Who Was Soleimani?

January 3. At around 1.00 am Baghdad time. A US drone pounded Baghdad airport killing Qaseem Soleimani, along with his Iraqi militia leaders and other aides. The assassination was ordered by Donald Trump. For one thing, Trump didn't face flak from any quarter because of his illegal act of war. The reason: he ostensibly did the misdeed to protect American interests in Iraq and save American soldiers from sporadic attack, rather suicide attack, even in the so-called green zones.

In opposing American occupation of Iraq and counter revolution in Iran it is essential to grasp the concrete specifics of the changed geo-political scenario in the Middle East as America no longer depends on Arab oil to fuel its war machine. And this can begin with the question: Who was really Soleimani?

Soleimani was the notorious counterrevolutionary hardliner. He suppressed the Kurd resistance movement with unprecedented brutalities and got prominence in Iranian politics. The ongoing protest in Iran, criticising the government's military adventure in the region at the expense of people's living standards, have implicitly been directed against Soleimani, as have anti-sectarian and revolutionary protests in Iraq and Lebanon.

Soleimani's departure from the counter revolutionary theatre of war undercuts the Iranian people's freedom struggle and allows the Iranian regime to deploy more of its military and paramilitary forces against protesters and movement for democracy.

That Trump didn't precipitate the Soleimani crisis to help Syrian fighters was a fact of life but it put a brake on the counter revolutionary agenda of Iran. No doubt the sentiment was echoed by people all over the region who have suffered through Soleimani's ruthless suppression, first as the architect of Iran's regional imperialism and second, at the most recent crossroads of world history, as major global powers' tools against Syrian liberation.

The road to Quds (Jerusalem) taken by his fascist "Quds Forces" is littered with bones of peaceful Iranian protesters, Syrian revolutionaries, Yemeni Arab Spring activists, the Palestinians of shattered homes and most recently, the hundreds of Iraqi Shia protesters shot down by his militias.

Soleimani's replacement, Esmail Ghanni, parrots and defends the same fascist views—that have been utterly discredited among most Iranians. Both Trump and Soleimani are manifestations of the changed world. Challenged by crises and revolutions, above all the Arab Spring, this oppressive system has turned increasingly to counter-revolution and fascistic methods, doubling down on repression and the march to limited war. In truth both Baghdadi and Soleimani died by the reactionary hand of US president Trump, the ultimate beneficiary of their work. Trump and Soleimani found themselves in opposition but they are merely opposite sides of the same coin, not absolute opposites.

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Vol. 52, No. 37, Mar 15 - 21, 2020