The assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani of Iran by the United States was an unprecedented escalation in the 40-year stand-off between the two countries. Maj-Gen Soleimani was the powerful head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' special operations forces, the Quds Force, and we can expect retaliation across the region. But the killing will not in itself weaken the Revolutionary Guards or Iran's role in the region.
The idea that Maj-Gen Soleimani was all powerful and that the Quds Force will now retreat, or that Iran's ties with Shi'ite armed groups in Iraq and Lebanon like Hizbollah will suffer, belies a superficial, and frankly ideological, understanding of Iran and the Revolutionary Guards.
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