In early 2008, Gen. Soleimani passed a message to then-commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, via Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi. "General Petraeus, you should know that I, Qasem Soleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan," he said, according to an official familiar with the incident.
With the end of the Iraq war—and the spread of Arab Spring popular uprisings across the region over the past year—the U.S.'s conflict with Gen. Soleimani and the Qods Force has expanded into new territory. The U.S. publicly alleges that Iran has been working to overthrow American allies in Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain. Tehran has accused Washington of propping up Arab monarchs and despots in the Persian Gulf to protect U.S. energy and security interests.
The center of this conflict now is Syria, where Iran's closest Arab ally, President Assad, is facing a broad challenge to his family's 40-year rule.>>>
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