A DEATH IN SYRIA – AT 9:51 A.M. ET: This has traveled under the radar screen. A top Iranian general was recently killed, under mysterious circumstances, in...Syria. The implications are serious, in part for what the death tells us about Iran's operations in the Mideast. From Amir Taheri:
The killing of a senior Iranian commander west of Damascus highlights Tehran’s military involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Gen. Hassan Shateri was gunned down last Monday while driving south to Lebanon after a week of “consultations” with Syria’s military leaders. But official confirmation of his death only came days later, after Shateri’s body was returned to his native city of Semnan, east of Tehran.
Gen. Qassem Suleimani, Commander of the Quds (Jerusalem) Force, led the cortege at Thursday’s burial ceremony.
Quds, of which Shateri was a senior commander, is in charge of “exporting” the Islamic revolution. In practice, this means raising and leading pro-Iran militias and terrorist groups in countries of special interest to Tehran.
Shateri is the highest-ranking Guard officer ever killed outside Iran. His death is likely to renew debate within the Tehran leadership regarding the future of the Assad regime.
“Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei has vowed to prevent Assad’s fall. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, has tried to distance Iran from Assad in the hope of preventing the emergence of a new anti-Iran bloc led by Turkey and Egypt backed by Saudi Arabia.
COMMENT: Iran has its hands all over the Mideast. It is now working to build a relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt. That's Iran today. Iran with an atomic bomb would become an instant world power, a threat to the West, to energy supplies from the Mideast, and to American allies like Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Syria has spun out of control, in part because of inaction by the Obama administration. The chaos has allowed jihadist groups with radical agendas to become influential among the rebels. No matter how the civil war in Syria ends, it will end badly. I can't see any good outcomes. And Iran will probably grow in influence.
Change we can't believe in.
February 18, 2013