A US military strike in Iraq killed Qasem Soleimani, the notorious commander of the terrorist Quds Force, on January 2. The overwhelming majority of Iranians despised Soleimani, an infamous symbol of regime intimidation and murder, for his crimes against the Iranian people and throughout the region. The Iranian people and Iraqi protesters who have been calling for Soleimani’s expulsion from Iraq for some time welcomed his death as a sign of the demise of the regime’s control over their country.
Soleimani, carrying the rank of major general, was in disrepute as the hatchet man for Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and was a hated figure. During uprisings in Iran in 2018 and 2019, protesters tore up and torched his posters in different cities.
Qassem Soleimani, usually referred to as Haj Qasem by Iranian state media, was born on March 11, 1957, in a village near the town of Baft, in the southeastern province of Kerman. He did not finish his elementary education. He worked as an unskilled construction laborer while he was very young. He did not receive any military training. Yet he rose to the top of the IRGC command because of his ruthlessness and loyalty to Khamenei.
In 1998, Soleimani was appointed as the commander of the terrorist Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its extraterritorial arm.
Although the Quds Force is assigned to missions outside Iran, Soleimani, as a member of the IRGC high command, has been a major contributor to the regime’s repressive machine inside Iran.
In July 1999, at the height of student protests, he signed a letter along with other IRGC commanders, warning then President Mohammad Khatami that if he did not put down the revolt the IRGC would intervene. “Our patience has run out,” the generals wrote. The police crushed the demonstrators, as they did again, a decade later.
Soleimani’s role in murdering MEK members
Qasem Soleimani killed 141 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in terrorist attacks in Iraq from 2009 to 2016 using Quds Force proxies in Iraq which he commanded.
He directed several of the attacks against Camp Ashraf, where MEK members resided. Subsequently, when MEK members relocated to Camp Liberty under UN and US auspices, Iranian regime proxies launched numerous missile attacks on Camp Liberty on orders of Soleimani, killing several dozen. A list of attacks and those killed follows:
- Ashraf, July 28 and 29, 2009 killing 13 MEK members
- Ashraf, April 8, 2011 Killing 36 MEK members
- Liberty, February 9, 2013 Killing 7 MEK members
- Liberty, June 15, 2013 Killing 3 MEK members
- Ashraf, September 1, 2013 Killing 52 MEK members
- Liberty, December 26, 2013 Killing 4 MEK members
- Liberty, October 29, 2015 killing 24 MEK members
The Ashraf massacre
Soleimani’s most heinous crime occurred on September 1, 2013, when proxies of the Iranian dictatorship, including Kata’ib Hezbollah and Asa’eb Ahl Al-Haq, attacked Camp Ashraf in Diyala province in Iraq. At the time, only 101 MEK members were residing there as custodians of their properties under an agreement with the UN and US. The attack led to the execution-style killing of 52 defenseless MEK members and seven were taken hostage.
At 5:15 am, the assailants attacked the camp from various directions, and until 7 am they were busy murdering, massacring, bombing and kidnapping. Because of this criminal act, 52 defenseless residents were killed execution-style, some while they were handcuffed or wounded in the clinic, and seven people, including six women, were taken hostage. After six years, there is no news about the hostages’ fate. In this attack, millions of dollars of the residents’ property were destroyed due to explosions and fires.
The IRGC announced in a statement: “In a revolutionary act, the brave children of the Iraqi martyred combatants took their historical revenge from the Mojahedin Organization.”
The terrorist Quds Force’s news agency called Tasnim, attributed the attack to an unknown group named as “The popular tendency of the Entifadiya Sha’baniya children”. This is exactly the same known tactic used when a group called Jeish Al-Mokhtar took responsibility for the rocket attack on Camp Liberty. These groups are no more than subordinates of the Quds Force that work in full collaboration with the Iraqi government.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed on September 2, 2013: "Following the chemical bombing in the Damascus outskirts and the rising probability of a military strike by the U.S. against Syria, Khamenei demanded that the project of massacre in Ashraf be expedited. On Tuesday, August 27, Commander of the terrorist Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani hurriedly travelled to Iraq and met with Nouri al-Maliki out of ordinary administrative hours (at 10:30 pm). In that meeting, the probability of a U.S. attack on Syria and the Ashraf massacre were discussed. In that meeting, where Maliki’s National Security Advisor Falih al- Fayyadh was also present, Soleimani and Maliki concurred on the timing of the attack on Ashraf. As such, practical steps to implement the attack, while the preparations had already been made, started.”
Soleimani’s crimes abroad
Suleimani has orchestrated attacks in places as far flung as Thailand, New Delhi, Lagos, and Nairobi—at least thirty attempts in 2011 and 2012 alone.
One of his notorious acts abroad was a scheme, in 2011, to hire a Mexican drug cartel to blow up a popular restaurant in Washington, DC, in which the Saudi Ambassador to the United States was dining a .
In the 2019 unrest in Iraq, repressive forces adopted a new deadly tactic: snipers targeted protest leaders from rooftops during demonstrations. These snipers shot most of the 450 protesters killed during the protests. The protestors apprehended a few snipers with Iranian identity cards. In November, the same deadly tactic was used in Iran were more than 1,500 protesters, mostly youth in their twenties, were shot from rooftops by snipers belonging to the Quds brigade. Soleimani was the mastermind for such killings in Iraq and Iran.
