Qassem Soleimani (sitting on the left) seen with Hadi al Amiri, Akram al Kaabi, and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis coordinating actions in Fallujah
Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force – the external operations wing of the Revolutionary Guards – has been spotted near the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
As the military operation to dislodge the Islamic State from one of its last remaining strongholds in Anbar province continues, the in-demand Soleimani is reportedly helping direct operations for the plethora of Iranian-backed militias taking part in the fighting.
A picture of Soleimani in the “Fallujah operations room” was posted to the Facebook account of Harakat al Nujaba (shown above). The militia’s leader, Akram al Kaabi, who is a US-designated terrorist, is also shown in the photo alongside Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. Muhandis is another US-designated terrorist and leads both Kata’ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades) and the umbrella Popular Mobilization Units.
Also pictured is Hadi al Amiri, the leader of the Badr Organization, another Iranian-backed militia. Amiri is closely tied to Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and to Qassem Soleimani. During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Badr fought on the side of the Iranians. Amiri is routinely photographed with Soleimani, and has been quoted as saying, “I love Qassem Soleimani! He is my dearest friend.”
The well-traveled Soleimani has been spotted numerous times in both Iraq and Syria helping direct Iranian-backed militias. In Iraq, this includes Tikrit, Samarra, and Jurf al Sakhar and a previous effort in Anbar province. In Syria, Soleimani has been spotting giving speeches to Hezbollah fighters in the coastal province of Latakia and has been seen with different militias in Aleppo. Soleimani was also photographed with militia fighters in southern Aleppo just last week.