Soleimani was a former US ally

By Wayne Madsen.

Throughout his military command of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force, the late Major General Qassem Soleimani ensured that Iran had as its disposal an intricate network of military proxy forces, sympathetic Shi’a Islamic faithful, and armed wings of foreign political and religious allies prepared to respond to an American and/or Israeli military attack. With the Donald Trump administration’s assassination of Soleimani and Iraqi Shi’a militia leaders, all of whom were popular in Iran and Iraq for helping to defeat the Saudi/Israeli-supported Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, the Iranian retaliatory network established by Soleimani stands at a hair-trigger response to the U.S. premeditated murders. The network of Iranian proxies and allies crafted under Soleimani’s guidance — mostly non-state actors but with a few state players – will be Soleimani’s everlasting legacy in future history books on the Middle East and strategic warfare.

Soleimani’s strategy to militarily bloody the nose of the United States through the implementation of global asymmetric warfare, even after his death, will be as important a lesson for U.S. military planners as was the concept of revolutionary warfare employed against the United States in Southeast Asia by Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap. The strategies of Soleimani and Giap are based on versatility, adaptability, and reliance on the element of surprise by weaker military forces against those of global superpowers. Giap brought virtual surrender to the U.S. and its Indochina allies and, if history is a guide, Soleimani’s doctrine of a relying on a massive proxy attack network to defend Iran will bring an end to American dominance in the Middle East.

Unlike General Giap, General Soleimani actually twice coordinated anti-jihadist military operations with U.S. military forces, the first time in 2001, when his Quds Force participated with U.S. Special Forces in attacking Taliban and Al Qaeda positions in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. The second time Soleimani and the U.S. cooperated on the battlefield was in taking on ISIS in Operation Inherent Resolve from 2014 to 2017.

Shortly after the 9/11 attack on the U.S., Soleimani sent Quds Force representatives to meet Pentagon officials in Geneva. Soleimani ensured that the U.S. received a map of Afghanistan detailing all the primary Taliban targets that the Americans should hit. Soleimani’s intelligence proved effective when, on October 7, 2001, U.S. forces began attacking Taliban and Al Qaeda sites in Afghanistan. On January 29, 2002, President George W. Bush, during his State of the Union  address to Congress, showed his “gratitude” to Soleimani by lumping Iran with a contrived “Axis of Evil.”

Bush’s rhetoric was crafted by the neo-conservatives who believed that the U.S. should invade and occupy the three nations included on the Axis of Evil list: Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. After the assassination of Soleimani, Vice President Mike Pence added insult to injury by falsely accusing Soleimani of assisting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attack. It was not surprising coming from an individual who believes the Earth is merely 6,000 years old, according to his understanding of Biblical mythology. It is a nonsensical bit of codswallop that is shared by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In 2017, Soleimani, again, was on the scene, this time in Iraq. In order to defeat ISIS, which took over large swaths of Iraqi and Syrian territory, Soleimani consolidated the position of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces based in its stronghold of Sulaimaniya. Working in concert with U.S. and NATO forces, Soleimani’s Quds Force and various Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), consisting of Shi’a, Sunni, Yazidi, Chaldean, Turkmen, Shabak, and Assyrian units. When the units of Soleimani’s Quds Force and PMF commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Khazali Network leader Qais al-Khazali neared the Syrian-Iraqi border near the ISIS-controlled Syrian town of Deir Ezzor, they were supplemented by Syrian units of the Syriac Christian Spirit of God Jesus Son of Mary Battalions. Trump and his fanatic fundamentalist Christians and Zionists decided that all of Soleimani’s allies – Shi’a, Sunni, Yazidi, Chaldean, Assyrian, Turkmen, Shabak, Syrian Kurds, Syrian Alawites, Palestinians, Lebanese Shi’as, Yemeni Zaidis, and Syrian Druze – were all foreign terrorists subject to U.S. sanctions.

