Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ignatius Lasers In on Iran's Role In Iraq

Money quote:

So imagine that you are Qassem Soleimani, commander of a covert Iranian army deployed across the Middle East: You doubt the Bush administration would run the risk of a military strike against Iran, but you can't be sure. You think America can't afford to play chicken in an election year, but you can't be certain of that, either. You think Iran is on a roll, but you know how quickly that advantage can be squandered by unwise choices. You know that Arabs, even in Iraq, have become peeved at what they see as meddling and overreaching by Tehran.

So you watch and wait. You give ground where necessary, but you prepare to strike back, as devastatingly as possible -- and on your own terms, not those of your adversary.

What is notable here is that Ignatius (correctly) treats Soleimani as essentially a rational actor. Ahmadinejad is a different species altogether (conspicuously less rational, if reports about his eschatological views on the 12th imam are to be believed), but he is only one of a constellation of important actors.