Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and, from 1998 until his death, commander of its Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. The US Department of Defense confirmed it killed Soleimani. There are some Americans who think that it was immoral that President Trump ordered his assassination.
By Mary Beth
Let’s have some straight talk on #Soleimani, shall we?
1. Suleimani took command of the Quds Force over 20 years ago and his job was to reshape the Middle East in Iran’s favor: thru military force, by assassinating rivals and arming allies.
2. His twenty year focus was directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of U.S in #Iraq and others.
3. I know of only ONE American who has ever met him, John Maguire. He described him as soft-spoken yet the most powerful man in the Middle East. Thoughtful, strategic, smart, charismatic – 100% dedicated.
4. He personally ran Iran’s war in Syria and brought in thousands of Quds Force when Assad’s army began to fail.
5. Suleimani and Nasrallah of Hezbollah Lebanon are old friends and cooperate globally where Hezbollah has performed terrorist acts at Iran’s behest.
6. His power came from his impeccable revolutionary credentials and his close relationship with Khamenei, The Supreme Leader, who has referred to Suleimani as “a living martyr of the revolution.” [he is now a ‘deceased martyr’]. Suleimani is a hard-line supporter of Iran’s authoritarian system but is rich and has built the IRGC into an economic powerhouse.
7. He hated Israel and Jews and was well known to its intelligence services as a superbly effective operative; in some ways, he was both hated and admired.
8. Suleimani orchestrated terrorist attacks in places as far-flung as Thailand, New Delhi, Argentina, Lagos, and Nairobi— at least fifty attempts in the past 20 years. The most notorious was in 2011 against #SA Ambass AdelalJubeir when Iran hired a drug cartel to blow him up at in D.C. Suleimani’s agent turned out to be a #DEA informant
9. Suleimani was pragmatic. He worked indirectly with Ryan Crocker of State Dept in helping the U.S target the Taliban and in selecting Shia officials for the new Iraqi Gov’t.
10. That cooperation was short-lived, however. In 2004, the Quds Force began flooding Iraq with “explosively formed projectiles “ that accounted for nearly twenty per cent of U.S Iraq combat deaths. Roadside E.F.P.s were made by skilled technicians in Iran and were supplied by Qods Force. They also resulted in tens of thousands of maimed U.S and Iraqi soldiers.
11. In recent years, the IRGC has posted social media videos of Soleimani directing attacks in Mosul and against Iraqi Kurd forces. He traveled widely and had unprecedented autonomy in carrying out his military-terrorist mandate.
12. Those who refer to his death as “political assassination” of a “foreign official” are either grossly ill-informed or willfully blind. In my experience, his involvement in targeting U.S military personnel alone made him a legitimate target of at least TWO U.S Presidents.
Although Donald Trump is the first to have succeeded, on at least two occasions of which I am aware, previous operations in other administrations were canceled due to intel or other complicating factors.
11. Given the prominence of Soleimani in all of Iran’s extra-territorial operations, both military and civilians have considered the implications of directing operations against him on multiple occasions, including 2nd and 3rd order impacts/retaliation from various adversaries.
12. I hope this is useful. There is an excellent profile of Soleimani from Dexter Filkins @NewYorker from 2013 that gave a good feel for Soleimani, using excellent sources.