Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Iran’s cranky leaders

Iran’s leaders get what Obama is up to, and are cranky about it. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chewed out visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talbani over the weekend, warning him, according to the official Iranian news agency, that "the occupiers were preparing the ground for a long and permanent presence in Iraq." I suspect that Obama’s ...

Iran's leaders get what Obama is up to, and are cranky about it. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chewed out visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talbani over the weekend, warning him, according to the official Iranian news agency, that "the occupiers were preparing the ground for a long and permanent presence in Iraq." I suspect that Obama's ploy bothers Iran because it calculates that it is the long-term winner in Iraq, and wants Uncle Sam to bug out within a couple of years so it can begin to collect its winnings.

Meanwhile, Iran is sending former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to Iraq to talk some sense into the Baghdad government. Also, the Iranian government has detained Roxana Saberi, an American freelance journalist (and former Miss North Dakota) who works a lot for NPR. She should be released immediately.

Iran’s leaders get what Obama is up to, and are cranky about it. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chewed out visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talbani over the weekend, warning him, according to the official Iranian news agency, that "the occupiers were preparing the ground for a long and permanent presence in Iraq." I suspect that Obama’s ploy bothers Iran because it calculates that it is the long-term winner in Iraq, and wants Uncle Sam to bug out within a couple of years so it can begin to collect its winnings.

Meanwhile, Iran is sending former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to Iraq to talk some sense into the Baghdad government. Also, the Iranian government has detained Roxana Saberi, an American freelance journalist (and former Miss North Dakota) who works a lot for NPR. She should be released immediately.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

A propaganda poster from the 1960s shows Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
A propaganda poster from the 1960s shows Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Xi’s Great Leap Backward

Beijing is running out of recipes for its looming jobs crisis—and reviving Mao-era policies.

A textile worker at the Maxport factory in Hanoi on Sept. 21, 2021.
A textile worker at the Maxport factory in Hanoi on Sept. 21, 2021.

Companies Are Fleeing China for Friendlier Shores

“Friendshoring” is the new trend as geopolitics bites.

German children stand atop building rubble in Berlin in 1948.
German children stand atop building rubble in Berlin in 1948.

Why Superpower Crises Are a Good Thing

A new era of tensions will focus minds and break logjams, as Cold War history shows.

Vacationers sit on a beach in Greece.
Vacationers sit on a beach in Greece.

The Mediterranean as We Know It Is Vanishing

From Saint-Tropez to Amalfi, the region’s most attractive tourist destinations are also its most vulnerable.