Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian Major General in the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” (IRGC) and the Commander of the “Quds Force.” On January 3, 2020, he was assassinated by the US in a targeted drone strike.
Qasem Soleimani was born on Monday, March 11, 1957 (age 62 years; at the time of death) in Qanat-e Malek, Kerman, Iran. His zodiac sign is Pisces. He did not receive a proper formal education. During his youth, he moved to Kerman to work as a construction worker; as he had to repay a debt that his father owed.
In 1975, Qasem started working as a contractor for the Kerman Water Organization. When he was not at work, Qasem used to spend time at a local gym or he would attend the sermons of a traveling preacher, Hojjat Kamyab (protege of Ali Khamenei).
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Eye Color: Black
Hair Color: Grey
Family, Wife & Children
Qasem Soleimani followed Islam (Shia) ABNA 24. His father, Hassan Soleimani was a farmer who died in 2017. His mother, Fatemeh Soleimani was a homemaker who passed away in 2013. He had two brothers, Sohrab Soleimani (former director-general of the Tehran Prisons Organization) and Ahmad Soleimani. Qasem Soleimani also had five sisters. His wife’s name is not known. He has four children- Zeinab Soleimani, Mohammadreza Soleimani, and a son and a daughter.
In 1979, Soleimani joined the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” (IRGC) after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. He received minimal training, but he rose swiftly through the ranks due to his wit and intelligence. His first posting was as a guardsman in northwestern Iran where he participated in the suppression of a Kurdish separatist uprising in the “West Azerbaijan Province.” Once in an interview, he said-
I entered the war [Iran-Iraq war] on a fifteen-day mission and ended up staying until the end. We were all young and wanted to serve the revolution”
Soleimani had earned a reputation for his bravery, and he soon rose through the ranks of the IRGC after leading several successful operations of retaking the lands that had been captured by Iraq. Eventually, while still being in his 20s, he had become the commander of the “41st Tharallah Division.” He participated in many major operations, which led him to establish relations with the “Kurdish Iraqi leaders” and the “Shia Badr Organization,” both of which were opposed to Saddam Hussein.
In the 1990s, he earned a reputation as a successful fighter against drug trafficking when he was posted as an IRGC commander in the “Kerman Province.” It was an area through which Afghan-grown opium traveled to Turkey and Europe, and he had helped in arresting many drug traffickers. His exact appointment date as the commander of IRGC’s “Quds Force” is not known; however, an Iranian author, Ali Alfoneh, claims that it may have been between September 10, 1997, and March 21, 1998. On January 24, 2011, Soleimani was promoted to the rank of Major General by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei. Once, in an interview, Khamenei said-
I have a close relationship with Soleimani, and I consider him as a living martyr”
Soleimani was a close aide of Ali Khamenei, and Khamenei had also appointed him as a personal advisor. Once, a former CIA operative had described Soleimani as-
The single most powerful operative in the Middle East”
Soleimani was credited for the strategy that had assisted President “Bashar al-Assad” (Syrian President) in repulsing rebel forces and recapturing major towns and cities in Syria. He was also involved in the training of government militias and the coordination of decisive military offensives. The sighting of Iranian UAVs in Syria also suggested that Soleimani’s command, the Quds Force, was involved in the “Syrian Civil War.”
Soleimani had also played a key role in Iran’s fight against the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS). He is known to bring the Kurdish and Shia forces together to jointly fight the ISIS and overlooked the entire operation himself. He was also known to be fearless during the war; as he was on the battlefield himself, and he never used to wear a flak jacket (body armor) even when he was on the front lines. In November 2014, the Kurdish and Shi’ite forces under Soleimani’s command pushed out ISIS of many villages.
- In March 2007, he was included in a list of Iranian individuals who were targeted with sanctions by the “United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747.”
- In March 2008, the United States declared Soleimani as a terrorist and it also forbade US citizens from doing any business with him.
- On May 18, 2011, Soleimani, along with Bashar al-Assad and other Syrian officials, was sanctioned by the United States for their alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian Government.
- In September 2011, he was sanctioned by the Swiss Government for providing equipment and support to help the Syrian Government suppress protests in Syria.
- On November 13, 2018, the United States sanctioned Iraqi military leader, “Shibl Muhsin ‘Ubayd Al-Zaydi” and others who were acting on Soleimani’s orders to finance the military actions in Syria and providing support for terrorism in the region.
On January 3, 2020, Qasem Soleimani was killed in a targeted drone strike by the United States on orders from the US President, Donald Trump. At 1 AM (Iran local time) American drones targeted and shot missiles at Soleimani’s two-car convoy. Soleimani had just arrived in Iraq from Lebanon when he was shot down. His body was identified by a ring, which he always used to wear. His deputy, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and four other members of the Iraq-Iran military forces were also killed in the attack.
The United States claimed that they assassinated Soleimani as he was planning attacks on US assets, and he also had plans to attack many cities from New Delhi (India) to America. A day after his assassination, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi said that Soleimani was bringing Iran’s response to a letter that Iraq had sent on behalf of Saudi Arabia to ease tensions between the two countries. Following Soleimani assassination, Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani said-
Americans will feel the impact of their criminal act for years ahead”
On January 4, 2020, Soleimani was posthumously promoted to the rank of “Lieutenant-General.” Soleimani was succeeded by “Esmail Ghaani” as the commander of the Quds Force.
The assassination of Soleimani also caused an attack on the American Embassy in Baghdad by the people of Iran. Several leaders of Iran said that the attack had led to an escalation in tensions between US-Iran relations. On January 4, 2020, Soleimani’s funeral procession was held in Baghdad, which was attended by thousands of people. On January 6, 2020, his mortal remains were brought to Tehran for the funeral. The funeral was attended by the Supreme Leader of Iran, “Ali Khamenei,” Iraq’s Prime Minister, “Adil Abdul-Mahdi,” and many other leaders of Iran and Iraq. Ali Khamenei also led the procession and the prayers during the funeral.
- When he was in the IRGC, he often did not appear in his official military uniform but rather in plain clothes. There were also instances when Soleimani was not in his uniform even in the battlefield.
- Throughout his career, the press had speculated many times that he might get replaced as the commander of the Quds Force to run for the President of Iran. However, he never quit the force. He used to say-
I will always remain a simple soldier serving Iran and the Islamic Revolution”
- In January 2015, Hadi Al-Ameri (head of the Badr Organization in Iraq), in a statement about Haider al-Abadi (former Prime Minister of Iraq), said-
If Qasem Soleimani was not present in Iraq, Abadi would not be able to form his cabinet within Iraq”
- During the last rites of Soleimani, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei led the prayers of his funeral, and he was also seen weeping while he was praying.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 6, 2020
- On January 6, 2020, Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab Soleimani, addressed the people of Iran in a broadcast on state television and said-
My father’s death would bring a dark day for the United States. Crazy Trump, don’t think that everything is over with my father’s martyrdom”
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