Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
We’re including here articles by The Saker, who named Soleimani, among others, his Man of the Year in 2015; South Front, which gives a military retrospective; Eric Zuesse, who reveals the politically partisan nature of US media coverage of his murder (my choice as ER Editor, not Zuesse’s, a word Alexander Mercouris of The Duran deliberately uses); Kevin Barrett, who highlights the role Soleimani played against American-Zionist imperial interests in the region; and, who explains how cutting-edge Soleimani was in developing successful military strategy and what kind of values Soleimani – in life and death – represents.
In passing, we recommend Ron Paul‘s recent consideration of the situation in a video piece titled Why Was Soleimani Assassinated? In it, he wisely advises American libertarians to exercise a healthy dose of scepticism about US media coverage of Soleimani.
Saker 2015 Man of the Year: Major-General Qasem Soleimani
Qasem Soleimani is a General in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Commander of the IRGC elite “Quds Force” which is, reportedly, in charge of extraterritorial and clandestine operations for the IRGC. Soleimani has had a long and prestigious career, but he still is a real “front line” general who recently got wounded in Syria.
According to some sources, Soleimani participated in the development of the Russian military intervention in Syria. Currently Soleimani appears to be in charge of all the Iranian forces in Syria. According to Iranian sources Soleimani personally set-up the team which rescued Captain Myrakhtin. The team was composed of 18 Syrian special forces members and six Hezbollah fighters and Russian special forces.
Here is the only photo of that ad-hoc team I have been able to find:
What is certain is that Soleimani and the Iranian and Hezbollah forces are playing an absolutely crucial role in Syria and that their role will only become more important. Soleimani thus very much deserves to be nominated as my man of the year.
For the first time in the history of Iran, a red flag was raised over the Holy Dome of Jamkaran Mosque in the holy city of Qom both symbolizing blood spilled unjustly and serving as a call to avenge a person who is killed. “Those who want to avenge the blood of Hussein,” read the words of the war flag. This was done in honor of General Qassem Suleimani, who, along with several other Iranian and Iraqi commanders, was assassinated in US strikes on Baghdad. The red flag was not even raised during the Iran-Iraq war (September 22, 1980 – August 20, 1988), the longest and bloodiest conflict in the history of modern Iran, known in it as the Holy Defense.
The raised flag demonstrates both the Iranian resolve to respond to the act of state terrorism committed by the United States and the significance of the personality of Soleimani for the state and nation. The general, once described by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a “living martyr of the revolution”, was the most effective battlefield commander of the modern world and one of the key people behind the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In March 2019, Soleimani was awarded the Order of Zulfaqar, Iran’s highest military order.
During his life, Suleimani was a living legend overseeing operations abroad, achieving key military diplomatic victories and spreading Tehran’s influence around the Middle East. After his death he has become an icon of the resistance both in Iran and in a large part of the Arab world. His assassination drastically increased the likelihood of an open military conflict between the US and Iran, a conflict which could easily set the entire region on fire.
Born to an impoverished family in 1957, Soleimani joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) after the Iranian revolution in 1979. He rose to prominence commanding troops during the Iran-Iraq War (ER: it lasted from 1980 to 1988). After the war, Soleimani largely disappeared from public view until 2011, when he took over the IRGC’s expeditionary Qods Force and was promoted to Major General by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Over the course of his career, he developed close ties with Kurdish groups in Iraq, assisted Hezbollah in Lebanon and led Iranian military operations assisting Syrian and Iraqi troops in battles against terrorists, primarily ISIS. Soleimani was frequently pictured on key frontlines from Iraq’s Mosul to Syria’s Aleppo. For example, in 2014, he helped to forge the defense of Baghdad against encroaching ISIS terrorists. In 2015 he assisted the Iraqi government in operations to retake the oil-rich city of Tikrit from ISIS. In 2017 the General took personal command of the battle against ISIS in Syria’s Bukamal. The success of the Syrian-Iranian-Russian coalition in the Syrian war can to a great extent be attributed to actions of the Qods Force leader and the Russian military power backing him. In Yemen, Soleimani’s Qods Force successfully helped local resistance forces to break the plans of the invading coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Thus, Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis) kept Yemen’s capital in their hands, spread the war onto the territory of Saudi Arabia and de-facto achieved a military victory in a conflict with a numerically superior and technologically advanced enemy. Iranian media repeatedly reported on assassination plots against the commander by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The outcome of the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen undermined the positions of these powers in the region, thus creating a vacuum which Iran proceeded to fill.
