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Middle East

After the UK ambassador got arrested by the Mad Mullahs of Iran, this debate may be over quicker than we thought.

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What a difference a day makes. When I went to bed on 2 January what seemed to be the most important issue in the Middle East was the long-term impact of the brave – if desperate – mass protests in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. Many were trying to extract some positive meaning: were they the precursor of a renewed popular drive for better governance in some of the key states of the region? Could they shake the stability of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its grip on the greater Levant? Or would they be suppressed and ignored, only to recur more virulently, as had happened so many times before?

When I woke up on 3 January, the world had changed. The US drone strikes that killed Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al Muhandis were a salutary shock of a sort we hadn’t had for decades. Soleimani, it was thought, was off limits. Clearly Soleimani thought the same. Big mistake.

To read more on Spectator:

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You may also like to read:

* Mad Mullahs at it again: Tehran closes 547 restaurants for breaking ‘Islamic principles’

* Some Iranian women take off hijabs as hard-liners push back

* The Modern Art collection of Iran

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