Qasem Soleimani

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Qasem seen here holding Metal Gear for ransom.
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Turning towards Mecca

Major General Qasem Soleimani also Qassem Suleimani (b. 11 March 1957) is the head of the paramilitary Iranian Quds Force (Jerusalem Force). Suleimani reports directly to the Iranian Supreme Leader and Commander-in-Chief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The dude is camera-shy (which is smart) and only shows up when needed. Nevertheless, he is the most powerful Iranian in the Middle East, and many people see him as the de facto benefactor of Nouri al-MalikiWikipedia's W.svg and Haider al-AbadiWikipedia's W.svg in Iraq, along with Bashar al-Assad in Syria.[1]

Soleimani is named on U.S. Treasury Department and United Nations Security Council watch lists for his alleged involvement in terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies.[2]

Early career[edit]

Young Qasem Soleimani (on the right) as Commander of 41st IRGC Sarollah Division during the Iran-Iraq War of the '80s.

Soleimani joined the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRCG) in 1979. He participated in suppressing the 1979 Iranian Kurdish rebellionWikipedia's W.svg. During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War he was sent to the front very early to transport water, however by the end of the war he was commander of 41st Sarollah Division. After the war he returned to his home territory in eastern Iran, along the Afghan border, to combat narcotics traffickers.[3] The areas are impoverished and dominated by minority Sunni, and have always been difficult for the central Teheran government to control.[citation needed] Having earned a reputation for cleaning the place up, he was promoted to head the Iranian Quds Force in 1998.[citation needed]

War with America in Afghanistan and Iraq[edit]

Suleimani has been the point man for Iran's Iraqi policy and operations since 2003 with authority second only to the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.[4] Soleimani was granted power to employed the full range of diplomatic, security, intelligence, and economic tools to shape a more pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad.

In early 2008, the Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, handed a cell phone with a text message to CENTCOMWikipedia's W.svg commander and later CIA Director David PetraeusWikipedia's W.svg.

Dear General Petraeus, you should know that I, Qassem Suleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan. And indeed, the ambassador in Baghdad is a Quds Force member. The individual who’s going to replace him is a Quds Force member.[5]

Following the Iraqi regime's crackdown on Iranian-supported Sadrist militias in Basra in March 2008, Iran recalibrated its operations in Iraq to encompass more "soft power" (economic, religious, educational) support and investment as part of a broader "hearts and minds" campaign.

War with Saudi Arabia[edit]

Qasem Soleimani oversaw the Quds Force operatives who plotted the assassination of the Saudi Arabian AmbassadorWikipedia's W.svg to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, in the United States in 2011.

Syrian War[edit]

Solemeini was designated in May 2011 pursuant to Obama administration Executive Order 13572, targeting human rights abuses in Syria, for his role as the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force, the primary conduit for Iran's support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID).[6]

Gaza conflict[edit]

During the Gaza conflictWikipedia's W.svg Soleimani issued a rare public, almost poetic, statement in support of Hamas, saying

God damn any oppressor who defended and defends this criminal regime. They defended and do defend them, especially the leader of this global tyranny, America.[7]

War with Daesh[edit]

After the fall of Mosul in June 2014, Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Malaki asked Soleimani to take command of what was left of the Iraqi National Army in addition to the proxy militias Soleimani already was commanding in Iraq.[8]

Suleimani was reported injured in December 2014 in combat with Daesh, although official Iranian news outlets denied this. In March 2015 he led the effort to retake the city of Tikrit from Daesh occupation.[9]