In the smoldering geopolitical feud between the U.S. and Iran, spymaster Major-General Qasem Soleimani is emerging as director of the Islamic Republic’s effort to spread its influence abroad and bedevil the West.
In January, Gen. Soleimani—commander of Iran’s elite overseas forces—traveled in secret to Damascus to meet with Syria’s president and architect of that nation’s bloody and continuing Arab Spring crackdown. At the meeting, Gen. Soleimani agreed to send more military aid and reaffirmed Iran’s close friendship, according to U.S. and Arab officials.
In February, American officials detected four Iranian jets ferrying munitions to Syria. On Sunday the Obama administration announced it would start providing communications equipment to Syria’s opposition, while Arab states committed to paying the salaries of rebel fighters.