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First Martyrdom Anniversary of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their Companions


Al-Ahed Reveals Commander Soleimani’s Leadership Secrets through Major General Mohsen Rezaei’s Outlook

Al-Ahed Reveals Commander Soleimani’s Leadership Secrets through Major General Mohsen Rezaei’s Outlook
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Note: The mystery surrounding the leadership skills of martyred leader Hajj Qassem Soleimani drew public attention and that of the elite in the Islamic world. A compilation of articles authored by leading university professors as well as experts in the sciences of defense and military leadership at the Imam Hossein University (PBUH) in Iran is set to be published. Major General Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council and the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards Corps at the time of the Sacred Defense, was asked to write an introduction to this compilation, which will soon hit the shelves.

Al-Ahed got a hold of the introduction and is making it available to our esteemed readers for the very first time.

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

{And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways.} (Surat Al-Ankaboot, verse 69)

Qassem Soleimani’s battlefield journeys and his leadership role date back to the time of the Sacred Defense when he was still a young man.  Prior to that, he did not attend any military school or have any military leadership training.

Most of the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ unit commanders acquired their experience on the battlefield during the period of the Sacred Defense. This is also true in the case of Hajj Qassem. They then became senior commanders who exposed the shortcomings of the most arrogant and highly equipped armies as well as the most formidable offensive organizations in West Asia.

On the opposite side of the aisle are generals from the most well-equipped and advanced armies in the world. Medals of varying colors decorate their military uniforms. They acquired their military knowledge and skills in no less than twenty consecutive years after passing specialized courses from the best and most prestigious military schools. They depended on the most advanced and most expensive technologies as well as on tens of billions of dollars. These same generals demonstrated very weak capabilities and were forced to retreat when confronted by hundreds of Qassem Soleimanis on the battlefield. Why? What are the secrets behind these victories?

My brother, the commander, the martyred General Qassem Soleimani believed that in addition to commemorating the martyrs and operations, the educational and leadership points of the Sacred Defense period must also be noted. And this matter was raised during one of the Iftar ceremonies I host in honor of the commanders each year. It was stressed that in addition to remembering the memories from the frontlines, it would be good to raise these meetings to another level and discuss jihadist principles used to manage the Sacred Defense. My brother Major General Rashid then gave a deep, concise, and detailed speech in this regard during the commanders’ Iftar, which came at the right time.

I’ll take this opportunity to put forward a piece of research on the mutual relationship between Qassem Soleimani and the Sacred Defense, hoping that the spirit of that high-standing martyr will be overlooking and complementing the research.

The bulk of the growing defense and security successes by the Islamic Revolution and the holy and popular system of the Islamic Republic of Iran are the result of the special approach in managing human resources during the Sacred Defense period.

Hajj Qassem Soleimani used to say repeatedly: "All I have is from the Sacred Defense period." We also know that all that the Sacred Defense period had was from Qassem Soleimani. The secret of this relationship is the very precise compatibility between the two.

The key components in the management of the Islamic Revolution and the Sacred Defense are "smart collective learning" and the "bilateral training or mutual training". These are the main factors that turned the Sacred Defense fronts into a comprehensive school. Imam Khomeini (may God be pleased with him) and Imam Khamenei have repeatedly emphasized the need to focus on the educational side of the fronts and that researchers and investigators in various universities, especially Imam Hossein University, should go in this direction. In-depth studies should be also be conducted in this field.

So, what does the "smart collective learning" of the Sacred Defense mean? This is a leap from individual learning to group learning, and from individual training to mutual training between multiple parties – from interim learning to permanent and continuous learning, and from stationary learning to dynamic learning.

In fact, we call this amazing phenomenon, a divine human miracle, and the gift of inspiration that was formed under the wilaya and with the blessing of jihad and martyrdom on the fronts of “smart collective learning”. The Quranic text describes it in Surat Al-Asr (Al-Tawasi) as a diverse spectrum of approaches and activities that transform all types of competitive incentives to cooperation and collaboration, and this cooperation develops and is used in the path of growth as well as individual and collective skills.

"Mutual learning" in Sacred Defense is often divided into two forms:

Mutual learning between the upper and lower ranks:

In this type of learning, the battalion commander with the commander of the legion, the division commander with the commander of the headquarters, and the commanders of the military headquarters with the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards Corps are all in a state of mutual interdependence. They learn from each other and exchange experiences and expertise.

The Revolutionary Guards do not have a series of officer ranks going in one direction without any interconnection. As a commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards, there was no operation I did without holding meetings with the battalion leaders, where I taught and learned. There was no operation done by Qassem Soleimani and the commanders of other legions, even the lowest ranks in the Guards such as group leaders and even company commanders, in which mutual learning was not applied.

Mutual learning between equal classes:

In this type of learning, leaders from equal ranks, for example headquarter commanders or corps commanders, adopt a mutual learning style.

Ultimately, “smart collective learning” is achieved through an organized and creative set of individual and group procedures, routines, processes, and instructions, in a way that everyone learns from each other while maintaining the hierarchy of leadership.

In this way, the traditional teacher-classroom style of learning is put aside to allow everyone in this comprehensive university to be both a teacher and a student at any given time and place. They become teachers and seekers of knowledge at the same time.

