Qasem Soleimani, a hero or a terrorist?

On the 3
rd of January, news spread in social media regarding Qasem Soleimani and AbuMahdi Mohandesdied by a US drone strike near Baghdad Airport and this was the end of their lives. In social media, especially Iranian users, there was a chaotic situation, some called “the general of hearts” and mourn for him while others were happy and celebrated his death. In this article some hidden points will be discussed without any criticism.

Who was Qasem Soleimani? He was born on the 11th of March, 1957 in a city called Rabor in Kerman Province. He spent his childhood and juvenile working as construction labor and later he became one of the contractors of Kerman’s Water and Sewage Organization. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and establishment of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps attended this militia organization. By the beginning of Iran-Iraq war he started training IRGC members and transferring them to the southern battlefields of Iran and a short while later he as the leader of a troop went to Susangerd to confront Iraqi troops and stop their invasions. In 1981 he was appointed as the commander of 41 Division of Sarallah by Mohsen Rezaei, the then chief commander of IRGC. He participated in lots of military operations and was the commander of Valfajr 8th, Karbala 4th and 5thoperations. After the war in 1988, 41 Division of Sarallah returned to Kerman under his command and started fighting with the so-called “enemies” in the eastern borders of Iran. In February 2010 he was appointed by Khamenei – who is the chief commander according to principle 110 of Islamic Republic Constitutional Law – as major general (the highest military ranking). In 2000 he was appointed as the commander of IRGC Qods Force by Khamenei which has the mission to do operations out of Iranian borders. Soleimani was the second commander of this troop and was appointed after Ahmad Vahidi. He played a key role in the Middle East especially in regional chaos known as “Islamic Awareness” (Arab Spring). Before being appointed as the commander of IRGC Qods Force he used to fight with drug smugglers in Iran-Afqanistanborders. Some politicians believe that his appointment, while the Taliban was coming to power, was not just a coincidence, but a wise decision as he was risen in a mountainous region and had a good insight into the political relations of tribal communities and AfqanistanSocial and political situation. Considering his experience of the interior wars in Kurdistan, he was a great choice as in Afqanistan of the Taliban Era which was in interior wars, he should have done some operations there. As soon as protests began in Syria he went there to help Bashar Alasad and this is 3 years before ISIS come to existence, so this claim that he went there to fight against ISIS is more propaganda from the Islamic Republic than reality, to convince people he was a hero, it is also important to mention that under the operations known as “Holy Shrines Defends” a large number of Afqans under his command died. It also notable that during Iran protests in November 2019 between 1500 to 2000 protesters were shot dead and Soleimani had mentioned that to keep the Islamic Republic he was ready to massacre even 10 million Iranians. Last but not least, his brother, SohrabSoleimani, was the Director-General of the Prisons Organization of Islamic Republic who got arrested for financial corruption and was removed but this case was never revealed nor heard in a court. In the moment of writing this article his wife is accused of financial corruption and the felony of embezzlement in 12 different cases.

Iranian General or the Islamic Republic butcher? Some people including BBCPersian are trying to name him “spiritual General”, “General of hearts or “Iranian General” and by following Islamic Republic footpaths and exported reformists have efforts to raise public pettiness, avoiding the fact that we live in the free circulation of information and such efforts would not work anymore and people are aware. The fact is that when IRGC was going to be established, Khomeini said its name must be “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, no words more or less” and one cannot ever find the country name “Iran” in its title at all, not in the past or present, also according to principle 150 of Constitutional Law this organization is responsible to “guard the Islamic Revolution and its achievements” and Iran is not a matter for them. According to the first article of its charter also as their duty, it indicates: “to guard Islamic Revolution in Iran and its achievements and doing best efforts to fulfill God’s will and expand Allah’s government in accordance with Islamic Republic Laws” which in other words is the translation of what Khomeini insisted as “exporting Islamic Revolution to the world”; in article 34 of the aforementioned charter “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps member (Pasdar)” is someone who is “ready to jihad in Allah’s way and secures the Islamic Republic and its achievements as a religious duty” and must have due respect to “Fundamentals of Islam, Islamic Revolution, and Islamic Republic system; believes and respects actively religious Leader; and actively respect and believes in Islamic orders, Islamic Republic Laws and follows Islamic moral and ethical orders”. It should be born in mind that Basij (a militia force) operates under the supervision of IRGC and the 4th chapter of the charter talks about rules in this regard. So, as it is discussed, Qasem Soleimani not only is not an Iranian General or hero, but he was someone serving the Islamic Republic and Khamenei, thus no attraction towards the nation’s benefit can be named for him.

