Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, right, consulting with Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf of Tehran in 2006. (Mehdi Ghasemi/ISNA, via Associated Press)
Iran’s Master of Iraq Chaos Still Vexes U.S
WASHINGTON — When a senior Iraqi intelligence official traveled to Tehran in the summer of 2007 to meet with the Iranian leadership, he quickly figured out who was in charge of Iran’s policy toward its neighbor to the west.
It was not the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was Qassim Suleimani, the shadowy commander of Iran’s paramilitary Quds Force, who calmly explained that he was the “sole authority for Iranian actions in Iraq,” according to an account the Iraqi official later provided to American officials in Baghdad.