The Trump policy with regard to those who are chiefly credited with defeating ISIS, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, and other jihadis and Salafists in Syria and Iraq – General Soleimani, the PMF commanders, and multi-religious unit commanders – is as inane as Trump’s other misguided policies. When it comes to the Middle East, it is clear that Trump takes direction from the Muslim Brotherhood-influenced regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the Wahhabi fanatic Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his dementia-addled father, King Salman; and the corrupt Zionist right-wing nationalist Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. With that sort of bad-tempered quartet advising Trump, there should be little surprise that Trump’s foreign “policy” is now the subject of ridicule and derision around the globe.

Trump, likely aware that he has stirred up a hornet’s nest in ordering the assassination of the popular Soleimani, has reduced himself further in twice threatening to destroy 52 Iranian cultural sites, one for each of the 52 hostages held by the Islamic Republic at the occupied U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. It is not certain whether Trump understands or has been briefed on the network Soleimani established to fight Iran’s enemies worldwide in the event of a U.S. attack on the Iranian homeland. However, Trump should be extremely worried.

Soleimani created layers and buffers around Iran of affiliated proxy forces able to strike U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf region. The largest contingent of Iranian proxies is found in Iraq, where the national government and PUK-controlled part of the Kurdistan Regional Government have numerous pro-Iranian elements. Included among the Quds Force proxies in Iraq and parts of Syria are the various PMF brigades and regiments: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) (the Khazali Network); Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (HHA); Kataib Sayyad al Shuhada (KSS) and its elite force, Saraya al-Dafa al-Shaab; Kata’ib Hezbollah; Saraya al Jihad; Turkmen Brigades; Peace Companies (formerly the Mahdi Army); Badr Organization (with members inside the Iraqi National Police) and its elite Wolf Brigade, a counter-insurgency unit that specializes in torturing prisoners to discover important intelligence; Sayyid of Martyrs Battalions; Imam Ali Battalions; Ashura Brigades; Khorasani Brigades (not to be confused with the Khorasan Group, a Sunni Al Qaeda affiliate); Supporters of the Creed Brigades; Mukhtar Army; Al-Risali Brigades; Jaysh al-Mu’ammal; Babylon Brigade, a Christian Chaldean unit; Iman Hussein Brigade, which operates with the Syrian Army’s 4th Division; Liwa Hashd Shuhada’ Kirkuk, a Sunni group operating in and around Kirkuk; Quwat Sahl Nīnawā (QSN), a Shabak group operating in Nineveh province; and the Lions of the Tigris, operating in Mosul.

In what will constitute a nightmare for U.S. intelligence and military commanders, these PMF units act largely independent of one another, especially after a call to arms is issued. In addition to the PMF units, other units allied with the Iraqi government include the Assyrian Nineveh Plain Protection Units; the Yazidi Protection Force of Êzîdxan (HPS); the Assyrian Bethnahrain Women’s Protection Forces operating in the Syrian-Iraqi border region; Bayariq al-Shaitat, a Sunni militia that operates in the Deir ez-Zour governate in Syria; Forces of the Fighters of the Tribes  in Syria; and the Syrian National Defense Forces (NDF), which operate with IRGC, Iraqi Kata’ib Hezbollah, and Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria.

In addition  to the layer of Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria, there is a second layer of additional forces from which Iran can draw to carry out asymmetric attacks against the U.S. These include Liwa Fatemiyoun, a Shi’a Afghan militia active in Syria against ISIS; Hezbollah in the Hejaz, which operates in Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a-populated Eastern Province, Kuwait, and Bahrain;  the Conquering Lion of God Forces of Iraq and the Levant; Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) that operates among the Shi’a majority in Bahrain (the home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet); the Brigade of Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas, a Shi’a “foreign legion” that operates in and around Damascus; the Syrian Ba’ath Brigades, the Syrian Christian militia of the Lions of the Cherubim, Ararat Group, Lions of the Valley, Lions of Hamidiya, Intervention Regiment, and Lions of Dwel’a; and the Syrian Palestinian militia of the Jihad Jibril Brigades, the Jerusalem Brigade, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Galilee Forces, As-Saiqa, and the Al-Aqsa Shield Forces.

