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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....

Frame 01:

Frame 02:

Frame 03:

Frame 04:

Frame 05:

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  She's Irish. (13+ / 0-)

    Boston Irish.

    Went to Morocco and fell for Arabic, Arabs, and Arab culture. Made the finals of "Arabs Got Talent."

  •  So we should get between the Shia and the Sunni (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2008, amyzex, FG

    or on one side or another.  I may be one of those unsophisticated American players in the Middle Eastern game, but the Shia and the Sunni need to get to the peace table if they want for themselves, we could be Egypt however and act as go between to start the long painful path to forgiveness and reconciliation that they will need to get to if there is to be some peace sometime within  the Islamic family.  Unless ofcourse they wish to continue on the same old path of historical resentment from the days of succession when Islam was in it's infancy.  

    •  Since "Bandar Bush" and his Carlyle Group (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, Chi, PeteZerria

      made very wealthy people of the Bushes and their allies, we have been playing on the Sunni side.

      ISIS and JTND are fruit from that tree. No way the Saudis, Qatar, Bahrain would have financed them to go after the Shia in Syria without political cover in Washington. Helping their own Sunnis with the drought in Syria -- subsidizing lamb feed lots, for one -- would have been far cheaper, if humanitarian concerns were top priority.

      And yes, ISIS is hopelessly spread out. And they have been losing men by the hundreds.

      •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2008, Lepanto, wu ming, Chi

        and let us not forget The Redirection as exposed by Seymour Hersh.

        This is dated but I suspect this is still the strategy we are employing in the region. Note second paragraph below.

        The entire article may be read at the link above.

        The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” separating “reformers” and “extremists”; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were “on the other side of that divide.” (Syria’s Sunni majority is dominated by the Alawi sect.) Iran and Syria, she said, “have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize.”

        Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.

        Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

        by truong son traveler on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:07:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Condi Rice is an amazing liar. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler, Lepanto, Chi

          Sunnis finance and man both Hamas and ISIS. They recruit hundreds of suicide bombers. They worship the flame of Usama bin Laden.

          The Muslim Brotherhood is run by Salafi Sunni.

          But Condi presents the Shia as her agents for instability.

          The argument is so bad, it's not even wrong.

          •  I am confused (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming, Chi, waterstreet2008

            Hamas received support from Iran until the Syrian conflict created a problem when they would not support Assad.  The Muslim Brotherhood is distinct from, and generally  more moderate than, most of the Egyptian salafis:

            However, in fact the Islamists make up a broad and variegated fabric that ranges from the reclusive Sufis to the jihadist Salafis. There have always been varying degrees of interweaving between the diverse threads of this fabric, between these and other political and intellectual movements and trends in society, and between them and society at large, which forms the environment for such interactions in their constant ebb and flow.

            One area of interaction is that between the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest movement in political Islam, and the Salafis. The latter have become more widespread than the Muslim Brothers and, perhaps, more influential from both the theological/ideological and social standpoints. Indeed, their outlook has attracted many Muslim Brotherhood leaders, which has effectively led the movement away from the “balanced conception” of the Brotherhood’s founder and first supreme guide, Hassan Al-Banna, and towards a Salafist proselytising approach.

            Yet, the relationship between the Muslim Brothers and the Salafis in Egypt requires close and continual observation if we are to understand what has been driving the two sides to either embrace or part ways in tandem with the rush of events and changing perceptions of their respective interests in the fluid political scene that followed the 25 January Revolution.

            Also I do not think it is wise to think of the Syrians as inherently participants in some proxy sectarian war; while it would not be fair to say that sectarianism did not exist, its current resurgence reflects the interests of foreign interference and neo-colonialism (including collaboration with those interests on the part of players like Assad), not some kind of "ancient hatred," which is a favored Western narrative.  It is comparable, in many important ways, to the Hutu and the Tutsi.  

             Again, Assad and similar rulers are simply using this division to play revolutionary factions against one another.  I have friends from Syria whose families are mixed, and facts on the ground have torn their families apart after decades of integration.  We do not have to look very far from home to see how this can happen, racism in many northern cities was exacerbated by ruling class manipulation.  

             Unfortunately, what the Middle East needs, and what is the hardest thing to build, is class consciousness.  And once again ruling class factions have decimated any hope for secular liberal and leftist resistance.  

  •  I wondered why Iraq got so quiet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I figured that ISIS was stymied at this point.  The hysteria that they will take over all of Iraq is over.  It's likely a matter of time before they will be driven out.  They couldn't cease Syria and now they are stretched thin in Iraq and Syria.  

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:38:03 PM PDT

  •  Very interesting. (2+ / 0-)

    Sorry I can't read...whatever that language is. Arabic? Farsi?

    Thanks for posting.

