A senior Iranian military commander dubbed a “diabolically evil human being,” and who is responsible for spearheading Tehran’s interventionist policies in Arab countries and regional conflicts, is the subject of a new BBC documentary.
“Shadow Commander: Iran’s Military Mastermind,” set to air on March 14, sheds light on the story of Al-Quds force chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, with first-hand accounts of his secret deals and shifting alliances across Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
The documentary features former US diplomat Ryan Crocker and former head of US forces in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus, who talk candidly about the desperate struggle in the Middle East region and Soleimani’s brutal influence, stretching from Tehran to Beirut.
“We saw Soleimani as a very capable charismatic, skilled, professionally competent, diabolically evil human being,” says Gen. Petraeus in the documentary.
Crocker says: “We can see him as the Darth Vader of contemporary Middle Eastern politics.”
For decades Soleimani has dominated the brutal struggle for power and influence across the Middle East.
With the Iranian general taking center stage in Iran’s strategic ambitions, the one-hour BBC film questions whether he is shaping up for a new conflict with the West in the region.
Soleimani joined the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, which saw the Shah fall and Ayatollah Khomeini return from exile to seize power. He rose steadily through the ranks of the Iranian military until 2002 when, months before the US invasion of Iraq, he was appointed to command the most elite unit of the Iranian military — the Al-Quds force.
During the Iraq War, Soleimani was responsible for the smuggling of thousands of sophisticated bombs into the country and arming the Shiite militias, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of British and US troops.
However, just a few years later, the Western coalition found itself facing the same enemy as Soleimani in the fight against Daesh extremists.
Following the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001, Crocker met with Iranian diplomats who were under the direction of Soleimani with the purpose of collaborating to destroy the Taliban, which had targeted Shiite Afghans.
This collaboration was instrumental in defining the targets of bombing operations in Afghanistan and in capturing key Al-Qaeda operatives, but abruptly ended in January 2002, when George W. Bush named Iran as part of the “axis of evil” in his State of the Union address.
Source » arabnews