Tom Friedman: Soleimani Ruined Iran with an Empire It Can’t Afford

Qasem Suleimani (Atta Kenare / Getty)
Atta Kenare / Getty

Tom Friedman of the New York Times noted this past weekend that in killing Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the U.S. rid Iran of an incompetent leader who created a hated regional empire for Iran and brought it to financial ruin.

Friedman wrote:

He and Iran’s supreme leader launched an aggressive regional imperial project that made Iran and its proxies the de facto controlling power in Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana. This freaked out U.S. allies in the Sunni Arab world and Israel — and they pressed the Trump administration to respond. Trump himself was eager to tear up any treaty forged by President Obama, so he exited the nuclear deal and imposed oil sanctions on Iran that have now shrunk the Iranian economy by almost 10 percent and sent unemployment over 16 percent.

All that for the pleasure of saying that Tehran can call the shots in Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana. What exactly was second prize?

Many of his obituaries say that he led the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq, in tacit alliance with America. Well, that’s true. But what they omit is that Suleimani’s, and Iran’s, overreaching in Iraq helped to produce the Islamic State in the first place.

Finally, it was Suleimani’s project of making Iran the imperial power in the Middle East that turned Iran into the most hated power in the Middle East for many of the young, rising pro-democracy forces — both Sunnis and Shiites — in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

Read Friedman’s full column here.

Democrats plan to introduce and vote on a resolution this week that would declare President Donald Trump’s attack on Soleimani “disproportionate” and limit the president’s ability to respond to whatever Iran might to do retaliate.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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