Iranian Official Pulls Iraq Strings

Reserved and little known, Qassim Suleimani is the Iranian official behind much of his country’s policy in Iraq and Syria, a role that has sometimes put him on a collision course with American policy in the region. Recently unearthed classified documents provide new insight into the role Suleimani played as general in Iran’s armed forces, especially as the American military in Iraq faced Iranian operatives under his control. Described as “a truly evil figure” in a letter Gen. David H. Petraeus sent to then-Defense secretary Robert M. Gates, Suleimani remains a key figure in the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy as it seeks to further exert its influence in the region.