Qasem Soleimani

Qasem Soleimani:

  • The United States killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone attack in Iraq.
  • The 62-year-old was the authoritative architect of Iranian regional policy.
  • His successor is also a hardliner.

Red fireballs soar into the black night sky above Baghdad International Airport. Several explosions can be seen in shaky videos that residents of the Iraqi capital posted on the Internet on Thursday evening.

On the night of Friday, it becomes clear that there were no Katyusha rockets, as initially reported.

It was a U.S. airstrike carried out by a Reaper drone, American media reports citing military sources. Their Hellfire missiles tear apart two cars near the cargo terminal.

This attack is likely to change the Middle East more than anything since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. A new war that is sweeping the entire region is more likely than ever.

"Two guests" were killed in the attack, it is said from Baghdad. It quickly becomes clear that one of the guests is Major General Qasem Soleimani.

The 62-year-old was the commander of the Quds Brigades, the elite force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard responsible for foreign missions. But that only insufficiently describes the meaning of the man.

He was the authoritative architect of Iranian regional policy. He has developed Iran's strategy based on allied militias, particularly in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

He was the mastermind behind the "axis of resistance" against Israel and the United States.

And the driving force behind Tehran's increasingly aggressive reaction to Donald Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and the subsequent "campaign of maximum pressure" with the drastic tightening of American oil and financial sanctions.

He had access to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at all times, as well as his full backing.

He was undoubtedly the most important figure in the security apparatus of the Islamic Republic - and one of the most powerful men in the Middle East.

Legendary is the episode of how he sent the then Iraqi President Jalal Talabani a text message on his private cell phone in 2008, which was addressed to a visitor to the President, the US commanding officer in Iraq, David Petraeus.

You should know that I, Qasem Soleimani, control Iran's foreign policy for Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan," Qasem Soleimani wrote. At that time he acted even more discreetly than before.

Iran’s propaganda later stylized him as a popular hero, a figure of identification with which many Iranians sympathized and Shiites far beyond Iran.

Tehran sees itself as the protective power of the Shiites. Iran posted photos and videos on social media showing Qasem Soleimani at the front with ordinary soldiers, be it in Syria or Iraq in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) - demonstratively modest, always with a kind look and accurately trimmed white beard and hair.

Besides pictures that show him devoted to the side of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In Tehran, murals testify to his deeds, an honour that is otherwise reserved for the martyrs of the Islamic Revolution.

Protecting the revolution is the task of the guards. They are therefore not subordinate to the President, but directly to the Supreme Leader.


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