Soleimani is also responsible for the killings in Syria. It was reported in the press that in 2012, Bashar Assad was in a difficult situation. His army was not fighting for him, and Soleimani boasted he would bring Bassij brigades to help. It was also reported that in August of that year, 48 Iranians were captured inside Syria posing as pilgrims later to be identified as Quds force members. Soleimani began to bring in foreign militia forces composed of Hezbollah members and Iraqi Shiite militias. His second in command, General Hossein Hamedani was settled in Syria , and supply began to fly in heavily from Iran. Soleimani reassembled different Syrian intelligence apparatus parts as the number of Quds forces officers and their foreign proxies present in Syria rose to thousands. 2000 Hezbollah fighters joined the concert in April 2013. Finally, with no less than 80.000 fighting forces under Quds force’s command , Bashar Assad was saved from downfall.
For years, Suleimani had sent operatives into Iraq to cultivate Shiite militias, so, when Saddam fell, he already had a fighting force in place: the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of a Shiite political party formed by the mullahs’ regime, under the name “ Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq”. The Party’s leaders so thoroughly identified with the Iranian revolution that Badr’s militiamen had fought alongside Iranian forces in the Iran-Iraq War, and against the Iranian Resistance.
According to press reports in 2004, the Quds Force began flooding Iraq with lethal roadside bombs that the Americans referred to as E.F.P.s, for “explosively formed projectiles.” The E.F.P.s began to wreak havoc on American troops, accounting for nearly twenty per cent of combat deaths. E.F.P.s could be made only by skilled technicians, and they were often triggered by sophisticated motion sensors. “There was zero question where they were coming from,” General Stanley McChrystal, who at the time was the head of the Joint Special Operations Command. “We knew where all the factories were in Iran. The E.F.P.s killed hundreds of Americans.”
Suleimani encouraged the head of intelligence for the Assad regime to facilitate the movement of Sunni extremists through Syria to fight the Americans. It was further reported that in many cases, Al Qaeda was also allowed a degree of freedom in Iran as well, to prepare attacks on Western targets in Saudi Arabia. But Soleimani’s strategy of abetting Sunni extremists backfired horrendously: shortly after the occupation began, the same extremists began attacking Shiite civilians and the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government.
Crimes of Qassem Soleimani against PMOI/MEK – over forty terrorist acts
- Terrorist attack on Camp Faeze in Kut, Iraq, May 7, 1999
- Terrorist attack on Camp Habib in Iraq, September 25, 1999
- Ground missile attack on Camp Ashraf in Iraq, April 18, 2001
- Ground missile attack on Camp Anzali in Iraq, April 18, 2001
- Ground missile attack on Camp Habib in Iraq, April 18, 2001
- Ground missile attack on Camp Alavi in Iraq, April 18, 2001
- Ground missile attack on Camp Faeze in Iraq, April 18, 2001
- Unmanned aerial surveillance of Camp Ashraf, April 19, 2001
- Terrorist attack on Camp Habib, June 7, 2001
- Terrorist attack on Camp Faeze, August 9, 2001
- Terrorist attack on Camp Habib, August 31, 2001
- Terrorist attack on Camps Anzali, Ashraf, Alavi, April 12, 2003
- Terrorist attack on MEK convoys in Diyali province, April 15, 2003
- Terrorist attack on MEK positions in area of Imam Veis, April 18, 2003
- Terrorist attack on MEK positions in area of Mandali, April 23, 2003
- Terrorist attack on MEK convoy in bridge leading to Meghdadiye, April 25, 2003
- Terrorist attack on MEK convoy with RPG rockets, April 27, 2003
- Terrorist attack on two MEK convoys on road to Harouniye in Diyali province, April 29, 2003
- Terrorist attack on MEK convoy on road to Khalis, April 29, 2003
- Mortar attack on Camp Ashraf, July 17, 2003
- Terrorist attack on MEK logistical convoy in front of Camp Zakeri, August 1, 2003
- Kidnapping of two MEK members in Karade area of Baghdad, August 4, 2003
- Terrorist attack on bus of Iraqi laborers on road to Khalis, May 29, 2006
- Explosion of water pipes to Camp Ashraf, July 17, 2006
- Explosion of water pipes to Camp Ashraf, July 22, 2006
- Explosion of water pumping station to Camp Ashraf, February 8, 2008
- Grad missile attack on Camp Ashraf, May 26, 2008
- Grad missile attack on Camp Ashraf, July 4, 2008
- Katyusha rocket attack on Camp Ashraf, December 25, 2011
- Mini-Katyusha rocket attack on Camp Ashraf, December 27, 2011
- Missile attack on Camp Ashraf, December 28, 2011
- Missile attack on Camp Liberty, February 9, 2013
- Missile attack on Camp Liberty, April 29, 2013
- Missile attack on Camp Liberty, June 15, 2013
- Terrorist attack and massacre of 52 MEK members in Camp Ashraf, September 1, 2013
- Kidnapping of 7 MEK members in Camp Ashraf during terrorist attack, September 1, 2013
- Missile attack on Camp Liberty, December 26, 2013
- Missile attack on Camp Liberty, January 27, 2016
One of the crimes committed by Qassim Suleimani in Syria