A third layer, which exists outside of Iran’s immediate vicinity, includes Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank; Ansar Allah or the “Houthis” that control much of north Yemen; Lebanese Hezbollah; the Islamic Movement of Nigeria; the Tiger Force or 25th Special Mission Forces Division of the Syrian Arab Army; and Jaysh al-Muwahhideen, a Syrian Druze militia.

Trump may have threatened to destroy 52 Iranian cultural sites, however, Iranian culture, language, and religion external to the country also provides Iran with ready-made sympathizers found in Shi’a, Ismaili, and Zoroastrian Parsi communities. General Soleimani was adept at currying favor among pro-Iranian communities among the Talysh of Azerbaijan and in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan; the Balawaristan National Front in Gilgit-Baltistan in Kashmir; the Ismailis of Pakistan and Afghanistan; the Shirazi people of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Comoros; and the Hazara of Afghanistan.

In killing General Soleimani and top Iraqi Shi’a militia leaders in Iraq, Trump has echoed Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s  Julius Caesar: “Cry ‘Havoc!,’ and let slip the dogs of war.” Havoc is preparing to pay Mr. Trump and the U.S. armed forces a very uncomfortable visit.

January 11, 2020
© Photo: Wikimedia

4 Responses to “Soleimani was a former US ally”

  1. sharphelix says:

    Soleimani was a former US ally.

    All wars since 1900 have been totally fakes. This will prove unsettling to many veterans, who were crippled or killed in these fake wars. I served throughout World War II in the United States Army Air Corps, which was the first to use weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations, a fact which our opponent Saddam Hussein has strangely neglected to mention, probably because Saddam Hussein is a “replacement” not the opponent which we wanted at all, but a last-minute choice because no more suitable replacement was available. He has no illusions about his desirability, and no doubt accepts his billing without resentment, relieved that he had made the cast after all. The first question asked of anyone in the world of the theater is, “Are you working?” which remains the principal goal of the profession. Everything is a charade, which may or may not be entertaining. In fact, for me the sole entertainment has been in the research. It is amazing how often the same characters have been trotted forth to go through the same clichés, “the war to end war” and “the war to save democracy,” ad inifitum. In fact, most of these clichés sprang from the less than agile mind of Woodrow Wilson during the First World War. However else you might choose to characterize Woodrow Wilson, you must admit that he never failed to bore.

    • pete fairhurst says:

      Hi sharphelix

      When you say “totally fake” I presume that you mean that all wars have been created rather than happened organically. And that all wars were/are managed by powers higher than mere nation states?

      You surely do not mean that there were no deaths, no battles, no destruction, no refugees etc etc?

      I’m not being picky, just trying to understand what you mean.

      My old man almost served in the Brit airforce in WW2. Their bombing of civilians was certainly a war crime and undoubtedly real. Instead he drove a truck onto Sword Beach in Normandy on D day. He visited Hamburg on his way to Luneberg Heath where they signed the armistice. He was signals in the end, not bomber crew, he was a radio operator and followed the front all the way.
      He told me that Hamburg was just “piles of bricks, the buildings were all destroyed” also that it had “an appalling smell of death” that he thought was from the trapped bodies. So many died for sure

  2. Gordon says:

    The New Axis of Evil: the USA, the UK and Israel.

    “However else you might choose to characterize Woodrow Wilson, you must admit that he never failed to bore.”

    The man that sold America down the drain!

  3. sharphelix says:

    The National Anthem of Israel is and always was “Onward Christian Soldiers”

    The real machiavellian villains from the British side are Raab and Johnson – deliberately ramping up tensions in Iran and conditioning British public opinion against Iran so Johnson could abandon the JCPOA in favour of the “Trump deal”. There you have it, the deepest UK cut inflicted upon Iran, orchestrated by the shiny new US/Israel lickspittles in power in the UK. The Macaire “scandal” was nothing more than a useful incident for these criminals to roll out their US-aligned agenda against Iran.

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