It is a tribute to that brave man who was born in Kerman province of Iran. He worked as a construction worker in his teen years to pay the debts of his father. Later, in 1975, he become the contractor for Kerman water organization and spent his spare time in lifting weights and attending the sermons of Ayatuulah Khameni. A fierce military strategist, fighter and a pious leader was no other than Qassem Suleimani.
Though from his appearance he looked like a simple man who disliked his own publicity but the magnitude of his presence is felt by everyone who ever encounters him. Following the Iranian revolution of 1979, he joined the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Early in his career he was a guardsman, later participated fiercely in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980. From there, he quickly earned the reputation of bravery and eventually become the commander of 41st Sarallalah division while still in his 20s. In the year 1998, he became the commander of Qudus force of IRGC who were responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. In 2011, he was elevated to the position of Major General of IRGC- Qudus force by Ayatullah Khameni.
The world will remember him as a shadow commander and a spymaster who was equipped with a mastery of clandestine operations. Though, he was not only a remarkable leader, with all his attributes, but also a devoted and a saintly servant of Ahl-ul-Bait (A.S). It was widely stated by his compatriots that during the unrest in the city of Sammara because of ISIS, he always went to the Holy shrine of Ahl-ul-Bait (A.S) to refresh his soul where he often rested in the basement of the Shrine.
Martin Jay in his article on Daily Sabah once said,” Sulaiman has taught us that death is the beginning of life, not the end of it”. It shows his devotion of eternal life after death. He was thirsty for martyrdom. He wanted to meet his creator the way Ahl-ul-Bait (A.S) met. Ayatullah Khameni was his spiritual and a political leader who once told him that,” O! Qassem Suleimani, you are the one who was martyred at the front of numerous occasions and is a living martyr of the revolution”. It means he had everything a martyr should have, the loyalty, devotion, piety and bravery. He himself once said during the South-West Aleppo Operation against ISIS that, “Martyrdom is what I seek in mountains and valleys, but it isn’t granted yet”. How fortunate he was that the martyrdom which he sought relentlessly was granted to him by the Almighty.
Not only he loved Ahl-ul-Bait(A.S) but he was also a devoted follower of their simplicity. The idea of his simple life could be measured from the fact that in 2012, Iran media reported that he might be replaced as the commander of Qudus force in order to allow him to participate in the 2013 Presidential elections. Similarly, it was also speculated for the 2017 presidential elections. Meanwhile, in his response he finally said that,” I will always remain a simple soldier serving Iran and the Islamic revolution”. It shows that he was not a seeker of fame, nor a dreamer of lavish lifestyle but a man with a simple life who had the fierce fighting skills the world had ever seen.
Furthermore, it was the teaching of Ahl-ul- Bait (A.S) to support and defend your Muslims brothers in hardships. Thus, following that, he defended his Muslim brothers in Middle East. It is widely believed that he was the principal leader and the architect of the military wing of the Lebanon Shia party, Hezbollah, who had constantly faced the aggression of Israel and defended the rights of Palestine Muslims. The Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, will remember him for his untiring services of defending them against ISIS. Both nations were engulfed with ISIS’s notorious designs of massacres and tragedies which they inflicted upon the masses, especially on Shia Community. His strategies and war tactics had not only thwarted the ISIS prevalence in Iraq, but also uprooted them completely. Thus, Hadi-al-Amiri, the former Iraqi minister of transportation rightly said that,” There would be no Iraq, if Sulaimani had not helped”.
In Iraq, he bravely and cunningly fought the war against ISIS. According to the Los Angeles Times, Amerli was the first town of Iraq which has successfully failed the invasion of ISIS because the mastermind behind devising the strategy to defend it was Qassem Sulaimani. On one another instance it was noted by the Iraqi official that it was the rapid response of Iran militia led by Qassem Sulaimani that halted further spread of ISIS in Mosul. Further, in 2014 the city of Tikrit was captured by ISIS and they massacred 1600-1700 Iraqi cadets then a strategy to recapture the city was drawn by Qassem Sulaimani who personally directed the operation and recaptured the fallen city. Thus, a former CIA officer rightly described him as the most powerful operative in the Middle East!
Similarly, in Syria it is believed that it was his strategy that helped Bashar Al Asad to turn the tide against rebel forces and recapture the key cities and towns. Undoubtedly, Bashar Al Asad formally requested Russian intervention in Syria which has had its own impacts. However, ultimately it was the collaboration of Qassem Suaimani and Russian dignitaries which unshackles the Syria from rebellion forces. His importance was manifested from the fact that at one instance, Ayatullah Khameni sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Viladmir Putin regarding the Syrian intervention while Putin responded by saying that “okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Sulaimani”. Later, he arrived and showed the Russians that how capturing few important territories in Syria will make them conquerors. Thus, the suit is followed and the mixture of Russia’s military advancement and the mind of Qassem Sulaimani has unshackled the Syria almost entirely from the grip of rebellion forces.
Clearly, his reach was not limited to the boundaries of Iran. Therefore, US General David Petraeus rightly recounted a message of Qassem Sullaimani where he said to him that,” General Petraeus, you should know that I, Qassem Sulaimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Ghaza and Afghanistan”. Indeed, he was the most powerful person of Iran after Ayatullah Khameni.
That brave Muslim who prevails in every nook and corner of Middle East is no more in this world. No one will ever forget the barbarity inflicted by US, which killed him today in a cold blood. Meanwhile, his long awaited dream of martyrdom came true and he left this temporary world for the eternal life in heavenly abode. The legacy which he left behind will be followed by millions. In conclusion I would like to say that, he was not merely a man but, in fact, a state of mind; there is Sulaimani lying inside every man. May his soul rest in peace.