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Islamic State’s Revival Is Back in Play

Iran’s most revered general was lauded for helping put down the extremist group, yet he also contributed to its rise.

A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State group in a tunnel that was reportedly used as a training centre by the jihadists, in Albu Sayf, near Mosul, on March 1, 2017.

A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State group in a tunnel that was reportedly used as a training centre by the jihadists, in Albu Sayf, near Mosul, on March 1, 2017.

Photographer: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images
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When Iraq’s prime minister declared a final victory over Islamic State in December 2017, he paid tribute to the militias that had repelled the jihadists. Many of them had been guided by Qassem Soleimani.

Less than a month earlier, dozens of fighters crowded round the smiling Iranian general as he toured Al-Bukamal just across the border in Syria after helping them flush the extremist group from the town.