10 years ago, Iran stood on the edge of an abyss. The country was waiting for strikes against its targets, primarily the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Internal instability could lead to great turmoil. After another ten years, the world was surprised to see that the outline of the ancient, as the world, Persian empire persistently appears on the map.
Two and a half thousand years ago it stretched from the spurs of the Hindu Kush to the waves of the Mediterranean Sea. And now under its banners there are again numerous peoples of different origins. This time, the unifying principle was belonging to the Shiite form of Islam.
This geopolitical revolution is the fruit of the efforts of the entire leadership of Iran. But there is a figure without which it could not have acquired such a grandiose scope. This is General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Quds, the special services of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. He changed the course of the game on the chessboard of the East.
A poor young man from a farm family on the eastern outskirts of Iran was early faced with injustice and poverty. Each dinar, earned by hard work, strengthened his hatred og the monarchy of the house of Pahlavi. Interest in Khomeini’s ideas and rebellious spirit made him a supporter of the Islamic revolution, from the first days of which he joined the IRGC. The first revolutionary task of Soleimani was the maintenance of the water pipe in the city of Kerman, the second – to suppress the Kurdish “counter” on the western border.
There he was caught by the invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein, who decided to pick up the land with oil reserves from neighbors. During the years of the war with Iraq, Soleimani, who was initially sent to the front for two weeks to arrange the supply of troops with water, turned into one of the most famous Iranian commanders. Of the revolutionary militia of Kerman, including his friends on the simulator, he created special forces, famously making noise in the Iraqi rear. His favourite trick was to bring live goats from the raid to celebrate a successful exit. Soleimani ended the war with the commander of the 41st Division of the IRGC.
After the war, the desperate commander dealt with most of the organizers of drug trafficking from Afghanistan in the eastern provinces of Iran, and in the late 1990s received under his command “Quds” – the special services and special forces of the Corps. And everything began to turn around him…
From the war with Iraq, Soleimani realized: Iran will not win a direct war with a strong enemy, which will inevitably receive support from the West. But you can rely on the Shiite communities, many of whom are oppressed by different faiths and crave revenge. And the Shiite “samurai” cult of sacrifice, raising the chains of militia with sticks on Iraqi machine guns and mines in the days of the Iran-Iraq war, makes it possible to create excellent soldiers-there would be a unifying idea, a guiding will and a strategic mind.
For many years, Soleimani and his people from the Kods have weaved a gigantic network of people and organizations. With genuine eastern grace and cunning, General Qasem used the strength of the enemy. The Americans invaded Iraq, entered Afghanistan and took Iran into strategic “mites”? But this is wonderful! Taliban-thrown Hazaras became the mainstay of Iranian influence in Afghanistan, and the uprisings of Iraqi Shiites against the coalition – due to which the ears of Soleimani’s people were sticking out – forced the US to take into account Iran’s interests in Iraq. At the same time, Quds helped the Americans against Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda against the Americans – all ad majorem Dei gloriam (“To the Great Glory of God”, Lat.).
The extent of Soleimani’s control over his network is already indicated by the fact that during the war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, attacks on coalition forces in Shiite areas almost ceased in Iraq. The general ironically commented on this to the Americans: “I hope you enjoyed the peace in Baghdad while I was busy in Beirut.” Iran’s influence in Iraq has become so strong that the “pro-American regime” has become Tehran’s main channel for circumventing American sanctions, and none has done anything about it.
The real test and the star hour of the Suleymani network was the war in Syria, which spread to the territory of Iraq. At the beginning of the war, an intense air bridge operated between Tehran and Damascus. The structures of General Qasem’s network, above all, the highly trained and motivated groups of Hezbollah, interrupted the success of the rebels. In 2014, the offensive of the terrorists of ISIS in Iraq was stopped only after the intervention of the same force. According to unofficial data, Soleimani played a significant role in the beginning of the Russian operation in Syria, which finally broke the course of the war.
They say that it were the people of Soleimani who dragged Konstantin Murakhtin, navigator of downed Su-24M in Syria from claws of death.
His name is associated with the successes of Yemeni husits – successfully fighting with a whole coalition of countries, using suspiciously modern missile weapons. Analysts speak already of two “Shiite crescents” – from Afghanistan to Lebanon and from Bahrain to Yemen. “Country-outcast” is turning into an empire before our very eyes, and this success has a quite definite name.
Qasem Soleomani deserved to became a cult figure of the Shiite world. At the same time, the “living martyr of the revolution”, as Ayatollah Khamenei described it, is distinguished by personal modesty in the “Stalinist” style. And nothing will finish the article about tiger of Iran better then the poet’s own poetic words: “The battlefield is a paradise lost by mankind, where morality and true human behavior are visible in their highest manifestation. Usually in the representation of people paradise is a spectacular colorful landscape, murmur of streams, beautiful women. But there is another kind of paradise – this is the battlefield.”