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Departures Podcast with Arash Azizi

When former President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike which claimed the life of General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, it irrecoverably changed the future path of the country and region at large.

This week we are proud to have a special guest, the Iranian historian and NYU professor Arash Azizi to discuss his new book, “The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, the US, and Iran’s Global Ambitions,” which provides a riveting account of the life of one of the most influential figures in modern Middle Eastern history.

According to Azizi, had Soleimani not been killed in that drone strike, it would be very likely that he would emerge as the next presidential candidate – a role that his daughter is now appearing to fulfill. The military career of Soleimani was outstanding in several respects, but notably for the level of hubris he displayed which was uncommon among Iran’s military leadership.

“He published Game of Thrones-themed memes against Donald Trump prepared by his team on Twitter, he threatened Pakistan with a military incursion over some issues, and even threatened the Sunni king of Bahrain with a coup,” Azizi says. “These were things that the top military commanders in Iran had never done, they had learned to be more diplomatic. But that’s the level of confidence and hubris that Soleimani displayed.”