fter years of striding across the Middle East seemingly in command of the region, General Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Brigade, was finally killed by American airstrikes early Friday morning. History will not mourn one of the great mass murderers of our time who was responsible for scores of dead, mostly Arab and American. Soleimani was not just the face of Iranian terrorism—he represented its changing dimensions. The Islamic Republic has always been a violent regime, but initially its terror focused most intensely on Israel. In the past decade, Soleimani turned terrorism into an effective instrument of Iran’s imperial expansion by marshaling a transnational Shia expeditionary force that has prevailed in conflicts across the Middle East.
His death will be a blow to the Iranian theocracy but—contrary to what many observers are warning—could very likely temper the clerical oligarchs, who tend to retreat in face of American determination.