will the US and our allies be ready?

"To state the obvious, careful, strategic, fact-based planning is not a hallmark of our current President. So there is plenty of risk in this moment.

"Immediate challenges will include keeping our embassies, troops, and personnel safe in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gulf. Dealing with political blowback in Iraq, possibly to include demands that US forces leave, will be a major challenge.

"Allies will want to know if the US will stand with them against blowback that may land on them. Previous decisions after attacks in the Gulf and on pulling troops out of Syria have raised many questions in their minds. They will be looking for reassurance now.

"It’s a major decision. Soleimani richly deserved his fate. The strategic consequences can last months, or years. Time to breathe deeply, prepare seriously, and give our personnel and allies all the support they need.

"But one can’t help but be concerned about the current administration’s ability to think strategically several steps ahead. We are going to find out."

Yes, we will find out. It won't be pretty. And the tragedy is--we didn't have to go this way at all, but we never gave the other way a chance.

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