Four Corners next Monday is a BBC report, Shadow Commander: Iran’s military mastermind.
“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.” US President Donald Trump
In increasingly alarming scenes, the United States and Iran are facing off in the Middle East. Tensions have been escalating steadily for the last two months, driven by concerns over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear capabilities. In the past two weeks, these tensions have ratcheted up even further with unprovoked attacks on oil tankers and the shooting down of a US military drone and imposition of US sanctions. There are concerns that the two nations are headed towards military conflict.
“I am your match… You’re making a big mistake. You know how powerful we are in the region. You will start this war but we will determine its end.” Major General Qassem Suleimani
The key figure in Iran’s strategic manoeuvring, and one of the most powerful military figures in the Middle East, is a shadowy figure in Iran’s feared Revolutionary Guard.
“We can see him as the, the Darth Vader of contemporary Middle Eastern politics.” Former US Ambassador Ryan Crocker
“We saw Qassem Suleimani as a very capable, charismatic, skilled, professional competent, diabolically evil human being.” General (Ret) David Petraeus, US Forces Commander & former CIA Director
In this timely program from the BBC, a portrait of Iran’s military ambitions, and the man masterminding them emerges.
“He started to become a commander, also sort of a spy, but he seemed to have more power than any kind of person on our side ever had.” General (Ret) Stanley McChrystal, US Special Operations, Iraq 2003 – 2006
Featuring interviews with key American and British defence and intelligence figures who have gone toe to toe with Iran for decades, the program outlines how Major General Suleimani’s Iranian forces have repeatedly intervened in key conflicts like the Iraq war.
“It was a constant arms race. Their bombs got bigger, our protection got bigger.” Major General (Retd) Jonathan Shaw, British Forces, Southern Iraq 2007
The program charts the conflicts between the US and Iran and the missed opportunities to put their hostilities aside.
“We all realised this development opened up a moment in which the United States and Iran could cooperate effectively. We both had the same enemies… (The) axis of evil (speech) slammed that door shut and it has not since reopened.” Former US Ambassador Ryan Crocker
As fears grow of an armed confrontation, veteran Iran watchers urge caution.
“We can play his game, we can fight him, but I think if we want peace in the Middle East and the region, we’ve got to understand where he’s coming from and what he wants, unless you want to be in a perpetual conflict with Iran.” Major General (Retd) Jonathan Shaw, British Forces, Southern Iraq 2007
Monday 1st July at 8.30pm on ABC.