The Martyrdom of Soleimani & Al-Muhandis: It’s War
Hassan Oleik – Al-Akhbar Newspaper
Hajj Qassim Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis never took excessive security precautions. On the contrary, their movements were natural and all but public. In Baghdad, most of the people working in the public sphere knew the precise time that Hajji [Qassim Soleimani] was arriving from Tehran or other places to the Iraqi capital. It was known who he met with and was planning to meet with.
The pair stared death in the face on numerous occasions during their time on the battlefields of Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. They have long been in the crosshairs of the “Israeli” Mossad and the American CIA. But the decision not to assassinate them in the past was fueled by the power of deterrence in the axis of resistance.
Their assassination at dawn on Friday was not a complicated security operation. But politically and militarily, it was the most severe operation that the axis [of resistance] has had to contend with since Hajj Imad Mughniyeh’s martyrdom, to say the least.
It was a harsh blow that opens the door of madness in the region.
Whoever made the decision is either stupid and does not know what he did or is most likely opening the door to a war that was planned in advance.
It is a decision through which the United States wants to tell the axis of resistance that "your deterrent force is eroding, and we will spare no effort in preventing you from expelling us from the region. We will target all your leaders and your points of strength."
It is a zero-sum-game, and the only way for the axis of resistance to deal with it is through revenge. It isn’t only about revenge but also the restoration of respect to its deterrent force and the consolidation of what it has accomplished over several decades.
The assassination of the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Hajj Qassim Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad just before midnight on Thursday (January 2, 2020) cannot be viewed as just another event in the region.
Soleimani was the most famous Iranian general, Hajj Imad Mughniyeh’s partner in defending Lebanon in the 2006 war. He was the first to support the Iraqi resistance against the American-British occupation. He was the engineer of the defense lines of Damascus and the field partner of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in major Syrian battles, including the liberation of Aleppo. He was the man who negotiated with Russian President Vladimir Putin and persuaded him to interfere in Syria. Moreover, he was the partner of the director of Turkish intelligence, Hakan Fidan, in settling issues in northern Syria and elsewhere. Soleimani was also the first link between Iran and the Palestinian resistance factions.
During his reign, the Quds Force became a regional superpower working as a military and logistical support force in areas extending from Yemen in the south to beyond Iraq in the north, passing through Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip, where he played a significant role in developing the capabilities of the resistance.
“Israel” has been following him persistently and operationally in Iraq and Syria. The “Israelis” sought to prevent him from transporting balance-changing weapons to the two countries and replicating the model of the Lebanese resistance there. For Tel Aviv, it was an existential threat.
Hajj Qassim Soleimani was killed on his way from Baghdad airport to the Iraqi capital. In the eyes of the axis of resistance, this road is the same road that leads to Al-Quds (Jerusalem). He was coming from Damascus, so Al-Muhandis came out to meet him at the airport. They left in a simple convoy, consisting of only two cars. American drones targeted them shortly after they set out from the airport. Everyone inside the two vehicles was killed. Apart from Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, the PMU’s protocol officer and head of public relations Mohammed Rida Al-Jaberi and several Hashd members were also martyred.
Meanwhile, Al-Muhandis (his real name was Jamal Mohammed Jafaar) was practically the chief of staff of the Popular Mobilization Units. He was a former deputy in parliament. He returned to Baghdad in 2003 from Tehran after more than twenty years in exile. His opposition to the Ba'athist regime and President Saddam Hussein led him to the post of leader of the Badr Corps in the mid-eighties. During that period, he gained extensive military experience, which he soon developed in resisting the American occupation and fighting ISIS. The sixty-year-old who hails from Basra was implicated in a number of "terrorist" cases, such as the Kuwait bombings that targeted the US and French embassies in 1983.
Washington was quick to claim responsibility for their assassination through a US official who spoke to Reuters. Their assassination comes in a highly complex Iraqi political and military context. There is a popular uprising that Washington is seeking to take advantage of to reduce Tehran’s influence in Mesopotamia and carry out a coup against the Hashd and the Iraqi resistance factions.
On the military front, the American occupation forces on Sunday attacked the headquarters of the PMU along the Iraq-Syria border near Qaim city. The attack killed more than 25 fighters and wounded dozens more. It was not, however, in response to the targeting of a US military base in Baghdad. Rather, an attempt by the occupation forces to instate new political rules designed to separate Syria from Iraq as well as undermine the Hashd and the rest of the forces of the resistance axis in Mesopotamia.
Everyone was waiting for a response to the American occupation. However, the Americans went too far and assassinated Hajj Qassim and Al-Muhandis at dawn on Friday. This time, the operation’s objective is to separate Iran from Iraq and the rest of the forces of the axis of resistance.
The US-Gulf rumor machine was put into action immediately after the crime was committed. Leaders from Lebanon’s Hezbollah were said to have been martyred along with Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. However, Iraqi and Lebanese sources denied that there were any martyrs from the party.
Then, the Saudi Arabian channel Al-Arabiya reported that US Marines arrested the leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Party, Sheikh Qais Khazali, and the leader of the Badr organization, Hadi Al-Amiri.
The news was false, but it was an indication about the list of American targets in Sawad [name used in early Islamic times for southern Iraq]. Khazali and Al-Amiri, alongside Al-Muhandis and other leaders in the Hashd and other Iraqi resistance factions, led protesters that stormed the American embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday to express anger at the ongoing aggression.
Soleimani and Al-Muhandis’s assassination was not a passing event. It was a decision made by the American administration to ignite the region, or at the very least, an attempt to turn back time and erase achievements recorded by the steadfastness of the axis of resistance in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Palestine. It was also an attempt at further aggression, which is intended to destroy all cumulative achievements of this axis.
Despite the absence of information from any reliable source within the resistance, a response is imminent. There were red lines that were crossed following the assassination of Soleimani, specifically. Accordingly, the United States will pay a heavy price.