Thursday, January 9, 2020

Israeli think tank has Soleimani's number - Monica Showalter

by Monica Showalter

What to make of the Soleimani killing and what it means for the West? A sharp-eyed Israeli think tank has some credible possibilities.

Less than a week after the rubout of Iranian terrorist kingpin Qassem Soleiman, quite a few pundits are dishing opinions to the press. Some are good, and others, such as Ben Rhodes, are an embarrassment.

Some of the best stuff, though, comes from the people who watch the Iranians as a matter of survival - the Israelis. It's pretty useful to know how the Israelis are reading things in the wake of Soleimani being sent to collect his virgins, given that Israel has some impressive analysts. One Israeli think tank -- the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies -- has a lightning-fast set of takes on what's likely to happen next with the Soleiman kill-off, and what it means, brimming with striking insights. The title of the study just out is "The Soleimani Killing: An Initial Assessment" and it's a must-read at this link here. The essays are short and striking. 

Here's a bit of sampling of what the short papers contain:
Hillel Fritsch writes that Soleimani's death was a major blow to Iran. Without their big terrorist, they'll descend into a miasma of suspicion of one another. Who was the informant who handed over Soleimani's coordinates? Were there a lot of them? Who can be trusted now? This would also explain why the appointed successor was a man in his 60s instead of a young guy, as Soleimani was when he took the helm. If they're out killing each other instead of us, well, good. The other thing is, they're not popular among the locals abroad. Their provocative actions were a bid to deflect all those 'Iran get out' chants being heard around Iran's client states. Fritsch writes that Iran essentially has an overextended empire, loaded with informants and they can't hang on.

Eytan Gilboa writes that Iran was hit hard by the Soleimani rubout and foolishly wasted its advantages by crossing President Trump's red lines. Both Trump and the Iranians wanted U.S. troops out of the Middle East, and the Iranians could have gotten it. Until they decided to make a lunge for another Benghazi. Their only hope now is if the U.S. elects another Democrat president.

Gershon Hacohen writes that Soleimani managed to manipulate the Arab Spring into extending Iran's empire and footprint across the Middle East. His loss is going to end all that, as the Iranians won't be able to replace him easily. Too bad.

Doron Ishchakov writes that with Soleimani gone, the regime faces a host of dangers, from anger in the ranks at too little revenge for his death, to Middle Eastern crazies taking matters into their own hands, leaving Iran holding the bag. The death blow to Soleimani might just be a death blow to the regime.

Alex Joffe writes that the mullahs have a bright spot, over in the states, where the mainstream media and its Democratic allies are going to be making fools of themselves, seeking to throw Trump's victory away.
A review of initial comments from well-known former officials and journalists shows that their sense of their own wisdom and indispensability is undiminished. Given their links with the Democratic presidential candidates, their comments offer not only a critique of the Trump administration but a foreshadowing of a potential Democratic administration.
He concludes that these clowns are impervious to any ideas not their own and they're going to continue being clowns.

Read the whole thing here.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

Monica Showalter


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