    Marx was an optimist.

    by psnyder on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:44:40 PM PDT

  •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can't get behind those evil old bearded men in Iran anytime soon. ISIS are supreme assholes, but they are, too. As soon at the Persians are able to throw off the oppressive heirs of that scowling, unsmiling creature, the better for the world and for Iran.

    I don't know how I'm meant to act with all of you lot. Sometimes I don't try, I just na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na

    by Zornorph on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:21:48 PM PDT

  •  The stuff of legend... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...But before we place the laurel wreath on the general's head, let's review his career:

    Suleimani's  first combat mission was to crush Kurdish uprisings in Iran following the Islamic Revolution in '79.

    He was part of a clique of officers who threatened to stage a coup if President Khatami did not respond forcefully to the student uprisings in Tehran in 1999

    He is reputed to be the architect of Hezbollah's military wing in Lebanon.

    The Quds Force was instrumental in training Iraqi insurgents to attack U.S. troops with IED's. They were no doubt involved in the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad in 2007, when the city went from 65% Sunni to 75% Shia right under the noses of the American Occupation.

    In 2007 he was sanctioned by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union for providing material support for the Assad regime in Syria, in addition to coordinating Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia militias on its behalf.

    The man is a badass, but any NATO general could expel ISIS from Iraq in two weeks.  Suleimani deserves credit for being able to organize irregular forces, but that doesn't make him the new Saladin.

    He's loyal to a nation ruled by a repressive theocracy. I don't buy the diary's inference that because he's a competent soldier who wins victories over fanatics, he's not a fanatic himself.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:29:29 PM PDT

    •  Yes, Suleimani is Iran's Vo Nguyen Giap. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Respecting one's enemies and rivals is not an easy lesson.

      As to NATO generals, there is not one of them who could do jack trying to stop ISIS. No one would fight for them. No ground work has been done by NATO that would produce a trained Hizb Allah-like outpouring of willing fighters. There is also no NATO army to fight for them there.

      Indeed, NATO has been fighting in Afghanistan against no-tech Taliban and Drug Biz units. And surviving IEDs. How is that the relevant experience to crush ISIS ?

      I can't imagine General Ordierno sleeping in the cellar at al-Askari. Who would want him there?

      Change is the issue. If you want change, power is the prerequisite. So if America wants stability, we can watch General Suleimani and the Iraqis crush ISIS and then do what it takes to get to effective negotiations/planning.

      Gotta be better than taking bribes from the Saudis plus watching MENA go to Salafi hell.

      •  The analogy with Giap is a good one. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What I mean to say is that Suleimani's grasp of infantry tactics is no better than that of any NATO general. Anytime insurgents seize and attempt to hold territory, they become vulnerable.

        General Giap opposed the Tet Offensive for that reason, although he later conceded that the political effect on America was beneficial the cause.

        What bothers me about Suleimani is that he would easily surpass the NATO-types at counter-insurgency... because he's willing to be as ruthless as necessary to prevail, and he has motivated Shia cadres to follow his orders.

        I take your point about the "realpolitik" of the situation. We've all been saying that Bush/Cheney handed Iraq to Tehran on a platter when they purged the Baathist officers from the Iraqi Army.

        But the choice between an "Islamic Republic" stretching from Tehran to Damascus or an "Islamic Caliphate" run from Riyadh remains dismal. What the hell happened to the "Arab Spring?"

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 09:57:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Giap's Vietcong matches in quality to Suleimani's (0+ / 0-)

          militia upgrade to Hizb Allah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq -- the League of the Righteous led by Sheik Qais al-Khazali. What had been local militias has been converted to artillery- and C3I-capable auxiliary forces.

          Instead of "Islamic Republic" implying Iranian rule, try out "Shia Crescent."

          It stretches from Zahedan to Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut with a side-nod to Kirkuk. Straight line that at 1,500 miles. Population of 135-million. Two languages predominate, similar to Canada.

          And that's fundamentally a commitment to a form of government that adheres to Shia traditions. Not so much the Islamic Revolution in Iran, per se, so much as the way Shia areas have lived for centuries. Tolerance of other religions with the Shia is about opposite to what is being inflicted on ordinary Sunnis and minorities by the Salafi ISIS and their Saudi/Gulf States allies.

          Sunni Muslims are at no risk whatsoever, living in Iran. Compare/contrast with the ISIS areas, Bahrain, Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood had power, anything infected with Salafi madness.

          And yes, the Arab Spring. That is an urban phenomenon.

          Corrupt governments backed by the multinationals/EU/America are abhorred, but so what?. Want to see change, you need power -- where I'd bet on Suleimani and the deals you see with the Lebanese compromise government long-term.

  •  In 2003 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeteZerria, waterstreet2008

    Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Iran sent a diplomatic memo to the US via the Swiss.  It contained a 10 point plan for resolving the differences between the countries, including the nuclear disarmament  issue and Israel.   from 9/11 through 2003 Iran had been very cooperative with the US in the intelligence battle against terror.

