A glance at Gen. Soleimani’s anti-terrorism record

January 6, 2020 - 21:13

In spite of the hegemonic powers’ widespread propaganda campaign against Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani to create an illogical pro-violence image of him, a glance at the general’s biography will provide a different story.

General Soleimani’s lifestyle, thoughts, activities, discipline, management capability and his self-sacrifice in countering the real threats against international peace and security can easily lead the public opinion worldwide towards realizing that who the assassinated commander was and who the assassinators are.

The Pentagon said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump had ordered the killing of Qassem Soleimani in an air raid on Baghdad’s international airport on Friday morning. 

The assassination operation was reportedly planned by Michael D’ Andrea, the chairman of the Iran Operation Desk at CIA.

Biography

Soleimani was born on 11 March 1957 in the village of Qanat-e Malek, Kerman Province, in southeast Iran. He grew up in a farmer family. In his youth, he moved to the city of Kerman and worked as a construction worker to help his father financially. In 1975, he began working as a contractor for the Kerman Water Organization. When not at work, he spent his time lifting weights in local gyms.

Military career
 
Soleimani joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in 1979 following the Islamic Revolution. Reportedly, his training was minimal, but he advanced rapidly.

Soleimani began his serious military career at the beginning of Iraq’s war against Iran in the 1980s, during which he eventually commanded the 41st Division. He was later involved in extraterritorial operations, providing military assistance to the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

From 1998 until his martyrdom on January 3, 2020, he was commander of the IRGC Quds Force.

Cultural depictions

He was described as having "a calm presence" and as carrying himself "inconspicuously and rarely raising his voice", exhibiting "humble charisma".

Unlike other IRGC commanders, he usually did not appear in his official military clothing, even on the battlefield.


Soleimani’s role in war on Takfiri terrorists in Syria
 
In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government in the war against terrorist groups, particularly in its operations against the ISIL (Daesh) terrorist group and its offshoots.

Soleimani found out at the beginning of the Syria crisis that the popular protests in the Arab country are turning into an armed conflict against the Damascus government. The general had found out that certain regional countries with the support of their Western friends are hatching a plot against Syria via arming militants and flocking a large number of al-Qaeda terrorists to the war-hit country to finally bring Damascus to its knees. This strategy was intended to force Syria to abdicate the resistance front against the hegemonic powers and the Zionist regime of Israel.
 
Soleimani not only played a key role in defeating Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups but he was one of the key commanders in damaging Daesh, also called ISIL or ISIS. 

Soleimani was reportedly the commander of Syria’s 4th Armored Division in liberating Aleppo, the second largest Syrian city, from militants.  

In 2015, he was reportedly the main architect of involving Russia as a new partner with Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese Hezbollah in the war on terrorism.

Soleimani was the man who saved Iraq from ISIL 

Soleimani also assisted in the command of the combined Iraqi government and popular forces of Hash al-Shaabi that advanced against the ISIL terrorists in 2014–2015.

He was in the Iraqi city of Amerli to work with the Iraqi forces to push back ISIL.


In 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that Amerli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIL invasion. It said the city was secured thanks to "an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers and Iranian-backed popular forces under the command of General Soleimani. 


A senior Iraqi official told the BBC at the time that when the city of Mosul fell into ISIL, the rapid reaction of the Iranian commander, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse.

Soleimani also seemed to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amerli in Salahuddin province.

In fact, the Quds Force operatives under Soleimani's command were deeply involved with the Iraqi army and popular forces as well as the Kurdish fighters in the battle of Amerli. This not only provided liaisons for intelligence-sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to "providing expertise".

Soleimani also played an integral role in organizing the crucial operation to retake the Iraqi city of Tikrit from ISIL.

In January 2015, Hadi Al-Ameri, the head of the Badr Organization in Iraq, said of him: "If Qassem Soleimani was not present in Iraq, former Iraqi Premier Haider al-Abadi would not be able to form his cabinet.”

Lt. Gen. Soleimani declares end of ISIL in Syria and Iraq 

Back in November 2017, Soleimani issued a statement declaring the end of ISIL, as the Iraqi and Syrian armies, backed by popular forces and Iranian military advisors, managed to flush ISIL militants out of their last strongholds in both countries.

Reactions to Soleimani’s martyrdom 


After his martyrdom, a number of senior Iranian, regional and international figures expressed their condolences over his assassination and talked about his personality. 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, said, “He was a stellar example of those educated and nurtured in Islam and the school of Imam Khomeini. He spent his entire life engaging in jihad in the path of God.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed disgust at the American forces’ terrorist and criminal move to martyr the “honored commander of the army of Islam”.

“The malice and stupidity of American terrorist forces who assassinated General Soleimani, a hero martyr and a commander of the fight against terrorism and extremism, will undoubtedly further strengthen the tree of resistance in the region and the world,” Zarif went on to say.

Speaking on TV on Friday night, Zarif also called General Soleimani a “humble” and “moderate” person who avoided emotional behavior.
 
Former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called General Soleimani the brave commander of Islam. 

Mousavi Lari, who served as interior minister in the Khatami administration, said “sincerity” was Soleimani’s main cause of his popularity among all walks of life. 

President Rouhani, who had gone to Soleimani’s house to condole his family, said, “Soleimani was not only a military commander but also a politician and strategist.”

Rouhani said not only the Iranian nation but also all Muslims and free-hearted people of the world are mourning the loss of the honorable commander.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said, “General Soleimani was a brilliant epitome and model of iron wills who was nurtured in the school of Islam.”

Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Ra’eisi said, “Hundreds of Soleimanis will rise to wreak havoc on the eyes of the U.S. terrorist government and international terrorism around the world.”

In the meantime, Mohammad Reza Aref, a top reformist figure and lawmaker, praised Soleimani’s personality and said the general enjoyed moral self-controlling behaviors in addition to his braveness.     

Mostafa Mo’ein, a 2005 presidential candidate and a former science minister, compared General Soleimani with top historical figures like Amir Kabir, Mohammad Mosadeq, Lieutenant General Ali Sayad Shirazi, and Mostafa Chamran. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, stressed that the killing of Commander Qassem Soleimani violated the norms of international law.

U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also warned that the killing of Gen. Soleimani will destabilize the region and puts the U.S. on the path to another war.

U.S. Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress expressed outrage over Trump's ordered strike, saying the Republican president did not obtain congressional approval.

Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, a reformist minded Iranian writer, described General Soleimani as “the competent worthy son of Iran”. 

Seyed Mahmoud Shahroudi, the Leader’s representative in Kurdistan province, said, “If martyr Soleimani was not at the scene, Damascus, Baghdad, and the Iraqi Kurdistan had fallen into the hands of Daesh.”

The general was also placed on the list of top Global Thinkers in defense and security fields by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2019.

The Iran newspaper wrote on the front page that “The Country Is Mourning for This Man”.

The front page of Sharq, a reformist newspaper, also read “Iran Is Mourning for This Man”.

Etemad, another reformist daily, headlined “The Sorrow of His Demise Is Not Imaginable”.

Writing in the Etemad newspaper published on Saturday, Ali Motahari, a leading independent lawmaker, said, “Following assassination of commander Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their colleagues, and Donald Trump’s words that ‘Washington is not after waging war’ is nothing but a sign of the U.S. president’s mental disorder.”

MJ

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