I wrote yesterday about Qassem Suleimani, the elusive chief of the Iranian Quds Brigade (of the IRGC). It turns out he has been traveling around the world in disguise: that may explain why he can travel freely and so quickly, and be at so many places at almost the same time. These following conflicting reports may shed more light on the man, perhaps eventually unveiling his true identity:
- My unreliable al-Qaeda source reports that Brigadier General Qassem Suleimani has another incarnation that is, in fact, none other than Ayman al-Zawahiri, better dressed and on steroids.
- A Syrian source suggested the ridiculous idea that Suleimani is often disguised as Colonel Riyadh al-As’ad, head of the Free Syrian Salafi Army. Perhaps thinned out and beardless.
- My equally unreliable Bahrain source, right in one of the royal
denspalaces at al-Rifa’ enclave, that in fact he is known in Bahrain as Shaikh Ali Salman. Suleimani is none other than head of the al-Wefaq main opposition bloc. (My source rejected the competing notion, pushed by Shaikh Nasser the younger son of Shaikh King Hamad, that Suleimani might be occasionally disguised as either Nabeel Rajab or Sameera Rajab).
- My Saudi source mentioned something about Shaik Nimr al-Nimr, the opposition cleric who was shot and arrested by al-Saud security forces last month. I explained that Nimr is smaller in size, and he would need a new set of attire. He retorted angrily: “How about the Mufti Shaikh Al Al Al Shaikh as an Iranian mole?” I think he was being sarcastic, but I am not so sure.
- A Gulf Salafi source, close to the Society for Revival of Islamic Heritage, told me that Suleimani is in fact hanging out in the GCC states, that he moves between Kuwait and Bahrain, with stopovers in Qatar to coordinate with Emir Shaikh Hamad al-Thani (cattily adding “and his wife”). The Salafi, having a Salafi’s usual priorities, added that Suleimani avails himself of both the Shi’a temporary Mut’a marriages and the Wahhabi part-time bedroom-only Misyar marriages on his travels.
- My Israeli source sent me a terse cryptic message saying: “I know what Netahyahu will come up with, but World War II has been long over.…”
- I was also told by a GOP source that Sheldon Adelson, the family values Las Vegas and Tel Aviv man, tried to insert an item in the Republican Party platform about Suleimani, to make killing him a national goal more worthy than Killing Osama Bin Laden. It got nowhere.
- Another source told me something unsettling: that Qassem Suleimani is everywhere, in image if not in body and soul. He pointed out something I did not know: that he is the favorite dartboard image in places as far flung as Riyadh, Manama, Tel Aviv, Washington, Arlington, and Omaha pubs (not sure about that last one). He added that some princes and potentates (both Saudi and Bahraini) in fact end up staring at the general’s image whenever they demurely excuse themselves to go and “powder their noses”.