The killing by drone of General Soleimani is not only a blow to Iran’s theocratic efforts to assert its power across the Middle East, explains Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the WSJ. President Trump also did Latin America a big favor with the death of “a hero of hemispheric criminality.”
Soleimani’s Friends America’s Enemies
The dead general was also mourned by the drug-trafficking terrorist group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, members of the Venezuelan dictatorship, and Iranian proxy networks in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, El Salvador and Mexico.
The Gangsters Are Sad and Worried
As if to make the point, Cuba’s military dictatorship quickly condemned the U.S. action. A hero of hemispheric criminality has been lost, and the gangsters are sad. They may also be worried.
It has been a mistake to let Iran’s incursions into the region during the last two decades go unanswered. If the end of Soleimani is the beginning of a more muscular U.S. policy toward Tehran, it’s good news for Latin America.
Iran Looking to Undermine U.S. Leadership
Iran plays the long game in its effort to undermine U.S. leadership and expand its influence around the world. In the Western Hemisphere, the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence has taken the lead by establishing “cultural centers” in many urban areas, from which it can spread propaganda, proselytize, radicalize converts and recruit locals as spies.
Iran Looking to Secure Lithium Sources
Tehran was also looking to secure sources of lithium and support at the United Nations. Bolivia hoped to get hold of some Iranian drones; before he left, Mr. Zarif gave a speech at a public university to praise the deepening of ties between the two countries.
Ms. O’Grady also reports that, closer to home, a reliable intelligence source assured her that since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office 13 months ago, Iran has been getting closer to Mexico.
That fits the Soleimani pattern, continues Ms. O’Grady, adding that it is cause for alarm.
The end of the terrorist mastermind is a message to those in the region who harbor his networks.
More from M. A. O’Grady here.
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