TEHERAN – Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani has been described as a very humble, polite, and pious person. He was admired in Iran and beyond. As more and more images began to emerge of the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, where he spent the last years of his life as a military advisor in the war on terror, the most noticeable thing was that he was not wearing body armor.
For someone commanding the Quds forces of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard, many expected to see him in full-body armor, as did American generals when venturing outside a military base. But here General Soleimani could only be seen unarmed at the front line, in winter he wore a simple shirt or jacket.
He was as fearless as a lion. There is a saying, “When the hyenas laugh, you know a lion has died”.
This is exactly what happened when some hyenas staged the most cowardly attacks, some in the Pentagon, Tel Aviv laughed along with all the terrorist groups in West Asia; for a lion had been martyred.
They could neither reach nor track General Soleimani in the region, which earned him the nickname Shadow Commander; For decades he foiled American and Israeli conspiracies in Western Asia. He was fascinated by many people around the world who focused on the region, but in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, when asked about General Soleimani, former President Donald Trump had absolutely no idea who he was.
When Israel waged a war against Lebanon, he was in southern Lebanon helping Lebanese Hezbollah make the 2006 war the largest military failure in the history books for Israel. The resistance movement did not surprise Israel once, but several times. The regime’s tanks went up in flames with Kornet missiles that no one knew Hezbollah owned. Israeli helicopters crashed off Beirut and their warship sank.
According to now-retired General David Petraeus, who commanded US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and led the surge in Iraq in 2007, he received a letter that read, â€œGeneral Petraeus, you should know that I, Qassem Soleimani, are in charge of politics for Iran check if it comes to Iraq and also Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan â€.
What General Soleimani did in these countries and beyond was to restore people’s honor, pride, dignity, sovereignty and freedom. In Iraq and Syria, he led the fight against the most brutal, deadly and sophisticated terrorist organizations to date, including the Daesh and Nusra Front. Takfiri groups accused by Iraq and Syria officials of assisting America, arming and funding some in the Persian Gulf with billions of dollars.
American military commanders predicted that it would take the Iraqi forces ten years to completely rid their country of terrorists, but General Soleimani, who led a team of Iranian military advisers at the invitation of the Iraqi government, had other plans.
After the fall of the northern city of Mosul and large parts of the country to Daesh under the US-trained Iraqi army, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani issued a fatwa from the southern holy Iraqi city of Najaf for volunteers able to handle a weapon in the summer of 2014 to take up arms and stop the advance of the Daesh terrorists further south towards Baghdad and the southern provinces.
The terrorists had reached the city of Jurf al-Sakhr, which is only dozens of kilometers from Baghdad.
Without the timely involvement of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who opened the neighboring Iranian weapons depot to the new recruits who would later form the People’s Mobilization Units (PMU) and provided them with training, experts say the whole of Iraq would have collapsed into Daesh.
At that point, the United States delayed the shipment of much-needed arms for which Iraq had already paid for by many months.
One of the most popular battles fought by General Soleimani and his brother-in-arms Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis (who was murdered along with General Soleimani) was to break the difficult siege of Amerli. Amerli, a city surrounded by Daesh terrorists, was home to around 20,000 Shiite Turkmen families who had put up extremely valiant armed resistance against the terrorists.
However, their ammunition was running low, as was their access to food and water. Daesh had them cornered and it was widely expected that the terrorist group would have slaughtered all the men and captured the women and girls if Daesh had entered the city.
Many Iraqi officials in the People’s Mobilization Units praised the people of Amerli and compared their plight and resistance to the Battle of Karbala some 1,400 years ago.
General Soleimani and the commander of Kataib Hezbollah (a PMU faction), Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, developed a plan in which 50 armed fighters from Kataib Hezbollah parachuted into the city from a helicopter. They picked a point where other fighters from the Kataib Hezbollah Brigade ambushed a group of Daesh terrorists. Together they fought the terrorists from inside and outside and managed to break the siege. 20,000 residents who were about to be murdered and their wives, who were undoubtedly captured, were rescued.
Emotional recordings immediately after the end of the siege of Amerli saw tears of joy from commanders of Kataib Hezbollah, including Abu Fadek (who replaced Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis after his martyrdom), who was embraced by General Soleimani.
The late general was involved in so many popular battles in Iraq. In an interview, Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said General Soleimani took a flight from Baghdad to Damascus, then another to Beirut and reached Sayyed Nasrallah’s residence at midnight. The Hezbollah leader says, “In the 22 years that I have known, General Soleimani, he or the Islamic Republic of Iran, has never asked anything of us”. But in the middle of that night General Soleimani said to Sayyed Nasrallah: “I need 120 military advisers who will return to Baghdad after the morning prayer at sunrise”.
Sayyed Nasrallah remembers with a smile saying to General Soleimani: “Where should I get 120 field commanders of the military at this time of the night?” He says General Soleimani told him, “We have no choice if we want to save the Iraqi nation, its holy places, its seminaries and the whole situation that is going on there, Iraqis”.
The Martyr General stayed with Sayyed Nasrallah as they called the Hezbollah generals one by one until they detained about 50 to 60 of them. And Sayyed Nasrallah says that General Soleimani â€œdid not leave without assuring me that I would send the others within two or three daysâ€.
Sayyed Nasrallah remembers: “That night I had the feeling that for General Soleimani the whole world was Iraq and this fight against Daesh was in Iraq. He thought this battle was crucial and was ready to die in this battle.”
Sayyed Nasrallah also questioned General Soleimani about a trip he was making to the northern Iraqi city of Samarah and said “it was very dangerous”. And according to Sayyed Nasrallah, General Soleimani replied: “There was no other option, I had to move north so that the brothers could follow”.
“He was very affected by what happened in Iraq … and he was ready to die a thousand times in Iraq (fighting Daesh terrorists),” says Sayyed Nasrallah.
In a speech commemorating General Soleimani’s martyrdom, Sayyed Nasrallah said: â€œHe spent many nights crying as he remembered the martyrs [who died fighting former Iraqi dictator Saddam Husseinâ€™s imposed war on Iran]; In many meetings with myself he said to me: ‘My heart is tired of this world and I am eager to meet Allah and the martyrs who have died’ “.
Against terrorists in Syria, footage showing security forces telling him not to advance, he replied with the words “Are we afraid of a few bullets” and moved towards the battle line.
Anyone who knew the war hero well says he has a special charisma. When he met senior military commanders, he just sat and listened, and when he spoke the room fell silent.
His zeal to gain martyrdom has been fulfilled.
Congratulations to Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani on achieving this great ordeal.