“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance.” Hanlon’s Razor
“As usual, there was a story behind the story, and that is where the truth was hidden.” Kenneth Eade, Beyond all Recognition
“A lie can travel half way around the world before the truth even puts on its shoes.” Mark Twain
Are you tired of hearing about the late General Qassem Soleimani yet, and the ceaseless speculation of everything around his January 2, 2020 death? I know I am.
An Iranian friend explained to me that he thought Soleimani died of natural causes. He reasoned, “If you had committed as many global acts of cruelty, brutality and terrorism as him, naturally, somebody was going to kill you.” This is an Iranian understanding of “you reap what you sow.”
So, what exactly did Soleimani do that caused him to provoke the most powerful military in the world? What could have caused them to look at him under a microscope rather than through a telescope? That is what I will discuss in this edition of “More than Meet the Eye.”
To write this issue, I have collaborated with several Iranian friends. They have corroborated the seldom mentioned reality that the Iranian people were terrified of Qassem Soleimani and considered him a terrorist of the worst kind. Iranians describe him as Hitler’s, Heinrich Himmler, one of the most terrible Nazi leaders, and the worst kind of human-being. I will recount some of his deeds. I want to propose that the killing of Qassem Soleimani was not an assassination, but rather the killing of a dangerous combatant officer.
In this edition, I want to substantiate two things. 1) Qassem Soleimani was a very dangerous man and the enemy of not only the United States, but of the Iranian people as well. 2) His deeds were not only evil, they were criminal on a global scale.
I am prone to never celebrate the death of any human-being, but Qassem Soleimani truly reaped what he sowed and his death will leave the world a better place. May such a phrase never be repeated of us.
Who was Qassem Soleimani?
Soleimani was Iran’s most powerful military figure, a leader of commandos and spies across several countries tasked with achieving the aims of Iran’s supreme leader through whatever means necessary. His operatives fought adversaries like ISIS, trained insurgents like the Houthis in Yemen, and provided support to terrorist groups like Hezbollah (a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization). In 2007, the US declared the Quds Force (Quds being the Farsi name for Jerusalem) that Soleimani commanded, a state sponsor of terrorism.
In the summer of 2018 President Trump sent a tweet to President Rouhani, saying, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN.” Shortly afterwards General Soleimani gave a speech in Hamadan, a city 200 miles south of Tehran, threatening, “Mr. Trump, the gambler! […] You are well aware of our power and capabilities in the region. You know how powerful we are in asymmetrical warfare. Come, we are waiting for you. We are the real men on the scene, as far as you are concerned. You know that a war would mean the loss of all your capabilities. You may start the war, but we will be the ones to determine its end.”
What has he done?
- The United Nations Security Council sanctioned Soleimani for supporting terrorism and selling Iranian weapons overseas.
- The U.S. government brands him a nuclear proliferator, a supporter of terrorism, a human rights abuser, and a leading suspect in the 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States by bombing a Washington, D.C. restaurant.
- By March 1998 he had risen to become commander of the Quds Force, the lethal special forces unit of the IRGC tasked with bolstering pro-Iranian regimes and militias abroad.
- Following the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, Soleimani ordered some of his Iraqi militias into Syria to defend the Assad regime. For the same purpose, he also set up additional Shi`a militant groups including a group of Afghans resident in Iran, the Fatemiyoun Division, a Pakistani outfit, and the Zeynabiyoun Brigade.
- Hezbollah was established in its current form in 1985 with funds and training from Soleimani’s IRGC. Iran supplies as much as $700 million a year in support.
- In March 2017 Soleimani convened a meeting of senior commanders in Tehran to discuss ways of further “empowering” the Houthis. His efforts have contributed to the worsening one of the most devastating humanitarian crises in the world.
- On the morning of Dec 30, 2019 hundreds of protesters gathered outside the US Embassy in Baghdad. Well known pro-Iranian politicians and militia leaders, such as Hadi al-Amiri, proceeded to storm the embassy compound and set fire. On the embassy compound they raised the flag of Kataib Hezbollah (the Hezbollah Brigades), a militia that is funded and trained by the Quds Force under the leadership of Qassem Soleimani.
Ultimately, these attacks on the US Embassy and their connection to Iran led to the death of an American contractor as well as the wounding of four American soldiers. These events accumulated and caused President Trump to retaliate against the Quds Force Commander.
