Skip to comments.West has new, hardline martyr-in-waiting to fear Suleimani,
Posted on 12/09/2011 10:37:05 AM PST by bayouranger
His is not a face familiar to many in the West. But members of the rampaging Iranian mob that last week laid siege to the British Embassy in Tehran knew exactly what they were doing when they held aloft a picture of a grey-haired man, with beard more neatly trimmed than those of his country's religious leaders.
Qassem Suleimani, a fanatical Islamic revolutionary, has rapidly become one of the world's top terrorist suspects, as well as a powerful and sinister force within Iran.
The crowd of enraged student protesters who chanted "Death to Britain" as they terrorized beleaguered British diplomats, know him as the head of Iran's feared Quds Force, the 15,000-strong paramilitary wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guards - and a primary suspect for organizing the assault on the embassy. There were moments when it appeared that a rerun might be on the cards of the American embassy siege in 1979, when 50 diplomatic staff were held hostage for 444 days.
Now Dominick Chilcott, Britain's ambassador to Iran, and the rest of the British delegation and their families are safely back in Britain, the full details of last week's assault can be told.
There can be no doubt the British diplomats and their staff have had a very lucky escape. At the height of the violence, Chilcott, in Iran barely a month, was obliged to hide in an upstairs room while protesters destroyed portraits of British monarchs and scrawled graffiti on the walls downstairs.
"We could hear them trying to smash the doors down below," he said after British security officials staged an emergency evacuation of all the embassy staff.
"They couldn't get into our part of the building except at one point, where they got into one of our consular offices and started a fire. In the end it was the fire and smoke coming up on to the third floor corridor that forced us out."
Chilcott was able to escape to a prearranged secure location. But not all the staff were so lucky. "One was on his own in his safe area and had barricaded the door and braced himself against the wall. For 45 minutes he could hear people bashing down the door, smashing windows and trying to get in because they knew he was there. It must have been a very frightening experience, eventually the door gave in and they got him."
Together with six other embassy staff members, the diplomat was briefly taken hostage by the Iranian protesters and taken to another building, with some of them being "quite roughly handled" until they were eventually freed.
A senior Foreign Office official said none of those held captive had suffered serious injury. Even so, there is acknowledgment within Whitehall that the occupation of the embassy was a close-run thing, and could have resulted in a hostage situation, with all the implications that would have had for the government.
The only reason a major diplomatic crisis was averted this time was because Tehran's police were belatedly ordered to act, removing the demonstrators and ensuring the safety of the diplomats. It is now thought the police were acting on the orders of officials loyal to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was unwilling to provoke yet another crisis with the West at a time when Iran is under intense international pressure over its nuclear program.
But the crisis could so easily have gone the other way, especially if hardliners such as Suleimani, who owes his loyalty to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's spiritual leader, and is a bitter political rival of Ahmadinejad, had got their way. As head of the Quds force, whose primary objective is to export Iran's revolutionary breed of Islam throughout the world, the 52-year-old Suleimani could easily have begun another hostage crisis.
In 1979 it was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian revolution, who effectively sanctioned the abduction of 50 American diplomats, after he decided an open confrontation with Washington would help consolidate support for his new Islamic government among ordinary Iranians, who have a long-standing resentment of British and American meddling in Iranian affairs. At a time when America, Britain and Israel are reportedly giving serious consideration to launching military strikes to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, another hostage standoff must have seemed very attractive to Suleimani and his supporters.
Speaking after his arrival in London, Chilcott made it clear he believed the attack on the embassy had been organized and had the backing of the Iranian government.
"Iran is not the sort of country where spontaneously a demonstration congregates then attacks a foreign embassy," he said. "That sort of activity is only done with the acquiescence of the state."
The dramatic events at the British Embassy were almost certainly part of a power struggle within the Iranian regime, in which Suleimani is increasingly taking a central role. For those Iranians who subscribe to the uncompromising, conservative dogma espoused by Ayatollah Khamenei, Suleimani has emerged as an iconic figure, not least because of his role in spearheading Iran's attempts to support radical Muslim groups through the Arab world.
He first came to prominence in the West during the bitter insurgency in Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, when the Quds force actively supported and equipped the Shia militias.
Many Iranians believe Suleimani has used his appointment as head of the Quds Force to further his political ambitions. This was the impression he sought to give when, in 2008, he sent Gen. David Petraeus, who was then commanding U.S. forces in Iraq, a text informing him he should always deal with him alone if he wanted to discuss Iranian foreign policy.
"General Petraeus," the text read, "you should know that I, Qassem Suleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan."
Indeed, as a result of the Quds Force's success in disrupting the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, Suleimani has been able to expand his control over Iran's overseas policy. The Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan is a Quds Force member, while Quds Force units have been sent to Syria to support the Assad regime's barbaric campaign to silence anti-government protests.
The Quds force, which takes its name from the Arabic for Jerusalem, actively supports a number of radical Islamist groups that are committed to the destruction of Israel, such as Hezbollah. Israeli forces have intercepted several weapons caches bound for Hamas militants in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
And recently they have been active in encouraging dissident Shia activists in Saudi Arabia to overthrow the Saudi royal family, as well as supporting various dissident Islamist groups in the Gulf. American investigators even accused him of masterminding a recent plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador in Washington while he dined at his favourite restaurant.
The two suspects, who will be tried next year, are said to be active Quds Force members, and the Obama administration responded to the failed plot by placing Suleimani on its specially designated list of global terrorists.
Suleimani responded by saying he did not fear American threats of assassination, and was ready for "martyrdom".
As the Western powers gird themselves for another round of diplomatic confrontation with the ayatollahs, it seems Suleimani is destined to play a central role during the challenging months ahead.
But members of the rampaging Iranian mob which last week laid siege to the British Embassy in Tehran knew exactly what they were doing when they held aloft a picture of a grey-haired man, with downturned mouth and his beard more neatly trimmed than those of his country's religious leaders.
Qassem Suleimani, a fanatical Islamic revolutionary, has rapidly become one of the world's top terrorist suspects, as well as a powerful and sinister force within Iran. And founder of the "Sepah Mohammad" - the "Mohammad Force" division of the Qods Special Forces, is tasked with destroying any opposition to the Islamic regime, specially by Western agents.
AND carrying out violent/lethal projects inside foreign countries.
For the rest: http://noiri.blogspot.com/2011/12/finally-good-photo-of-irans-most.html
I am so freaking tired of Islam. Must they be headline news every &^#%)&^^@# day??
Sick of em.
Let’s help him get his 72 virgins, or raisins, whatever.
Go with both. 72 virgin raisins.
Go with both. 72 virgin raisins.
The British Royal Marines guarding the Embassy should have opened fire. Just as our Marines should have opened fire back in ‘79.
>>>””Sardar”(Islamic regime’s term for their generals, to avoid using “Timsar” the former military appellation)”<<<
Curious, where did you get that info/explanation from?
>>>”Qassem Suleimani, a fanatical Islamic revolutionary, has rapidly become one of the world’s top terrorist suspects,”<<<
Am sure those (in the West) who should know, must have known (before ordinary folks like us)! Get rid of him & his “Sepah Mohammad”! Over 32 yrs not enough time to develop a bloomin’ strategy to do so?!
>>>”I am so freaking tired of Islam. Must they be headline news every &^#%)&^^@# day??
Sick of em.”<<<
Curious, where did you get that info/explanation from?
~~Ask Allen. He’s the expert on Iranian issues. Me? He’s a filthy koranimal & any title that is bestowed upon him means little to me. Just another filthy koranimal that needs to be put down.