    In response,  the Department of State prepared a Presidential Decision memorandum, proposing discussions based on the Iran offer.

    When DoD heard about it, they went nuts, this was the document that Larry Franklin at Doug Feith's office leaked to Israeli Consular officials in the Rosen/Weissman affair.

    Condi shut it down, and later denied ever seeing a communication from Iran.

    The immediate threat to the homeland is Salafic Sunni militancy, it is random, distributed, and franchised out.  Shia terrorism is more centralized, and used by states to achieve political objectives.

    A sensible foreign policy would be working towards reducing the tensions and the threat from the Shia/Sunni, Saudi/Iran divide, using our influence to keep their conflict from becoming kinetic, not picking sides, when we don't have to.
    There aren't any good guys in this story, only those who can help us achieve us objectives, and those who can't.  Knowing what our objectives are and should be is the challenge.

    •  Shia terrorism is pretty much killing militia (0+ / 0-)

      rivals in Lebanon. Hizb Allah has quite a body count going. They are allies to Iran, but hardly under their control.

      Shia out of Iran have never advocated suicide bombing aimed at civilians. A number of Shia Palestinians did this during Intifada II, but against explicit religious edicts. Suicide missions are allowed during wars.

      The Shia do not have a death cult.

      Iran is a theocracy. Thank the CIA for that one. Iranians are not particularly religious.

      Iran had a parliament and popular president before CIA went in crazy to install the Pahlevis. CIA always preferred dictatorships.

      •  Question for 2016 Presidential aspirants: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Given the amount of mayhem created by the CIA around the world that has cost thousands of of lives, for decades, including American lives, and trillions in American wealth,do you pledge that you will rein in the CIA (et al) and force them to stop their destructive shenanigans?"

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 07:16:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is no money in Suleimani's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    role as a protector and that pisses off the Saudi's, Israeli's and American's.   The dude is a genius in warfare and proves it daily.  It makes one wonder where the world would now be with an Iran that understands who the real enemies are to peace and how they could have made the world safer with their involvement after 9/11.  

  •  We are not inept. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We don't have (overt) boots on the ground. We don't have a massive unsustainable footprint in the middle of Syria/Iraq, losing soldiers to i.e.d.s.
    No doubt things could be better, and if we hadn't broken our military in Iraq and Afghanistan, we could have handled Syria easily (if Syria had happened).
    If there was even a glimmer of solidarity between the WH and the goppers on foreign policy we would have had much more power to gently wield that may have prevented Syria, Ukraine, etc.
    We might have had enough power to push Israel to a 2 state settlement of the Palestinian issue.

    It's possible the President may have chosen at times the wrong bad option from a list of all bad options.

    But if "Ol' Stinkybottom" were President, we'd be up  to our eyeballs in blood.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 07:02:50 AM PDT

    •  Really ??? (0+ / 0-)

      Consider the evidence:

      -- We did have boots on the ground... and produced at least 1,455,000 total extra deaths in Iraq while opening the door for al-Qaeda in Iraq, a.k.a. ISIS.

      -- We don't have anything in Syria. No influence, no allies.

      -- It's not that the U.S. military is "broken." Thing is, it is not designed to participate in MENA conflicts.

      In contrast, Iran's Qods Force is designed for MENA conflicts. Its Persian troops are taught Arabic with the basics of local dialects. The militias that QF helped develop in Lebanon and Iraq are at least as strong as the respective national armies.

      -- The worst of George Bush for the long term includes his "Axis of Evil" obsessions. That 2002 State of the Union address damned Iran despite that Iran was in negotiations at Basel offering the U.S. a free/no-conditions 20,000 troop boots-on-the-ground force to help crush Usama bin Laden and the Taliban.

      You have to look at the Carlyle Group and the House of Saud bribing the Bushes over decades to find a direct motive for damning Iran. Through the 1990s, Iran's support for Hizb Allah in Lebanon ran about 1/50th what the U.S. spent supporting its allies in Egypt and other MENA countries.

      Now Iran has put 2 battalions of their own troops on the ground to stop ISIS. That's a third of what they would have put into Afghanistan in 2002. Expect that commitment to go up to 20 battalions for the main counterattack, come mid-September or early October.

      And the Iraqi version of Hizb Allah has at least 5,000 trained troops up from Baghdad to Samarra and Tikrit. One surprise, if you will, these guys have members who are adequately trained artillerymen. Last week they killed 80 ISIS at Samarra and another 250+ ISIS back up the road sitting there doing nothing much.

      But what does corporate MSM report ??? ISIS takes the Mosul Dam up at the Syria border.

      Since ISIS took that area two months ago, so where's the news?

      Corporate MSM is still lost in the "Axis of Evil" speech. Reporting Iranian & Allied victories over al-Qaeda never happens.

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