Meet the Iranian General 'Secretly Running' Iraq

An American official says of Qassem Suleimani: "He is indeed like Keyser Söze"

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The Guardian has published an intriguing profile on Qassem Suleimani, an Iranian general with unchallenged power over Iraqi politics. Martin Chulov writes:

Silver-haired, slight and with a perennial serene smile, Suleimani comes across as the most unlikely of warlords. Those who met him during the one time he traveled to Baghdad at the height of the 2006 sectarian conflict say he walked around the compounds of his two key hosts without bodyguards. The Americans did not know he had been in the capital until he was back in Iran and were deeply unhappy to learn that their arch enemy had been among them.

"He is indeed like Keyser Söze," said a senior US official this week – in reference to the legendary villain in the The Usual Suspects, whose ruthlessness and influence terrified everyone. "Nobody knew who he was and this guy's the same. He is everywhere, but nowhere."

The details of American military officials bowing to Suleimani and one of Iraq's deputy prime ministers comparing him to an angel are pretty Hollywood indeed. We smell a new Martin Scorsese script.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.