General Soleimani was considered by many countries to be a sanctioned terrorist. His actions led directly to the deaths of many Americans and others, including his own people. Whether he was considered a combatant or not would determine if his death was an assassination.
Was Qassem Soleimani a beloved and respected figure in Iran?
There are many reports that General Soleimani was a beloved figure within Iran and is now considered a martyr. This account has been relayed by some of the most respected scholars and researchers. After reading this narrative, I must admit I have begun to reject it. One of the problems with indirect analysis is that you begin to rely heavily on other indirect analysts for your information rather than going to the primary source. For additional insight, I tapped into my vast network of Iranian friends, some of whom live in Europe and others who live in Iran.
I was surprised to find what I did. Across the board, the message I received was that Qassem Soleimani was an evil man feared by everyone. He was a hench-man who terrorized his own people along with the rest of the world. His Quds Force was said to be much like the old German Gestapo or the KGB. When they showed up, people disappeared, never to be seen again.
Several of my friends pleaded with me to let the world know that General Soleimani was not a true Iranian. He was a monster and not representative of the Iranian people.
I know that my findings do not represent an empirical study and we cannot form comprehensive conclusions, but when you begin to set them alongside the events of the past couple of weeks since the downing of the Ukrainian Airways passenger plane, it starts to make more sense.
I asked one of my contacts to comment about the Soleimani support in the streets during his funeral. He shared with me that the Iranian government spent millions of dollars to transport people from its proxy organizations in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq to support the demonstration of unity. There were so many Arabs present at Soleimani’s funeral that the Ayatollah gave his eulogy in Arabic rather than the national tongue of Persian.
This information puts the recent protests in a new light. It especially highlights the footage of crowds refusing to step on the US and Israeli flags that were placed in the middle of the street by the Iranian government in order to be trampled.
From all this, I am surmising that there is a growing tension in Iran. The economic pressures, increasing crackdown by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and the generally understood corruption is causing Iran to come to a tipping point. I pray that it is for the good of the people. At this moment, there is much more than meets the eye.
The Iranian people deserve better. I have worked in Iran, and with Iranian people for many years. They are gregarious, patient, and generous. In all my interactions with Iranians, upon finding out I am an American, they have gone out of their way to ensure me that they love Americans and it is only their government who dislikes our government.
It is time that we as believers take more seriously the matter of prayer and advocacy for the Iranian people. It is time for them to come out from under their repressive regime.
Understanding the plight of the Iranian people will go a long way in helping us understand how we as a nation can help them. If the current Iranian regime went away, it would open the doors for peace in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and in the whole of the Persian Gulf. My intent is to present an untainted picture of this region. I am not always successful, but I choose not to delve into the politics of the region in order to accomplish this.
You may be surprised to find Iranian people living in your community. I would encourage you to reach out to them. Invite them into your home for a meal. Get to know them.
Continue to read about the current situation in Iran. It will help you to pray intelligently and will equip you to make a difference.
Iranian lawmaker offers $3 million reward to anyone who can kill President Trump…https://taskandpurpose.com/iran-bounty-donald-trump?utm_source=Task+%26+Purpose+Daily&utm_campaign=ea0986fd8e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_10_23_07_01_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_67edd998fe-ea0986fd8e-76835763&mc_cid=ea0986fd8e&mc_eid=11e02f3a1d
Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU…https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887
For your comments or questions about any of our digests please feel free to write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronen Bergman and Raz Zimmt, “Israel’s most dangerous enemy: Who are you, Hajj Qasem Soleimani?” YNet News, July 4, 2018.
Farzan Sabet, “Military Intervention, Iranian-Style,” War on the Rocks, June 30, 2014.
“CIA chief Pompeo says he warned Iran’s Soleimani over Iraq aggression,” Reuters, December 2, 2017.
David Adesnik, “FDD Profiles of Leading Iranian-Backed Militias,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies, February 28, 2018.
Caleb Weiss, “Iranian general at the forefront of the Tikrit offensive,” FDD’s Long War Journal, March 5,
Tovah Lazaroff, “‘There Are No Iranian Troops in Syria,’ Assad Says,” Jerusalem Post, May 31, 2018; Ali Alfoneh and Michael Eisenstadt, “Iranian Casualties in Syria and the Strategic Logic of Intervention,” Policywatch No. 2585, March 11, 2016.
Garrett Nada and Mattisan Rowan, “Pro-Iran Militias in Iraq,” Wilson Center, April 27, 2018.