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(Editor’s note: The U S President Donald Trump ordered the killing of the general of another country with whom it is not at war. This is a serious issue. Gilbert Morris, the public commentator, writes a thoughtful reflection.)

Gilbert Morris comments on Facebook:
2 January 2019

Whomever reads me knows, I believe diplomatic strategy and geostrategic understanding lie at the centre of a nation’s capacity to defend itself; and requires persons of insight, uncanny ruthlessness and gracious élan, to carry out a nation’s objectives. 

The man below was a shadow master with the qualities and skills mentioned above in spades:

1. He was a hero of the Iran-Iraq war
2. He was master of Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon
3. He was master of Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in Iraq; which defeated American forces
4. He made Jalal Talabani – a Kurd – President of Iraq
5. He made Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister against American wishes
6. He is the master of Assad in Syria against American wishes
7. He defeated Al Qaeda and ISIS even as American presidents take credit
8. He was Commander if the Elite Special Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard called the “Quds Force”

His name is Qassem Suleimani and today, the American assassinated him; I believe by accident in a total cockup…but now Trump is taking direct credit as he believes it will play well politically. It was an act of stupidity and incompetence. 

It’s not that I support Iran. It’s a question of strategy…no one kills this sort of fellow! 

Of course Iran will retaliate…and in ways we can’t yet know and that is bad for the world!

Suleimani was not Saddam. He is not a leader of a rag tag group of bandits. He was a member of a Sovereign Government. Every US Commander respected his skill because he was in fact a “shadow master”; a level of skill all American diplomats admired. That is a person – like Klemens von Metternich of Austria – 1808-1848 – who by guile, cunning craftiness and incisive mastery, manages multiple conflicts from many sides, it’s impossible to determine where or when or if he is an enemy. 

He could end any conflict in the Middle East with a nod. He knew every player. He was honoured, admired, trusted and feared. One simply never kills such a man by design. He is a stop-gap against chaos. To make this error and then for the President to claim it, is utterly clueless and gut-wrenchingly stupid!

Suleimani was the master of pan-Shia asymmetric warfare, that struck fear in his opponents across the Middle East; directing his forces into every corner of the region and beyond. It was he who forged the Iranian partnership with Russia. 

His skill saved American and Kurdish lives and his death means coming chaos. Already, oil prices have spiked and it means a viscous fight just to take his place will ensue…and no one is safe. 

As the long beautifully written – if too assertively American – article below shows rightly, the strategic resolve in Iran to protect Syria and Assad, is twofold:

1. It keeps lines open to Lebanon and Hezbollah and so a double potential front against Israel
2. It creates a strategic moat against direct attack in Tehran

There are fools in the media saying Iran has no capacity to respond: Suleimani as I said kept the lid on Iraq, he controlled Syria and Lebanon. He also protected global oil shipments by keeping the Gulf of Aden unobstructed and refusing to mine the Straits of Hormuz. 

Not to mention: there are 5,000 US troops we know of in the region and thousands of British, Australian, Danish and other allied troops now endangered and put even more at risk by Trump and Republicans insipidly doltish reaction!

Iran has cells in Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan and all over Europe. The response will be slow at first. But multiple lower players always struggle to fill the void left by such a man; which is why it is foolish to kill them. This was a batshit mistake. How large a or strategically measurable a mistake, we shall soon see!