All Eyes On Iran

By Kenneth Dekleva

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva is a former physician-diplomat with the U.S. State Dept. and Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center and senior Fellow, George HW Bush Foundation for US-China Relations.  He is the author of two novels, The Negotiator's Cross and The Last ViolinistThe views expressed are his own and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government, State Dept., or UT Southwestern Medical Center.

OPINION — As 2019 drew to a close, while foreign adversary leaders such as President Putin, President Xi, and Chairman Kim often attracted the largest amount of media attention, the killing of Iran’s IRGC-Quds Force leader Major-General Qassem Soleimani is worthy of careful attention.  His recent tactical and strategic actions in the Middle East had threatened to wreak further havoc in that region, in effect forcing President Trump and his national security team to take decisive action.  His death represents a huge tactical and strategic victory for America, and it signals President Trump’s resolve, sending a strong message to Iran and to other ‘rogue’ states in the region and elsewhere.

In 1978, the late Uri Lubrani, Israel’s last Ambassador to Iran, accurately predicted the fall of the Shah, and the emergence of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, a prediction whose effects remain central to the Middle East today.  Lubrani, who later in his career became known as Israel’s ‘Mr. Iran,’ always warned westerners (as well as his fellow Israeli colleagues) about the perils of negotiating with the Iranians, whom he respected for their negotiating prowess, calling their manipulation of negotiations “a masterpiece of hoodwinking the world.”  He later articulated: “Bear in mind three things: They have 3,000 years of culture; they’re patient – a nation of carpet-weavers, and of chess players.”  So Lubrani’s sage advice is worth noting as President Trump – following the recent attacks on US facilities and personnel in Iraq by Iranian-backed militias, as well as the recent over-running of the US Embassy in Baghdad – continues to patiently and carefully mount a tactical and strategic response to Iran’s latest provocations in this 21st-century version of ‘The Great Game.’

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