By Yuram Abdullah Weiler

Hajj Qassem: On the cutting edge of Islamic Resistance

January 3, 2023 - 14:16

“And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay, they are alive, but you do not perceive”—Quran 2:154

General Hajj Qassem Soleimani was a unique, multi-dimensional individual who possessed impeccable moral character, unmatched leadership capability and military strategy skills in rare combination with a warm, caring and self-sacrificing personality. He was the embodiment of an exemplary Islamic leader, concerned for his soldiers, his country, Iran, and the entire Islamic Ummah, attaining martyrdom while honing the cutting edge of the Islamic Resistance movement.

Concerning Hajj Qassem’s efforts in training capable and effective Islamic resistance forces in Iran and throughout the countries now referred to as the “Axis of Resistance,” President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyyed Dr. Ebrahim Raisi said, “This work of Hajj Qassem created a huge potential in the World of Islam.”  The potential referred to here is what has been called the “School of Hajj Qassem Soleimani,” which includes being committed to the Islamic Revolution, having the wisdom and acumen to use courage on the path of God, observing Islamic legal principles, and taking care not to transgress against other people’s rights.

Born on March 11, 1957 in the small village of Qanat-e Malek in Kerman Province, Hajj Qassem went to work at age 13 as a construction laborer in the city of Kerman to help his father pay off a debt, which had been incurred as a result of Mohammad Reza Shah’s mismanaged and misguided White Revolution land reforms. In 1975 he went to work at the Kerman Water Organization, and by 1976, he was introduced to revolutionary activities by attending lectures given by Martyr Hojjat al-Eslam Reza Kamyab during the month of Ramadan. While still at the water works, young Hajj Qassem joined the Association of Honorary Guardsmen, the predecessor of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which had established a command post in Kerman by May of 1979.  

His natural strategic military prowess was quickly recognized, resulting in rapid advancement through the ranks, and soon, he was appointed commander of the IRGC Quds Force garrison in Kerman. After Saddam invaded Iran on September 22, 1980, the young commander participated in most major campaigns of the 8-year-long war imposed by Iraq, which is known in Iran as the Defa-e Moqaddas or Sacred Defense. He was promoted rapidly, and soon became the commander of the Forty-First Thar-Allah Division. Following the end of the war, he and his 41st Division were assigned the task of securing Kerman and Sistan and Baluchistan Province against drug cartels.  His success in carrying out these tasks led to his appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC Quds Force.

After the killing of nine Iranian diplomats and one Islamic Republic News Agency journalist in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Hajj Qassem was dispatched to deal with the new threats emanating from there. After amassing some two hundred thousand troops near the Iran-Afghanistan border, he demonstrated his strategic expertise by avoiding a direct clash with the Taliban, and instead guided operations in support of the United Islamic Front (Northern Alliance) for the protection of Iranian assets in Afghanistan.

When popular uprisings arose in early 2011 in various Muslim-majority countries, the U.S. saw a rare opportunity: by coopting them Washington would neutralize threats against its favored puppet rulers and incite and amplify protests in order to topple those governments, such as Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, which were perceived as challengers to U.S. hegemony. Likewise, Washington set out to destabilize Lebanon, where Hajj Qassem had trained and advised the fledgling Islamic Resistance Movement, Hezbollah, from the mid-1980s, and guided them to their humiliating defeat of the Zionist invaders during the 33-Day War in summer, 2006.  Through logistical support of what was al-Qaeda of Iraq, which morphed into the so-called Islamic State, the Washington war lords hoped to see the establishment of a “salafist principality” in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq. Thankfully, the U.S. failed to achieve its nefarious objectives in Syria and Iraq as a result of the diligent efforts made by Hajj Qassem in establishing and training the numerous components that make up the Islamic Resistance.

Of course, the U.S. was responsible for the creation of ISIS, as was admitted by former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. After ISIS had gained a foothold in Syria and Iraq, capturing the western part of the city of Erbil, President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq Masoud Barzani contacted officials in the U.S., Turkey, Britain, France and even Saudi Arabia for help, but none provided aid. Barzani then called on Hajj Qassem, who said he would be in Erbil the next morning with 50 men.  When Hajj Qassem arrived at the airport, he quickly headed for the conflict zone with his men, reorganized the Peshmerga forces, and within a few hours turned the tables on the ISIS terrorists. A most charismatic commander, Hajj Qassem, was always physically present among the fighters on the cutting edge of the resistance, confronting the U.S.-backed terrorists not only in Iraq, but also in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere in West Asia.

On January 3, 2020 while enroute to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi al-Muntafiki, Hajj Qassem was assassinated outside of Baghdad International Airport by order of the criminal occupant of the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Initially portrayed as a “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad” from imminent attack, the Heavenly Commander’s martyrdom operation carried out by terrorist U.S. armed forces was later justified under the pretext of responding to “an escalating series of attacks ... by Iran and Iran-backed militias,” contradicting the original pretense. Also killed in the illegal strike were deputy chairman of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (Al-Hashd al-Sha’bi or PMF) and commander of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with four Iraqi members of the PMF, Muhammed Reza al-Jaberi, Hassan Abdu al-Hadi, Muhammad al-Shaybani and Haider Ali. Additionally, four other Iranian members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Pourjafari, Shahroud Mozafarinia, Hadi Taremi and Vahid Zamanian were also martyred in the attack.

Astoundingly, the miscreants inside the Beltway even tried to justify their iniquitous assassination of Hajj Qassem by the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was intended to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam’s government and to address terrorist threats emanating from Iraq.  If that was not amply absurd, the corrupt U.S. war ministry lawyers even invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which applies in cases of national self-defense against attack, in order to justify their criminal act of killing General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and the others. U.S. Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs stated, “This legal theory is absurd. The 2002 authorization [AUMF] was passed to deal with Saddam Hussein. This law had nothing to do with Iran or Iranian government officials in Iraq.” UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnès Callamard concluded “in light of the evidence that the U.S. has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL, the U.S. is responsible.”

On January 8, 2020, the Islamic Republic of Iran took its own “decisive defensive action” against the satanic Washington regime, and initiated its retaliation by precision ballistic missile strikes on the occupiers’ positions in Iraq, including Ain al-Assad airbase from which the U.S. assassination drone strike killing General Hajj Qassem was launched. Over 100 U.S. soldiers received traumatic brain injury as a result of the retaliatory action by Iran. This is while the former commander-in-chief of the global arrogance, who himself managed to avoid serving in his country’s military, minimized the severity of Iran’s stunning pinpoint strike, quipping that he had “heard that they [the U.S. soldiers] had headaches and a couple of other things.”

As a consequence of the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem, and much to the dismay of the arrogant power’s strategic schemers, Iraq was compelled to further reinforce its existing close ties with Iran. Iraq’s parliament took the bold step of passing a resolution calling for the expulsion of the U.S. occupying forces from Iraq, thus making a clear statement by preferring to turn east to its neighbor and cut its ties with the Washington regime. “The vote confirms that if Iraqis are cornered and forced to choose between the United States and Iran,” writes Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Abbas Kadhim, “they will find it safer to choose Iran.”

Hajj Qassem was on the cutting edge of Islamic Resistance up to the very last moment of his earthly existence. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stated that Hajj Qassem’s “departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals.” May the forceful revenge against the global arrogance that martyred General Hajj Qassem Soleimani come speedily and soon, insha’Allah.


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