US Kills Head of Iran’s Quds Force

Ameer Al Mohmmedaw/DPA via ZUMA

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A military strike on a convoy headed to the Baghdad airport—carried out by the United States—has killed Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force. The Quds Force is primarily responsible for “unconventional” military operations in foreign countries, which basically means intelligence, finance, politics, sabotage, and special ops of various kinds. Soleimani had been the head of the Quds Force for more than two decades.

The unanimous opinion of Twitter is that this is a huge deal, probably the biggest deal in the Middle East since we invaded Iraq. Based on the notion that Twitter is usually wrong—and no, I’m not joking about this—I’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s probably not as big a deal as everyone thinks. Soleimani was a military target, not a civilian one, and the attack took place in Iraq, not Iran. If Iran chooses to use this as an excuse to escalate hostilities, then it will do so. But I doubt that they find this strike any more outrageous than we’d find a strike against our top military commanders.

I am absolutely no expert on this stuff, but my take is a little different from the ones I’ve been reading. As near as I can tell, President Trump is hellbent on continuing to provoke Iran in hopes that eventually they’ll overreact and give him an excuse for all-out war. This is obvious enough that Iran is likely, at some point, to figure that there’s nothing they can do about it, so they might as well retaliate in a time and manner of their own choosing. I don’t know what that means, but I doubt that it will take the form of a bunch of random terrorist attacks around the world, as many people seem to be suggesting. If the Iranian leadership decides that war is inevitable, then it will engage in war: attacks on tankers in the Gulf; attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia; major escalations of hostilities in Iraq; and so forth.

Either way, I’ll make one prediction for sure: every time we kill someone like this, the replacement turns out to be even worse. We may consider Soleimani a state terrorist of the first order, but I’ll bet he seems like a cautious and prudent institutionalist compared to whoever takes over for him.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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