Who was Qassem Soleimani?

Qassem Soleimani
Qassem Soleimani

Since his death on January 3, 2020, by the United States at the Baghdad International Airport, the question that everybody has been asking is: who was General Qassem Soleimani?

Who exactly was Qassem Soleimani?

Born in 1957, Qassem Soleimani was arguably the most powerful military personnel not only in Iran but across the Middle East. Iran’s Supreme Leader once referred to him as a “living martyr of revolution” due to the enormous contribution that he made in the Iranian army. Soleimani joined the Revolutionary Guard in 1979 and was in the front line during the Iraq-Iran war that lasted for about eight years and resulted in the death of at least one million lives. Around 1998, Soleimani was named the commander of the Quds Force, which he lead until his demise on Friday. Quds Force¹ is estimated to have 15,000 members.

Soleimani quickly rose to stardom, and by 2013, he had become one of the most influential figures in Iran. He played a crucial role in spreading Iran’s influence in the Middle East, mostly in Iraq and Syria. People who knew him described him as a quiet, charismatic man, a tactical general, and a strategist who got the job done. He was the brains behind most military operations in the Middle East, and most people at home regarded him as a hero.

Why was he killed?

Although Soleimani was regarded as a hero back at home, the United States believed he was a sinister adversary in the Middle East. The Trump administration alleged he was actively planning to attack American diplomats and service members in the Middle East and claimed under his leadership of the Quds Force hundreds of Americans died, and thousands were injured.

The rift widens

Following his death on Friday, the division between Washington DC and Tehran has extended even further. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called the move senseless and foolish — promising “harsh revenge” on the US. However, the action that Iran is planning to take remains unknown, but they got a boost after the Iraqi parliament voted yesterday to oust American troops from their country.

In response, U.S. President Donald Trump has stated he doesn’t want to start a war with Iran.  He warned Iran not to retaliate against Americans or American assets, or the United States will “hit them harder than they have ever been hit before” in return.

Is World War III on the horizon? We don’t believe so, but hopefully calmer minds will prevail among world leaders.  What are your thoughts?

Let us know in the comments.

Video credit: CBS News | YouTube

¹ Designated a terrorist organization by the Department of Treasury on October 25, 2007.

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