The role of Soleimani for the Iranian nation can be compared to that of Soviet ‘Marshal of Victory’ Georgy Zhukov (pictured) in 1945, taking into account the difference in scale of the wars and victories, as well as the different geography and historical period. Soleimani’s popularity was such that there was speculation that he might run for president. In 2016, a poll showed that 76% of Iranians held a favorable view of him, with more than half reporting a “very favorable” opinion. He denied the rumors, saying he hoped to remain a soldier until the end of his life.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for three days of mourning, saying Soleimani’s death will double the motivation of the resistance against the US and Israel. Khamenei emphasized that harsh revenge awaits the “criminals” who killed Soleimani. Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Iraq and Iran mourning his death and condemning the US aggression, which is viewed by many as a declaration of war.
Trump Assassinated the Leading General Who Fought Against ISIS
For the Saker Blog
Even some mainstream U.S. ‘news’ media (but none that are Republican) acknowledge the fact that Qasem Soleimani was among the most effective of all nations’ generals who fought against ISIS. Other mainstream U.S. ‘news’ media seem very reluctant to do so, because the entirety of America’s mainstream ‘journalism’ has spewed hatred against Iran’s Government after Iranians in 1979 succeeded at overthrowing the dictator Shah, whom America’s CIA had installed in 1953 to end Iran’s democracy and to control the country, and he privatized the National Iranian Oil company and cut America’s aristocrats in on the profits from sales of Iranian oil. (Under George W. Bush, the U.S. Government did basically the same thing to Iraq’s oil industry.) So, America’s mainstream ‘news’ media, which are owned by the same aristocracy that imposed Iran’s dictatorship in 1953, have portrayed Iran’s #2 leader, General Qasem Soleimani, as a ‘terrorist’, instead of as the leading fighter against ISIS, which he actually was.
On 3 January 2020, Ilan Goldenberg, of the Democratic Party neoconservative Center for a New American Security, headlined in the Council on Foreign Relations’s Foreign Affairs, “Will Iran’s Response to the Soleimani Strike Lead to War?” and only two references to ISIS were there, both buried in his article: “He led Iran’s campaign to arm and train Shiite militias in Iraq — militias responsible for the deaths of an estimated 600 American troops from 2003 to 2011— and became the chief purveyor of Iranian political influence in Iraq thereafter, most notably through his efforts to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).” And: “ISIS retains an underground presence and could take advantage of the chaos of an American withdrawal or a U.S.-Iranian conflict to improve its position in Iraq.” So, it’s hard for a reader there to figure out that Trump actually assassinated ISIS’s main enemy.
On January 4th, Marketwatch headlined “Who was Qassem Soleimani, and why is his death a major development in U.S.-Middle East relations?” and there was only a single reference to ISIS, the source being Iran, which that article was criticizing: “In a tweet, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the strike that killed the general as an act of international terrorism: ‘The US act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani — THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al — is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,’ he said.”
Some of America’s mainstream ‘news’ media portrayed the killing of Soleimani as being damaging to America’s ability to continue occupying Iraq and therefore harmful to the fight against ISIS because the U.S. — not Iran and Russia — lead the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. In other words: they presume that lie. Politico headlined on January 3rd, “How the Soleimani strike could kneecap the fight against ISIS” and opened:
The U.S. strike that killed Iran’s top military leader could put America’s fight against the Islamic State in jeopardy, opening the door to the reemergence of the terrorist group.
The Thursday night attack on Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani could also prompt the government in Iraq to kick U.S. troops out of the country, ending America’s mission to train the Iraqi military to fight terrorist groups.
U.S. troops have deployed to Iraq since 2014 to fight ISIS and train Iraqi forces with permission from the Iraqi government. As part of this agreement, Iraq asked the U.S. specifically not to target Iran within the country, a request America has now violated “in flagrant fashion” with the strike on Soleimani near the Baghdad airport, said Scott Anderson, a former legal adviser to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“This is going to put a lot of pressure on those aspects of our relationship they have control over,” Anderson, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Friday. … “If we can’t be in Iraq, we can’t be in Syria,” Barbara Slavin, the director of the Future Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, said Friday.
They don’t mention that both Brookings and the Atlantic Council are neoconservative, pro-imperialist, and controlled by (overwhelmingly funded by) large U.S.-based international corporations and U.S.-allied governments, which benefit from U.S.-and-allied arms-sales and oil-extraction. So, that’s just a standard propaganda-piece from Politico, pumping the U.S. empire.
For once, CNN broke with U.S. imperialism, and headlined on January 3rd, “Analysis: It’s important to remember the role Soleimani played in the fight against ISIS”. Perhaps because CNN is controlled by Democratic Party billionaires instead of by Republican-Party ones, they reported that:
It is important to remember the role both he and Iran played in the fight against ISIS.
