Who was Qasem Soleimani?

Matthew Grubin, Reporter

Ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which overthrew the Shah Mohammed Reva Pahlavi, for his westernization of Iran; Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was the leader put in place off the former Shah. Khomeini is a Shia leader, the leaders of Iran which followed, will also be Shia. Implementing Sharia law within Iranian society and turning away from Western influence, became a constant in Iran. Conflict became very persistent after the Iranian revolution. Countries surrounding Iran would turn against Iran, especially allies of the U.S. in this region. With, Iraq invading Iran in 1980, the Iraqi’s feared that Iran might become the dominant state situated near the Persian Gulf. Moreover, Iraq was aided by the U.S. and Arab countries. These countries did not agree with Iran’s diplomatic policies. There would be a power shift in Iran during this time. Many Generals in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, would rise through the ranks, and influence many of the decisions made in Iran. One of these generals is Qasem Soleimeni. 

Qasem Soleimani

  Who is Qasem Soleimani? A familiar name heard in the news today. According to Wikipedia, Qasem Soleimani was “Born March 11th, 1957, Qasem Soleimani is an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), from 1998 until his death in 2020, commander of its Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.” Clandestine operations are military operations, which go unnoticed by opposing forces. Qasem was the leader of the Quds force. The Quds Force is responsible for the death of thousands of Americans, which is why they are considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. According to History.com “some of the attacks carried about by The Quds Force are, the attack on U.S. forces near Kirkuk, Iraq in December 2019, attack on Israeli and U.S. embassies in Azerbaijan in March 2012, and the attack on the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, Iraq the gunmen who infiltrated the attack, captured four U.S. soldiers and killed them.” These attacks were ordered by Qasem Soleimani and Esmail Ghaani. Esmail worked with Qasem, on planning attacks, creating military tactics, and recruiting soldiers for the Quds Force. Esmail is now the current commander of the Quds Force, after Soleimani’s death in January 2020. 

  When the Syrian civil broke out in March 2011, Qasem Soleimani, quickly jumped on board to support the Syrian Government of Bashar Al-Assad. Soleimani assisted Bashar Al-Assad in creating military strategies that would push back rebel forces. The Quds Force was heavily involved with aiding the war effort. Soldiers, drones, and weapons were sent to Bashar’s forces. The collaboration, between Soleimani and Al-Assad, brought Syria and Iran close to each other. However, both nations were pushing the U.S. and the West out more and more.

In 1979, the U.S. placed a trade embargo on Iran. Preventing any trade with the nation; as Iran was deemed anti-American. 28 years later, in March 2007, Qasem Soleimani was added to a long list of individuals who were targeted by sanctions from the United Nations. The reason Soleimani was sanctioned, was because of his support towards the Syrian Government, in the Syrian Civil war. These sanctions would continue until 2018, because of Iran’s support towards Assad. Assad is considered a terrorist by the U.S. According to a United Nations report, there are several accounts of Bashar-Al Assad’s horrific actions; these are the accounts, “at least 191,000 people were confirmed killed in Syria as of April 2013. More than 8,800 were children under the age of 10,” “Children being trapped in torture chambers,” “Chemical weapon attacks on the Syrian people,” and “Syrian government forces and fighters from the brutal, pro-government militia known as the “Shabiha” (“ghosts” in Arabic) killed more than 100 civilians in May 2012. Half of the victims were children.” These actions were deemed, “motivated by terrorism,” according to the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

The European Union also placed sanctions on Soleimeni, for the same reasons the United Nations did. According to the official journal of the European Union, “three Iranian Revolutionary Guard members are now subject to sanctions had been “providing equipment and support to help the Syrian government suppress protests in Syria.” Furthermore, the official journal of the European Union stated, “Soleimeni also included a Syrian property firm, an investment fund and two other enterprises accused of funding the Syrian government.” The sanctions by the European Union, have proven to West, that Iran is in a state of Anti-Westernization.

President Donald Trump hosted a campaign rally in Milwaukee, after Soleimeni’s death. According to the New York Post, Donald Trump commented on Soleimeni’s death,” He was the king of roadside bombs. Great percentages of people don’t have legs right now and arms because of him.” Soleimani had been a target of the Trump administration since 2017. The Trump administration took notice of several attacks administrated by Soleimeni. In June 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ordered the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, on the condition that Soleimani had been involved in the death of Americans. 

In January 2020, Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike near the Baghdad International airport. Afterwards, the American embassy in Baghdad was attacked by an Iraqi Shia Militia. Soleimani’s death prompted fear worldwide, as many people speculated that “this is the start of WW3,” and, “Soleimani’s death could envoke terrorism in the U.S. and the western world.” However, the leader of Iran had something else to say. According to the Associated Press, “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said,” Oh Allah, they are in need of your mercy, and you are exalted above punishing your servants,” Khamenei said in prayer as he stood over a flag-draped casket with the remains of Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Friday.” Prompting his assassination. Overall, Qasem Soleimani has proven to the Western world, that he is a dangerous man with deep pockets. However, he was considered a leader who achieved greatness in Iran.