For Americans, this general is known to Middle East political wonks. He is Major General Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran's Qods Force. That operation is similar to the CIA's in-house special forces. When you google him, add the step of forgiving the propaganda goons who try to dip him in "Axis of Evil" slime.
Recently the General has been sleeping in the cellar at the rebuilt Golden Mosque in Samarra. The al-Askari Shrine. He is there to stop ISIS. At Samarra and just to the north up Route 1 at Tikrit his force of Iraqi Army, trained Iraqi militia, and Qods Force regulars has fielded upwards of 15,000 troops and hundreds of artillery pieces. Over the last month his operation has stopped ISIS cold.
After the June invasion ISIS had 500 raiders inside the city of Tikrit. These raiders have been eliminated. Last Thursday ISIS made another run into Samarra and had 80 raiders killed inside the city walls. Another 250+ were killed outside and in follow-ups that trapped the support group. An ISIS attack on the Adhaim Dam lost that battle with casualties that apparently reached the entire force. No extended pursuit was needed. No prisoners.
They wanted martyrdom? They got it.
Professional use of artillery beats putting anti-aircraft guns in pickup trucks and waving black flags. General Suleimani replicates tactics from his 2012 victory over ISIS at Qusayr in Syria. His system sets up strong perimeter defenses with howitzers and mortars. Then probes go in to locate ISIS heavy weapons, followed by artillery barrages. Then more probes and more artillery. After these series of actions, a professionally led ground assault proceeds with every convenience.
ISIS is not an army. Against General Suleimani, they are meat. His successes come as the ISIS psychopaths have killed some 6,000 Iraqis, targeted 150,000 at-will victims for theft and brutality, and displaced another 500,000 at the least.
We Americans? On the evidence we are simply inept at playing in the Middle East.
Consider this: the Qusayr victory against ISIS got General Suleimani on Kill Lists at the United States and EU. He was tagged officially, then, as a terrorist. Through 2012 and early 2013 we were still supporting ISIS and JTND and encouraging Gulf State support of ISIS against the Assad regime. (The Assad Sarin attack came later, in 2013. There are still arguments about how that happened. "Who's Sarin?" is a live question.)
This "terrorist" Suleimani is the same General Suleimani who in 2001 and 2002 had conveyed Iran's offers to train and support 20,000 troops for Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. That offer was made formally to the American government after Taliban killed two groups of Iranians in Northern Afghanistan.
Iran's Supreme Leader used General Suleimani as his representative to commit to boots on the ground to help America kill Usama bin Laden and eliminate al-Qaeda.
That offer was ignored/dropped as George Bush put Iran on his "Axis of Evil" list.
We're amateurs at this stuff. Self-inflicted losers at "Pick Em." Fairly, based on results after 9/11, we do not understand MENA politics or any part of leadership in that part of the world.
Saudi Arabia produced Prince Bandar. Israel has produced Bibi Netanyahu. Iran produced General Suleimani. I suppose we can say that America has produced Barack Obama.
There's also the joke option: John McCain. We produced McJoke, who is finally getting over his delusion, shutting the pie-hole on his "arm the Moderate Syrian rebels" scheme.
Have you seen anything dumber than that? Ever?
"Praise the heart of the Palestinian resistance...."
Now comes a letter. A poem, to be accurate about it. It is the stuff of General Suleimani's world view: a world where there is a Paradise of the battlefield. Where martyrdom is real. Where dying for the Cause of the Islamic Revolution beats old age. Where Hamas is heroic and must not be disarmed.
We need a literary translation to English.
A good one. Worthy of Dante. Worthy of Xenophon's "Anabasis." For this letter reflects the very soul of Shia military Islam.
Please give a pass on the anti-Zionist lines. It's more than something in the water. They're all like that. They believe that what has happened to the Palestinians is Satanic. Their world view runs in blacks and whites.
Reaction in Tehran to the letter crosses the usual lines. After all, this guy is the real thing. A national hero, fully earned. During the Iran-Iraq War he went out at night doing his own night recon missions. Sounds impossible except that America has had one general like that: Douglas MacArthur. Who did exactly the same form of overnight recons during WW I as a front lines general. (The other 37 American Expeditionary Force generals spent their WW I's for the most part back at HQ with General Pershing.)
Between the Iran-Iraq War, Reagan taking sides with Saddam Hussein against Iran, anti-drug wars, protecting Shia communities from Salafi threats, and on and on this General Suleimani has been fighting one war or another most days for 35 years. Wherever the wars are located, he leads from the front.
I have a plan to construct a reply to General Suleimani's poem.
But first, there needs to be a good translation. A business translation doesn't work. Something accurate and respectful. A piece of work that is aware that Salafi ISIS has come out opposing Hamas, claiming that the Hamas connection with Shia Islam is a filthy perversion. Damning all of Shia Islam. To ISIS, the Shia and Hamas are as bad or even worse than "Zionists." Impure.
And now ISIS is at open war with General Suleimani and the Shia branch of Islam.
What the ISIS killings in Iraq have produced is a Shia army that will number some 750,000 troops in September. Add to that at least two tribes of the Iraqi Sunnis. The latter tribes are finished/done with anything carrying the stench of Salafi fanaticism. The two tribes matter politically and several of their men have been fighting with Suleimani's force at Tikrit.
The poem should be read the way you read "The Prince."
Perhaps an argument can be made, or constructed:
-- that Forgiveness is greater than Martyrdom.
-- That any part of a collective revenge is an invitation to Satan to enter one's soul. It is not mindful.
-- Forgive "the Zionists" first and move on from there.
This argument must come from English, not Arabic or Persian. The reply needs suitable rhythms so it translates to both languages.
Below the orange muffin for General Suleimani letter....
And the page in Iran:
Discussed with short clips here:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Keep in mind that the poseurs and the con artists are followers. They can't lead Arabs or the Persians to anything new. Their tool boxes overflow with human weakness; they get along with bribes.
General Suleimani is the one figure in MENA with every credential for leadership.
After he completes the slaughter of ISIS, which could well carry back into Syria to the Turkish border, General Suleimani will be the man President Obama will need to talk to for enduring change.
In Iran the Supreme Leader characterizes him as their Living Martyr.
The General is where you go to get change.
Going to the Iranians and to this one singular Iranian is one helluva lot better than having our Bushes and Clintons take barrels of money from Prince Bandar. And having our NeoCons taking money by the $500,000 a year from far right Israelis.
Washington corruption has to be rooted out, then the right table can be set and leadership can make changes.
This is the guy for the other side of that table. When we are clear of our own corruptions, that is. Absolutely not the Saudis and the way things have been going since Yitzhak Rabin, not the Israelis. America and Iran. That is the beginning.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The gal in the comment video is Jennifer Grout. 2013.