While US aircraft, special forces and local allies fought ISIS in Syria, as well as in Iraq, Iranian-backed militia also pushed the terror group back in Iraq. Soleimani was reported to have often led that fight from the front line …
The 62-year-old led Iran’s elite Quds Force, which had a hand in both fighting the Islamic State militant group and U.S. forces.
There was no contradiction between those two positions shared both by Soleimani and Iran, because ISIS was created as a fundamentalist-Sunni U.S. proxy fighting force against Iraq’s Shiites. There was also this:
Long known as the ‘shadow commander’ in Western media, his profile was raised in 2015 as Iranian outlets began releasing photos of him in the battlefield guiding the war against ISIS. …
Soleimani is also credited with fighting the Islamic State militant group in Iraq. In a 2017 public letter, he denounced the “evil movement” that managed “to deceive tens of thousands of Muslim youth” in Iraq and Syria, while also blaming the U.S. for the rise and spread of ISIS.
Iran had launched airstrikes against ISIS fighters outside Baghdad in late 2014 just as the United States and its coalition partners were taking on the extremist group.
ISIS, made up of Sunni extremists, was ideologically at odds with Soleimani and the Iranian Shiite regime he defended.
Soleimani and his commanders were on the front lines in Iraq and his name became synonymous with victories attributed to Iraqi ground forces [fighting against ISIS]. He had presented himself as the face of the offensive in Tikrit, a city which fell under ISIS control in 2014 [HE WAS FIGHTING AGAINST ISIS THERE].
Iran sought to highlight his efforts against ISIS while protesting his death Friday.
Another pro-Democratic-Party ‘news’ site, MSNBC, likewise included, on January 3rd, some of ‘the enemy’s side’ in this: “The 62-year-old led Iran’s elite Quds Force, which had a hand in both fighting the Islamic State militant group and U.S. forces.”
Indicating how confused and hostile Americans are to encounter — in the few media where they can — the truth about Soleimani and about the reality in the Middle East, there was a January 3rd news-report from Washington Times headlined “Geraldo Rivera laments strike on U.S. ‘friend’ Qassem Soleimani, says Quds leader ‘saved people’” which opened:
Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera says the Baghdad airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was a strategic error against a U.S. “friend” who “saved people.”
A “Fox & Friends” panel was injected with heated rhetoric on Friday when Mr. Rivera defended the Quds force leader’s résumé in a discussion with Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy.
“Six months ago, Ainsley, this guy was our friend,” Mr. Rivera said.
Rivera was opposed not only by the other Fox “Friends” there, but by the reader-comments, such as the most-liked ones:
What planet does Rivera live on? Soleimani has engineered the killing of many Americans.
stalin was our friend and helped us defeat hitler. no really a friend. ha
They want to remain suckers of America’s billionaires, who want to have Iran back.
Of course, Russia’s news-media were honest about this matter; they have no reason to lie about it; and, besides, they don’t lie nearly as frequently as America’s billionaire-controlled ‘news’-media do — they know they are distrusted from the get-go throughout the U.S. empire, because Russia’s lying Soviet predecessors (before 1991) are constantly pumped to America’s ‘news’ media behind the scenes by America’s CIA (representing America’s billionaires) as being like today’s Russian news media, which they very much are not. Russia really did end the Cold War; the U.S. regime never did.
On January 4th, India’s Economic Times headlined “Soleimani, face of fight against ISIS, Taliban”, and reported that:
Soleimani was the face of armed resistance against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and contributed in a big way in defeating ISIS, said an expert familiar with West Asian dynamics who requested not to be identified.
Last year Soleimani had also slammed Pakistan for its failure to control terror groups on its soil that targeted Iranian Revolutionary Guards group.
Iran and India were among regional powers that backed anti-Taliban forces along with Russia before Taliban was ousted in Afghanistan. …
Last February, a car laden with explosives hit a bus of Revolutionary Guard soldiers on Zahedan-Khash road in Iran’s border province of Sistan-Balouchestan, killing 27 and injuring 13. Pakistan-based Jaish ul-Adl Takfiri terrorist group, which has ties to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Days after the attack, Soleimani said Iran does not want mere condolences, but concrete action from Pakistan. “Can’t you, as a nuclear-armed state, deal with a hundreds-strong terrorist group in the region?” he had said.
That’s a major daily newspaper in Hindu India, which isn’t a place about which readers in America and allied countries haven’t been taught by their news media to expect to see such a commentary being published. According to Wikipedia, “As of 2012, it is the world’s second-most widely read English-language business newspaper, after The Wall Street Journal, with a readership of over 800,000.”
