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Qassem Soleimani Is Dead… Mourn Khomeinism

Qassem Soleimani Is Dead… Mourn Khomeinism

Tuesday, 7 January, 2020 - 16:15

Qassem Soleimani was killed, three words that laid down the basis of this new decade in the Middle East in its first few days. It is difficult to imagine an event that will have more significant implications than Soleimani’s absence from the scene, or the many scenes in the Middle East.

The man was more than a metaphor for Iranian imperial ambitions. He was no longer the image of that project, and that has had nothing to do with the position, privileges, or status that he had in the Iranian hierarchy.

The man was not only the leader of a mission. He was the mission. Soleimani was the project itself, synthesizing the imperial with the religious and ideological. He was the project; he was Khomeinism at its peak. What was killed in Baghdad was the project, inside and outside Iran.

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah was accurate when surveying the “Soleimani Atlas,” from Palestine to Afghanistan and Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen in between. Nasrallah’s rashness led him to admit Iran’s direct role via Soleimani in Yemen, and this is what all respectable international reports are saying, and what official Iranian statements are denying.

This confession of Soleimani’s role will have special meaning the moment that the role itself was assassinated. That role was based on Soleimani’s genius theory to combine the militias and state institutions in every country that Iranian devastation has caused, the prototypes of which were Hezbollah and the Lebanese state institutions and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the Iraqi state.

Among all of the influential countries in the Middle East, Iran has an advantage. It is the only country that is present on all fronts without having its army directly involved like Turkey, Russia, Europeans, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and others!

More than sixty Iraqi militias are funded, trained, and devoted to Iran under the umbrella of the PMF. These have all been legitimized and integrated into the state apparatus while maintaining extensive independence on the field. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of foreign fighters in Syria are distributed among tens of Shiite militias.

This would not have been possible without Soleimani’s genius and professional weaving of this carpet of militias, like fancy carpet from Kerman, his birthplace. What Donald Trump’s decision killed was precisely that school. This mystery that allowed Iran to be on all fronts and not be at the same time. Trump targeted that ambiguity that gave Iran a large margin for denial. It was not in response to Hezbollah calling for protests in front of the Iranian embassy and did not target the PMF whose leadership clearly led the protests. He validated the signature on the wall of his embassy in Iraq, saying, “My leader is Qassem Soleimani,” pursued him and killed him.

Soleimani’s death broke the fortress that Iran had protected itself with, the fortress with which they had protected their expansionist and destructive project in the region. His official position in the state did not make Soleimani immune to being pursued and killed, just like Bin Laden, Baghdadi, or Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi. This was a strategic violation of one of the pillars of dealing with terrorism. A large part of Soleimani’s reassurance was precisely that ambiguity, that statehood- that was new in his assassination by the US.

Soleimani was killed at the end of a trip that brought him to Beirut where he had met Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, and then Damascus where he met whomever, and then Baghdad where he was received by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy leader of the PMF, effectively its actual leader.

What is the Iranian general doing with all of these militia leaders in other countries on non-Iranian grounds coming from meetings with militias leaders in at least two different countries? In this context, this assassination takes a new meaning, a renewal in the war against terrorism, and declares the beginning of an entirely new stage.

As the Special Tribunal for Lebanon tells us, Iran, using its militias, killed Rafic Hariri and did not admit having done so. On the other hand, Trump killed the apparatus that in the least sponsored Hariri’s killers. He then held a press conference and adopted this assassination, just like what happened when Baghdadi, Bin Laden, and al-Zarqawi were killed, or when Saddam Hussein was arrested.

How does a country so easily and without fear of consequence by international law or on international relations assassinate an official in another country? Saying that it’s just America is not enough, the matter is much more complicated and severe.

Henry Kissinger used to say that Iran is a revolution that needs to become a state. Trump modified this by deciding to assassinate Soleimani. Through his transparent execution, he took it from the academic domain to the domain of politics and policies. Trump says that Iran is not only a state, it is also a gang, a gangster-state, so to speak. Or, a gang with the capacities and qualifications of a state, and this is how he will deal with it from now on. Ironically, the world did not object much, and if those who did, did so merely to avoid being reproached.

Soleimani is the final face of the Iranian expansionist project, and assassinating him will be taught as one of the most genius decisions in the history of American foreign policy.

The US President raised the ceiling in the confrontation with Iran to a place that the Iranian regime cannot meet him. His alleged irrationality will make Iranian policies more and more rational, and this is demonstrated by the responses so far, including Nasrallah’s weak speech, which was not satisfactory to those who received his words.

It is a new poisoned glass that Iran has to drink just like Khomeini in 1988, and indeed it will.

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