Was he indispensable? No one ever is and some of his aura was probably overblown, but he will certainly be hard to replace. So there is anger too among his supporters, allies, and proxy militias, who were devoted to him, lionized him, and will now be lost without him, at least for a while. Though his deputy has been appointed to take his place, there is no one for the moment with his gravitas to step in.

(There was also outrage—on what grounds can the U.S. assassinate anyone, regardless of who Soleimani was? Then again, Iran and Soleimani did the same thing, in Latin America—remember Buenos Aires 1994?—and the Middle East. That doesn’t make the approach right, but anger only at American actions seems one-sided.)

Soleimani was so central to almost every regional event in the past two decades that even people who hate him can’t believe he could die, a bit like people couldn’t believe that Saddam Hussein was really gone. What happens in his absence? What comes next: war? Chaos? Limited retaliation? Nothing? No one like Soleimani has been assassinated in recent history. As the Lebanese journalist Alia Ibrahim tweeted: Donald Trump made his move; now it’s up to Khamenei, while the rest of us wait to find out whether tomorrow is a better day or a new phase in a seemingly endless cycle of violence. For now, in parts of Syria, some are passing trays of baklava to celebrate Soleimani’s death.