The U.S. airstrike that killed the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week has brought tensions between the two countries to a boiling point, with Iran vowing to avenge the killing. Soleimani was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the country’s top intelligence commander. The United States says he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service members during the Iraq War.
But Soleimani also had critics in the region, including thousands of Iraqi demonstrators who had taken to the streets in recent months to protest Iran’s growing influence in Iraq’s political affairs. A recent report published jointly by the New York Times and the Intercept relied on hundreds of leaked intelligence cables to outline just how deep that influence runs.
On First Person, Foreign Policy podcast this week, we hear from the New York Times reporter Farnaz Fassihi. She was a member of the investigative team that brought the leaked cables to light. Fassihi is also the author of the book Waiting for An Ordinary Day, a memoir of her four years covering the Iraq War and witnessing the unraveling of social life for Iraqi citizens.