Iran thinks Soleimani is more important in death than he was in life

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The endless parade of Iran’s martyr posters in Iraq and the region illustrates an attachment to the “martyrdom” of IRGC Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani and Iran’s media is playing this up day after day.

The mourning for Soleimani has reached a crescendo as the one-year anniversary of his assassination in a US airstrike arrives, and it appears that for the regime in Tehran, Soleimani has become more important in death than in life.

This illustrates that Iran doesn’t have a replacement for Soleimani. He was replaced by Esmail Ghaani but broadly, Iran’s generation of soldiers who grew out of the crucible of the Iran-Iraq war are fading from the scene, mainly due to age.

Iran has clung on to key figures such as Soleimani, hoping to rescue the country from its looming problems. It was able to motivate Shi’ites across the Middle East in the 1980s and 1990s by offering an austere and righteous formula that brought pride to some communities that had been persecuted and oppressed, but today, Iran is the powerful one, and it has a stranglehold over Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran’s role in these countries has not brought wealth and prosperity. Its investment in endless propaganda and flags with rifles emblazoned on them harkens back to the 1980s. But now, it is finding it difficult to replace its leaders.

There is no replacement for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. There was no replacement for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, or Imad Mughniyeh and Hassan Nasrallah is clinging to power like an old Soviet bureaucrat and has no true heir.

The problem for Iran is that its next generation of leaders didn’t grow up in the era of privation but between the 1980s and today, as the Islamic Republic was rising in the region. The younger people want answers about their future, not just more militias and more talk from Tehran. Martyr posters don’t pay the bills in Iraq, and Iran has no real answer beyond the endless martyrology that it invests in people like Soleimani.

It’s not entirely clear how much this martyr campaign impacts average people or connects with them, but it appears to appeal primarily to the older men who knew Soleimani. Hadi al-Amiri of Badr in Iraq, is an example. There are younger men, like Qais Khazali, who earned their spurs in the early 2000s, but they also don’t appear to enjoy widespread support. There is no doubt Soleimani helped anchor Iranian influence from Iraq to Lebanon but that influence could wither on the vine if Iran doesn’t find a way to inject it with more vigor than just more mourning ceremonies.

Source » jpost

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