Qassem Soleimani to play “major role” in Mosul operations

The spokesman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) announced on August 6 that Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, will play a major role in the upcoming operations to take the city of Mosul from the Islamic State. The spokesman defended the presence of Iranian military advisors in Iraq.

According to translations of his remarks published by IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency, the spokesman called Soleimani “one of the most important military advisors” from the Islamic Republic of Iran. He added that Soleimani and other Iranian advisors are in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government and that they provide important consultation.

Soleimani is rumored to have arrived in Iraq last week to prepare for the battle of Mosul with the Iraqi government forces and PMF. An unnamed Iraqi parliamentarian claimed in an Asharq al Awsat article on August 3 that Soleimani arrived without a passport and visited Mosul, Kirkuk, and the Nineveh area.

The claim about Soleimani’s presence in Iraq could not be independently verified. Iranian media publicized on August 2 details of his visit to the family of a slain senior Afghan militia commander in Iran that had taken place few weeks ago.

The Asharq article also quoted a high-ranking PMF official, Nizam Assadi, discussing Tehran’s military assistance. He affirmed that the agreement between the two governments allows for Iran to supply the PMF, Iraq’s ministries of defense and interior, and its counterterrorism agency with “weapons, advisors and trainers for the war on ISIS.”

Soleimani directs IRGC operations in the Iraqi and Syrian theaters. The IRGC has deployed elite Iraqi and Lebanese proxies to Aleppo this past week to bolster the forces of Bashar al Assad, after rebels succeeded in breaking the siege of eastern Aleppo on August 6.

Amir Toumaj is a Research Analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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6 Comments

  • tuffsnotenuff says:

    Surround-and-annihilate. The General did not invent this battle plan. Beginning at al-Qusayr in 2012 in Syria he did demonstrate how it could be used to blunt the Islamists’ suicide bomb attacks and eventually wipe them out for an urban area.

    Unlike the Americans who think that pushing an insurgent force out of a city is important, Suleimani has been adamant all along that mercenaries can only be stopped by killing them. Gaining territory, per se, is irrelevant to achieving victory.

    The Perpetual War crowd hate his guts.

    • Moose says:

      Exactly. There’s a prevailing notion in contemporary military strategy that somehow killing the enemy doesn’t work. It’s not totally wrong either. For instance, a war of attrition wouldn’t have worked in Vietnam b/c it was a fundamentally different war. Raining death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, would have broken those insurgencies. We just didn’t have good strategies in place.

  • Robert Henderson says:

    Please help me stay abreast of developments in the mid-east.

  • Frank Dunn says:

    Soleimani has plenty of hard currency to hand out to his militia thanks to the “ObamaCash for Hostages” program. Since Iran has seized another 3 to 4 Americans since Obama’s last hostage payment, there will be plenty of bonus money to hand out once Mosul is re-retaken.

    Only question is why does Obama have our Air Force use unmarked planes? The Iranians know that the US planes are carrying pallets of cash in exchange for hostages.

  • Jo Flemings says:

    Soleimani is a formidable adversary, so not a ‘good guy’ nor a friend to the US, but frankly, I am really glad he is a key player in the fight against ISIS. He leads from the front, he is a respected leader and soldier, a seasoned fighter and probably a ruthless enemy. I thought the last we knew about him was a concern over him having been gravely wounded. Very interesting.

  • WonderingAloud says:

    Let’s say Soleimani is succesful in his endeavor. What then? We shift gears from radical Sunni to radical Shiite. Not much difference in my book….

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis