On the dawn of January 3, the world—particularly the people of the Middle East—was released from a dangerous threat after Qassem Soleimani was taken out by a U.S. drone.
Soleimani as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force was responsible for many crimes against the people of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. In the wake of Soleimani’s elimination, many Iraqis and Syrians broke to streets and celebrated the news by dancing and distributing sweets.
In Iran, in contrast with the government’s propaganda for styling him as a hero, youths distributed sweets to show their rejoicing over this significant occasion. “Thanks, President Trump,” read on sweets boxes, showing Iranians’ support for targeting the IRGC commander.
Some while later, protesters in different Iranian cities chanted the slogan, “Soleimani is a murderer, as is his leader [the supreme leader Ali Khamenei].” Additionally, they tore down, trampled, and torched Soleimani’s portraits to debunk the misinformation campaign run by the Iranian propaganda apparatus, called IRIB.
Now, his successor Esmail Ghaani has vowed to continue Soleimani’s “luminous path,” which means mass killing Iranians, Syrians, Iraqis, and American citizens and troops. “If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate,” U.S. special envoy for Iran Brian Hook told the Arabic-language daily Asharq al-Awsat. However, the new chief of the IRGC-QF has a long-time background in committing crimes against the people of Iran and the region.
Esmail Ghaani Akbarnejad who has just been replaced with the slain IRGC-QF commander, for many years was serving the oppressive, terrorist apparatus of the Iranian government as Soleimani’s deputy. He was personally involved in all tracked and non-tracked crimes by the IRGC-QF.
Since 1980, when he was only 20 years old, the fledgling government of Iran dispatched him to Kurdistan to crack down on regional upheaval. During the Iran-Iraq war, he led many teenagers and minors to killing fields by horrendous methods.
Notably, the IRGC commanders were to employ the “human wave” tactic for sweeping minefields. They literally sacrificed many teenagers by giving them hollow promises about “Heaven,” and deceived them by giving them “key to heaven” and sending them to clear minefields. In 1987, Ghaani was appointed as the Ansar Corps Commander to orchestrate IRGC operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Also, several oppressive positions are seen in Ghaani’s background. Following the end of the war with Iraq, Ghaani spent some time as the Commander of Intelligence in the Kurdistan region, Intelligence Office Chief of the IRGC Joint Command, and Deputy Intelligence Chief of the IRGC Joint Command.
In 1992, Ghaani played a decisive role in suppressing protests in Mashhad, his birthplace. In July 1999, he along with 23 other IRGC commanders including Qassem Soleimani, Hossein Hamedani, etc. signed a letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami demanding severe oppression of the student uprisings.
Hamedani as Soleimani’s appointee for suppressing the Syrian revolt against Bashar al-Assad’s regime was killed by the Free Syrian Army. It is worth reminding that following Hamedani’s death, Ghaani was sent to Syria and assumed command of oppressive operation in Aleppo.
Ghaani has also been involved in warmongering projects of the Iranian government. Since April 2014, he constantly traveled to Iraq to supervise the training and organizing Iran-backed militias, such as Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahle Haq, Badr organization, etc.
Notably, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the commander of the Iraqi version of Lebanese Hezbollah was slain beside Soleimani on January 3. He was responsible for many crimes against the Iraqi people, in addition to foreign citizens, troops, and embassies in Kuwait and Iraq. Al-Muhandis spent the majority of his life in Iran and the ayatollahs considered him as a key implementer of their policy in this country.
Meanwhile, Ghaani played an essential role in expanding conflicts in Yemen by funding and training Houthi militants. “The defenders of Yemen were trained under the flag of the Islamic Republic. The enemies cannot confront the Yemeni fighters,” said Ghaani in an interview with the state-run TV on May 23, 2014.
The new commander of IRGC-QF like his predecessor was involved in underground transactions. He was responsible for organizing and overseeing the vast smuggling network of the Quds Force. The IRGC-QF pursues this dirty commerce to supply arms and funds terrorist proxies in various countries, including Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. In November 2012, the U.S. Department of Treasury added Ghaani to the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) in its effort to counter the funding of terrorism.