Soleimani and ISIS: one of the vast advertisements about Soleimani is his presence and fighting against Islamic Extremist terrorists including Taliban and ISIS and especially for the latter his role is extremely exaggerated while as mentioned above when he went to Syria the real challenge was Syrian protesters against Bashar Alasas Dictatorship and it was 3 years before ISIS even exist. Moreover, the fact that they repeatedly tell Iranian people that if he did not fight with ISIS, they would have invaded Iran is just an illusion, and the question is what exactly ISIS could have done to Iran that the Islamic Republic has not done? From the very first days of getting the power up to the present, by Khalkhali’s orders then and revolutionary court judges today a great number of Iranians have been prosecuted, and as the last efforts in November Protests IRGC has killed between 1500 to 2000 innocent unarmed protesters and yet after almost 2 months, no official statistic has been released regarding the murdered and detained ones. In other words, ISIS is another name for the Islamic Republic and IRGC.

Iranians and Stockholm syndrome: Iranians kindness caused them to mourn for Soleimani in a way that one would think they have forgotten in the past few weeks a massacre happened and lots of brave Iranians who asked for freedom had been shot dead by orders Soleimani and other IRGC commanders issued. The question is that after a week that Internet was disconnected to avoid sending the reports to the foreign news agencies and the current attorney general of Islamic Republic announced it happily that no one has a precise statistic especially international organizations and embodies, and the injured had been kidnapped from hospitals by IRGC Intelligent service agents when the internet was reconnected the people mourning now for Soleimani and announce their condolences, started posting nonsense posts about their food, drink, dance, etc. and only a few people talked about the disaster happened in Iran. So Iranians under the influence of regime’s propaganda fell sympathy with their hostage takers but do not care about fellow countrymen.

From Safavid Dynasty to the Islamic Republic: It was King Ismail I who has come with the idea of inventing Shi’a and began a religious nationality movement to put an end to all efforts of Iranians against Islam and by creating an imaginary personality called Shahrbanou from Sasanian Empire and marrying her with Hussein, the 3rd Imam of Shi’as, the rest of Imams became Iranian! Ahmad Kasravi, a very well-known Iranian Author mentions in one of his books that Iran owes a government to mullahs. Today a group is known as “the third wave” are trying to do the same thing and they follow the plan of “Arian Shi’a” that some believe it is theorized by Esfandiar Rahim Mashayi, Ahmadinejad’s vice president and you can find their footsteps even in Europe and America as exported theoreticians in grounds of “Islamic Feminism” and “Soleimani Iranian Hero General”.

Confronting Iranian Protester and the Imported Mercenaries: a very vital question missing is what Qasem Soleimani was doing in Baghdad with the PMC deputy chief? It was reported in a vast number that those confronting Iranian Protesters could not speak Farsi at all or easily, and in the first days of Protests, a news was published saying that PMC troops and Fatemiyoun have entered Iran. Also before Iran protests Soleimani went to Iraq and in a meeting mentioned the Islamic Republic knows how to confront protesters in Iran and he knows how they can control them. Putting these two facts together, the conclusion would be he went with his friends after their victory in silencing the Iranian protesters and at least no other possibility can be imagined for his presence in Iraq.

Soleimani was terrorized or a terrorist was killed? International Relations Dictionary, under the word “Terrorism” mentions: “Terror and Terrorism are indicated to the activities of governmental or nongovernmental men activities to use cruel methods and maneuvers in their actions to achieve their political goals.” Thus terror can be defined as eliminating political opponents in any possible way and with any possible tool to achieve this goal. So any cruel action taken cannot be defined as terror, even though can be mounted as a crime and indeed this point of view is different with those who divide terrorism to political and non-political, but in today’s world, most of the terroristic activities are based on political aims and less organized crimes that name terroristic that lack political aims. There are many International Documents to condemn Terrorism and passing numerous laws to avoid terroristic actions and one of them is “the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents (in 1973)” and it is obvious that Qasem Soleimani was not diplomatic. To sum up, yet, there is no absolute definition of terror and terrorism neither nationally nor internationally and in International legislation one of the documents who tried to provide a clear definition is the UN Security Council Resolution number 1566 (October 2004) that indicates: “Criminal activities especially against non-military people with the purpose to kill or serious harm or taking as hostages to develop terror among people or make a government or international organizations to take any action or avoid doing an action which is mentioned in International Conventions and protocols in regard of terrorism, can be excused by any reason such as political, philosophical, ideological, racial, tribal, religious, etc. …”. So internationally the attack on the car carrying Qasem Soleimani cannot be recognized as a terror. On the other hand, it is obvious that Islamic Republic and USA Since 1979 up to now are in the war although it is not war in the classic definition of it and this situation and also considering Iraq’s present situation, i.e. after Saddam Hussein removal there has always been internal war and yet no integrated, independent and powerful government has come to control the country, adding the fact that the presence of Qasem Soleimani was to Support Abdul Mahdi as prime minister and avoid his dismissal from power to keep the influence of the Islamic Republic in Iraq, that Iraqis are against it, empowers this theory that what happened to Soleimani was a “targeted murder” rather than a “terror”. On the other hand, considering his activities in Syria and Iraq and also his close relation with Hassan Nasrullah the Head of Lebonan Hizbollah and also considering that IRGC is in the list of terrorist groups, we can come to this conclusion that he was an international terrorist, a person who did not hesitate to shed the blood of Iranians and non-Iranians.

Post-Soleimani Islamic Republic: the regime is trying to convince Iranians that without Soleimani there are serious threats towards Iran, so people must forget what has happened in November and other words, the Islamic Republic very well knows that in the future parliamentary election which will be in almost 2 months, the least number of people would participate and vote, and the regime is in an unstable situation, now by using this situation, they try to convince people to participate and vote and again, as they did during the last 40 years, interpret this presence as their legitimacy and popularity among people. It is also notable that a project has started to make a metaphysical character for Soleimani and Khamenei, e.g. miniatures showing Soleimani with Hossein (Shi’a’s 3rd Imam) and Abolfazl (Hossein’s half-brother) and Soleimani in Paradise with Shi’a Imams and Khomeini, to relating and simulating his death with Abolfazl’s death, to say that only his hand he put on the ring given to him by Khamenei remained invulnerable and this is a sign showing Khamenei is sent from Allah and this is a miracle. Islamic Republic regime with or without Soleimani will continue its plans and it would be so credulous to believe that murdering Soleimani made them void JCPOA as IAEA has published reports mentioning the Islamic Republic is working on its nuclear plans secretly and from a very long time ago it was a controversial issue inside the country and the group is known as principlists (extremist Muslims) were against it from the very first moment.

As a conclusion, considering the fact that IRGC is known as the “shadow government of the Religious Leader” and as Ahmadinejad called them “Smuggler Brothers” and the majority of terroristic attacks ordered by regime become to reality by this organization and the important role it plays in ignoring sanctions, adding the money laundry they do for the regime which is the main reason Islamic Republic is against signing CFT and FATF, and also considering its name that does not contain any nationality sign, even Iran, and the Islamic Republic Constitutional Law and IRGC charter which assign them to export Islamic Revolution and theocratic regime values and guarding that, a reasonable person can never consider Qasem Soleimani as a national hero or general. He was just a person caring about the religious supreme leader and the Islamic Republic and his role in the presence of PMC and Fatemiyoun to confront Iranian protesters asking for freedom in November 2019 is inevitable. Now it is up to those Iranians who mourn for him to ask themselves which one was more beloved for the country, those nearly 2000 people who were killed and more than 10,000 who were under arrest and every day some dead bodies are found in rivers, dams, deserts or streets with signs of tortures on their bodies or a person who served theocratic dictator of the Islamic Republic and other Middle Eastern Dictators to kill innocent unarmed people and did not care about Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afqanistan and other countries?

Houshmand Rahimi


Published in IranBriefing

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