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Ryan Crocker: The Long Battle With Iran

Was the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, an act of war? If it was, it was a war in which the United States and Iran were already joined.

That war goes back to Lebanon in the early 1980s, where General Suleimani’s predecessors created what became Hezbollah. Iran, with Syria, helped stage the 1983 bombings of the American Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans involved in a peacekeeping mission. As a young Foreign Service officer who survived those bombings, I saw how Iran succeeded in forcing the United States to withdraw its forces from Lebanon through terrorism.

Later, as ambassador in Lebanon, I helped load the remains of two Americans killed by Hezbollah — the Beirut C.I.A. station chief, William Buckley, and Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins — on a helicopter just before Christmas 1991. In Syria, as ambassador from 1998 to 2001, I witnessed the coordination between Syria and Iran in support of Hezbollah and the close embrace of Hezbollah’s leader by President Bashar al-Assad. As ambassador to Iraq years later, I stood at ramp ceremonies honoring our service members killed by Shiite militias supported by General Suleimani...

Read the full text on The New York Times


Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker served as U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon from 1990-1993; Kuwait from 1994-1997; Syria from 1998-2001; Iraq from 2007-2009; and Afghanistan from 2011-2012.


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