About Iran’s Most Lethal Weapon

If one had to define Iran’s most lethal weapon today, I would say it’s not a piece of machinery but the “mastermind” behind it all. An operative by the name of Qassem Suleimani; the commander of Iran’s Quds Force — the foreign branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Due to the nature of his position, Suleimani’s operations have been of course clandestine; so it’s often impossible to know for sure whether he and his Quds Force have been involved. But after one look at the circumstantial evidence, patterns begin to emerge.

Here are a some of key operations that Suleimani has been tied to over the last twenty years.

1. The 2005 Assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri

On February 14th, 2005, Rafic Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon and one of the leaders of the country’s Sunni community, was assassinated when more than 2,000 pounds of TNT detonated by his motorcade in Beirut, killing him and 21 others.

Shortly after the assassination, the United Nations began investigating the bombing and convened its Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2006. The Tribunal, which is still investigating the attack, charged four Hezbollah members in 2011, all of who disappeared afterward — although one has resurfaced in Syria, fighting for Assad.

Many in the Tribunal believe that Hezbollah carried out the attack with the approval and support of both Syria and Iran.

Investigators reportedly found that one of the disposable cell phones used by the killers made at least a dozen calls to Iran before and after the assassination. In addition, Iranian operatives were overheard minutes before the assassination, directing the attack. Suleimani was at the center of it all.

2. 2006 Hezbollah Cross border raid on Israel

After years of increased tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border into Israel and attacked two Humvees on July 12th, 2006, killing three soldiers and abducting two. The sophisticated attack included other Hezbollah contingents that opened fire on seven Israeli army posts at the same time, knocking out surveillance and communications.

The incident set off the 2006 Lebanon War. The 34-day conflict included Israel airstrikes on both Hezbollah military targets and Lebanese civilian infrastructure, a naval blockade, and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon.

The conflict has been considered by many to be the opening round of an Israeli-Iranian proxy war. Iranian Revolutionary Guards reportedly assisted Hezbollah fighters in firing rockets on Israel, and helped operate Hezbollah outposts during the war. Iran has long been involved with Hezbollah, helping to form the group and providing training and financing since its inception.

For those who don’t know though, the original cross-border raid was enacted with Suleimani’s guidance, though he did not expect such an intense reaction from Lebanon’s southern neighbor.

3. Providing Bashar al-Assad with billions of dollars in arms, support, strategic training, and troops in Syria

While Iran and Syria have always been close allies, Suleimani has gone a step further by taking care of the job that dictator Bashar al-Assad and his generals couldn’t: turning the tide of the country’s brutal civil war, which has killed more than 150,000 people over the past three years.

According to American officials, Suleimani travels to Damascus frequently, where he operates out of a heavily fortified command post, directing the Syrian military, Hezbollah commanders, and Iraqi Shiite militias.

Suleimani has used his connections with the Iraqi government to arrange access to Iraqi airspace, allowing him to fly operatives and arms to Damascus. This supply route has been integral to the maintenance and perhaps even the survival of the Assad regime.

In addition, Suleimani reportedly planned and orchestrated the Battle of Al-Qusayr, a key confrontation that made the Assad regime’s victory over the rebels not only possible, but also likely. The momentum of the two-week battle was shifted with the help of Iranian and Hezbollah officers, who encircled the town.

I can go on and on describing at least 20 Middle East catastrophic events where Qassem Suleiman was at the head of it all…. Some of the info still classified.

No need to…. Now that the target is known, I hope our policy makers and military operatives know what to do.

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