Also on January 4th, former UK Ambassador Craig Murray headlined from Britain “Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani” and he exposed lies against Soleimani by Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and a key neoconservative legal advisor to UK’s Government. He was exposing there a bipartisan and international sliming operation, the type of thing that traditionally persuades masses of suckers to vote for politicians who continue the grand imperial enterprise, for the benefit of U.S.-and-allied billionaires. However, that scam might not be so successful this time around.
On January 6th, the U.S. Government informed Iraq’s Government that the U.S. military occupation of Iraq is now at an end and all U.S. forces are withdrawing from Iraq. Then Trump changed his mind. Shortly afterward. Iran did its first retaliation, firing missiles against U.S. military facilities in Iraq. Trump’s constant aggressions against Iran (starting with cancellation of the Iran nuclear agreement and restoration of anti-Iran sanctions) will sink the Middle East and maybe the entire world in blood. The EU seems nonetheless to be sticking by the U.S. regime. All leaders who do so will be damned along with him. But none of them seem even to care. They all share in his guilt.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Gen. Soleimani World’s Most Accomplished Military Figure in Counter-Terrorism: Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst and author described Iran’s IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani as the “world’s most accomplished military figure” in the field of counter-terrorism.
“Major General Qassem Soleimani is the world’s most accomplished military figure in the field of counter-terrorism… Gen. Soleimani’s fight against Daesh is a wholehearted fight— unlike America’s ambivalent war on Daesh that has included covert support for the same terrorists it fights,” Kevin Barret from Madison told Tasnim.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: How do you see the role of commander of the IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in fighting terrorist groups, particularly Daesh, in Iraq and Syria in the past years?
Barret: Major General Qassem Soleimani is the world’s most accomplished military figure in the field of counter-terrorism. The word “terrorism” is defined as the intentional targeting of civilians. Daesh is undoubtedly a terrorist organization since it intentionally targets civilians based on their ethnicity or religion. And it does so in such barbaric fashion that many have wondered whether part of its real mission is to make Islam look bad in the eyes of global public opinion.
Gen. Soleimani’s fight against Daesh is a wholehearted fight— unlike America’s ambivalent war on Daesh that has included covert support for the same terrorists it fights. Gen. Soleimani, unlike the Americans and Russians, has led forces that are indigenous to the region. His forces are genuinely committed to defeating Daesh. They are not just in it for a paycheck; whereas some of the anti-Daesh forces under US command, not to mention the Americans themselves, are mere mercenaries, of whom John Cale once said: “Mercenaries are useless, disunited, with nothing to keep them in the battle except a meager wage, which is just about enough to make them want to kill for you, but not enough to make them want to die for you.” Gen. Soleimani and his troops, unlike the mercenaries (including Daesh mercenaries drawing Saudi paychecks), are willing to put their lives on the line. Like the Ansarullah in Yemen, Gen Soleimani’s forces have fought bravely and skillfully against mercenaries hired by tyrants.
Tasnim: The 33-day war launched by Israel in 2006, also known as the July War, took place in Lebanon, northern parts of Occupied Palestine and the Golan Heights. How much do you think General Soleimani has been effective in strengthening the axis of resistance and confronting the US and Israeli plots in the region?
Barret: Gen. Soleimani recently gave a rare interview in which he discussed his role in the 33-day war. Western sources have long admitted that Gen. Soleimani’s leadership was a crucial factor in Hezbollah’s humiliation of the Zionists in 2006. But only now has the world learned that Gen. Soleimani spent virtually the entire war in Lebanon, shoulder to shoulder with Hezbollah leader Syed Hassan Nasrallah and commander Imad Moughnieh, who was later martyred in 2008.
Gen. Soleimani’s remarkable achievements (and his courage in taking the fight to the Zionist enemy in its own backyard) highlight the wisdom of Iran’s regional policy, which involves offering support to independent, principled groups committed to resisting Zionism and imperialism. This approach contrasts starkly with the American approach to building alliances, which seeks out ambitious, unprincipled egotists who are willing to sell out their countries for a fistful of American dollars. Those sell-outs become America’s “friends and allies.” But since they are basically selfish and corrupt, they are not very effective allies. They are not courageous in battle. Nor are they much loved by the people of their own countries.
Right now the Western world is wondering how Saudi Arabia, with its $67 billion military budget, can be losing to the low-budget Ansarullah forces. The answer is that the Saudi forces are corrupt from top to bottom. They are in bed with Zionism and imperialism, and they have no true leadership, no principles, and no real cause except their own pocketbooks.
