Soleimani's Death Upsets Iran's Plan

(Asharq Al-Awsat-UK) Amir Taheri - Tehran's propaganda tries to sell Soleimani as a kind of superman who, almost single-handedly, brought Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and parts of Afghanistan and Yemen under Iranian control. Facts, however, offer a different portrait of the late general. Soleimani joined the Islamic revolution in 1980 at age 27. With no proper training, Soleimani found himself in command of a division of raw recruits. Under his command, Iranian forces suffered three of their biggest defeats in operations Al-Fajr 8, and Karbala I and Karbala II. However, Soleimani, demonstrating his genius for networking and self-promotion, scored a lasting victory when he attached himself to Ali Khamenei, the mullah who was to become the Islamic Republic's "Supreme Guide." Thanks to Khamenei's support, Soleimani succeeded in securing an independent fiefdom in the Quds Force which, though formally part of the Revolutionary Guard, has its own separate budget and chain of command and is answerable to no one but Khamenei. Soleimani seized control of Tehran's foreign policy in Arab countries, Afghanistan, North Korea, South America, and even Russia. Inside Iran, Soleimani built a state within the state. The Quds Force operates 25 jetties in five Iranian ports for its "imports and exports," with no intervention by the relevant authorities. A levy on imports of foreign cars is reserved for a special fund, controlled by the Quds Force, to cover expenditures in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and help pro-Iran Palestinian groups. Hundreds of Iranian and Arab militants have enrolled in Western universities with scholarships from the Quds Force. The Quds Force runs banks, several shipping lines and an airline. Some analysts in Tehran believe that Khamenei was planning to make Soleimani president of the Islamic Republic in 2021. The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979.

2020-01-17 00:00:00

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