The next and most important step in achieving “smart collective learning” in Sacred Defense is for this type of learning to transcend time and become a continuous, future-oriented reality (with the ability to make changes, to be flexibile, and build the future). At this point in particular, soft power is generated.

The military and security dimensions of the soft power of the Islamic Revolution and the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran lie in its ability to be flexible and adapt to changes, especially since its been able to establish itself in the equations of southwest Asia.

Some experts divide people into four groups when it comes to generating change:

1- Those who make change

2- Those who predict change

3- Those who align with change

4- Those who confront change

The soft power of graduates from the Sacred Defense school who influenced the region through their will and work lies in their ascension from the aforementioned third group to the second and to the first, thus enabling them to bring about change, manage it, and ultimately build the future.

Collective learning in Sacred Defense includes two important characteristics: an “experienced person” and “an educational system that is prone to change”. In this way, creative flexibility is rooted in both the individual and the group in which the self can be quickly and accurately adapted to various experiences. Here, not only will the quality of the self be preserved, it will also continuously and progressively rise to reach the "capacity for renaissance and progress". This "ability to change" will be a prerequisite for civilization.

It is appropriate to include some examples of this:

In the fall of 1985 and in the midst of the Sacred Defense period, Iran faced the crisis of hijacking aircraft. One January night in 1985, the late Hajj Sayyed Ahmad Khomeini called. We were then with the southern operations command in the midst of preparing for the Badr Operation. Orders from the Imam were conveyed, in which he said: The Guards should speed up efforts to position themselves inside airports, and secure flights.

Of course, the Revolutionary Guards lacked any experience in deploying its forces at airports to secure flights. Everyone knows that protection and air security require careful and sophisticated training and experience in the field of aviation. However, the flexibility of the Revolutionary Guards and the capabilities of the sons of the Islamic Revolution allowed the Guards to accomplish this mission immediately. It quickly adapted to this new and different environment and task.

With the deployment of forces at airports and securing flights with minimum capabilities and in the shortest possible time, great success has been achieved so far. Dozens of hijackings have been thwarted. And over the past 36 years, the Guards have been fully successful in this mission.

In any case, as a result of the culture of "smart collective learning", the ability and effectiveness of the Qassem Soleimanis were demonstrated in Operation Fath-ol-Mobin. They were even more evident in Operation Tariq al-Qods. In Valfajr-8 and Karbala 5 operations, we witness first-hand their advanced capabilities.

After the end of the war and during his leadership of the southeastern headquarters, our dear Hajj Qassem managed to put an end to the absence of security and malicious acts that were then prevailing in Sistan and Baluchestan Province and extended towards Sirjan. He did so with the lowest possible cost, the most available means, and his forces. He also benefited from the participation of residents.

Moreover, he featured in the 33-day war with the Zionist entity as he employed his creative experiences alongside the brave and heroic Hezbollah leaders. He also triumphed in the battle against the Deash terrorist organization, using his experiences from the Sacred Defense period to defeat the organization with sophistication and intelligence. 

These facts are a prominent example of Imam Khomeini’s immortal statement: “During the war, we exported the revolution to the world.” There is also Imam Khamenei's statement regarding “the Islamic Revolution’s second step” which is based on “efforts to achieve modern Islamic civilization”.

This "mutual effect" mixed with "mutual growth" or "mutual construction" between leaders and warriors of the Sacred Defense had an effect not only in the arenas of jihad or between warriors, but also on the interaction between two or more leaders.

In addition to the "shared principles of the jihadist leadership school", each of the Sacred Defense leaders had distinct and different characteristics because of their active and creative participation in the field of jihad. In fact, the jihadist school of the Sacred Defense developed within each of the prominent leaders while they were on the battlefield.

Hajj Qassem exemplifies the jihadist leadership school of the Sacred Defense where the most positive features of jihadist management were demonstrated.

Qassem Soleimani achieved victories on the field of military jihad, including persuading the forces under his command and creating a kind of mutual support and harmony along the front. And whenever opportunity presented itself, he revealed his great capabilities in the field of political jihad as well as in the political and military discussions that required the ability to persuade and demonstrate affection, rapprochement, and alignment among the world's political leaders. We witnessed this when he succeeded in his discussions with world leaders such as Putin, Erdogan, Bashar al-Assad and other political leaders.

In examining the mutual effect between the Qassem Soleimanis and the Sacred Defense, it appears that our defense during the past eight years is a beautiful painting from the hadith of the Messenger of Islam (PBUH) in which he says: “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his subjects.” We used to teach and learn from each other. In fact, we made each other.

The same is true when we used to say that Qassem Soleimani is a Sacred Defense trainee and one of the Sacred Defense trainers as well. On the one hand, he played a role in Sacred Defense, and on the other, he was creating it. Hajj Qassem always asked for martyrdom, and God Almighty honored his jihad with martyrdom.

In conclusion, I send my sincere greetings to the souls of the martyrs of the Islamic world, especially the martyrs of the Sacred Defense period and the resistance front, and in particular the commander and Major General martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani, martyr Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes, and their companions. I hope that through reading this valuable book, which is seeing the light of day due to efforts of my brothers at the Imam Hossein University (PBUH) who deserve praise, our young generation will learn about the secrets and mysteries of the jihad and divine providence that Hajj Qassem was bestowed with and carry them as a method in their way of life. 

May God grant success

Mohsen Rezaei