Gen. Soleimani leads faithful Muslim forces committed to truth and justice. The Axis of Resistance is fighting for a just cause: to expel the forces of Zionism and imperialism from the Muslim East. This is a cause that the vast majority of the population of the region, in their heart of hearts, strongly supports. That is why the Axis of Resistance, with its relatively tiny military budget, can successfully wage a David vs. Goliath struggle and defeat the richest and most powerful entities on earth.
Tasnim: Mobilization of volunteer forces in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Lebanon by the General has played a key role in defeating hegemonic powers and their schemes. What do you think?
Barret: General Soleimani is able to mobilize volunteer forces not only due to the great respect in which he is held (even by his enemies) but because he is known to be fighting for a just cause. Nobody will volunteer to fight for a tyrant! But many will volunteer to fight against tyranny and aggression, especially when called upon by such a skillful and charismatic leader as General Soleimani.
The American mainstream coverage of the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria admits the key role played by these volunteer forces in defeating Daesh, while at the same time casting these volunteer forces as a problem for the US. This is one of those rare instances in which the mainstream media is basically right.
Americans and Zionists used the September 11, 2001, false flag to try to remake the region in their interests. They are now facing defeat, thanks to the resistance of the people of the region in general, and the leadership of the Axis of Resistance, including Gen. Soleimani, in particular. As an American citizen, I believe my government should face the reality of the situation and radically change its policy, embracing or at least working with principled, independent forces, and giving up on Zionism and the tyrannical (Persian) Gulf monarchies. Such a policy shift would align with America’s real interests. But it probably won’t happen until Zionist domination of the US ends.
ISIS murdered General Soleimani
Since its formation in Camp Bucca in Iraq in 2006 under US supervision, the Islamic State terrorist group has been used as a proxy force by the United States to serve its geostrategic interests throughout the Middle East and beyond.
The enemies of terrorism all over the world mourn the death of their hero tonight: General Qasem Soleimani.
Perhaps more than any other military leader, former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander General Qasem Soleimani developed military strategies which defied the US empire.
Soleimani learnt his military skills in the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s when the US was using the Mujahedeen al-Khalq terrorist group to invade and take over Iran on behalf of their regional strongman, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
The Iranian nation suffered immensely during that war, with Western-backed forces using chemical weapons on the civilian population — a fact systematically ignored by the Western media.
During the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in 1982, Soleimani was instrumental in helping form the highly effective guerilla resistance force Hezbollah. Today, nationalist movements all over the world look to Hezbollah as an example of anti-imperialist struggle.
The concept of asymmetric warfare owes much to the work of General Soleimani, and his military strategies and tactics will surely be textbook material in years to come.
The victory of the forces of law and civilisation in Syria over the forces of barbarism and chaos is largely due to the efforts of General Soleimani. He coordinated the recruitment and training of volunteers to help the Syrian people fight the Western-backed terrorists who committed uncountable crimes against humanity since they invaded the country in 2011.
Given his work with Hezbollah and his capacity to outsmart the US-formed Leviathan known as ISIS, Soleimami’ s prestige was such that he could have become President of Iran. Had he run for election, he would have won with a landslide.
The Zionist entity wanted Soleimami dead. There is no doubt about that. But Tel Aviv would never have carried out such an act on its own. Iran has the capacity to destroy the Zionist entity but it cannot openly attack the United States; and, as Benjamin Netanyahu once said, ” We have America.”
Since the take-over of the United States by Zionism, the country has become its global policeman. Trump, perhaps in order to placate his powerful Jewish foes in the United States, has now assassinated one of their most powerful enemies.
On one level, this is a victory for US imperialism: it has eliminated its most illustrious enemy; US imperialism is ISIS. Therefore we can say ISIS has murdered Soleimani. If the US was serious about defeating ISIS, it would have praised Soleimani for his efforts and he would not have been a priority for military assassination.
However, on a deeper level, it is a Pyrrhic victory for US imperialism.There are now thousands of Soleimanis in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and throughout the world; and none of Trump’s more rational supporters can possibly claim that the Iranian nemesis of ISIS was a terrorist. In fact, even Trump himself has admitted that Iran is an enemy of ISIS.
Ismail Qaani has replaced Soleimani as Quds Force commander. He will not be an inferior leader; there are thousands of future Soleimanis in training.
General Soleimani is now a martyr, not just for axis of resistance in the Middle East but for all oppressed nations. In a world where real men are rare, where atheism and nihilism are reducing our people to slaves, General Soleimani is an example of the kind of courage and intelligence we will all need to fight this evil force bent on global domination.
The US/ISIS killed Soleimani, but martyrs raise entire armies. For the growing international axis of resistance against Zionism, Soleimani’s death will be seen as his greatest achievement.
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