Mustafa al-kadhimi

Why the US assassination of Iran’s top general didn’t spark a war

Iran’s new meddler-in-chief in Iraq is a bespectacled general called Esmail Ghaani. Brought in to replace Qassem Soleimani after his death in a US airstrike in January, he has the same green uniform as his predecessor, the same grey beard, and the same orders to make Iraq’s Shia militias do Tehran’s bidding. That, though, is where the similarities end. Soleimani was a legend among his followers in Iraq — he spent years building contacts with local commanders and joined them on the battlefield against Isis in Mosul. Ghaani, by contrast, is an owlish, uncharismatic figure who looks like he might be happier behind a desk. Unlike Soleimani, he doesn’t speak