Iranian Qods Force leader reportedly in Fallujah

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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.

Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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3 Comments

  • Ken North says:

    It would be interesting to know how many times the good General has been wounded on his battlefield inspection forays in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, and how seriously as well. He somehow manages to have the “golden hour” always on call.

    Rest assured that there are 6 0r 8 baathist-trained tier 2 level snipers that will be looking for him night and day in the Fallujah environs. If they have set any uparmored BMP/VBIED’s back for this battle, one or more may easily have the General’s name on them.

  • TRM says:

    Widely regarded as a sort of Iranian Patton, he’s really not that good.

    Good luck to the Iraqis trying to clear Fallujah. They don’t have the Marines this time. Maybe they’ll have the Iranians try it.

    If that happens, I wish both the Iranians and ISIS the greatest of success, as the Israelis would say.

  • feldman says:

    I’m gratified that the forces trying to liberate fallujah are muslim and competent. The record of the US in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria so far is pathetic. Is there a more unimaginative group than the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the thousands of overpaid screen starers, consultants and bureaucrats that draft their endless and futile plans? Iran spends far less pre employee as does China, with far more effective result than the declining, crashing into defeat USA. The majority of people in Iraq are grateful of the assistance of Iran, which, along with theKurdish forces, shamefully negelcted by the Pentagon bureaucrats, are the only hope to defeat the so called Islamic State. When the true origins of the Islamic State are revealed, the dagger in the heart of the US intelligence schemes and its ally will sever the syndicate once and for all.

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