“When Islamic State militants retreated from the embattled town of Jurf al-Sakher last week, the Iraqi military was quick to flaunt a rare victory against the extremist group, with state television showing tanks and Humvees parading through the town and soldiers touring government buildings that had been occupied by the militants since August. However, photos soon emerged on independent Iraqi news websites revealing a more discreet presence — the powerful Iranian general Qassem Suleymani, whose name has become synonymous with the handful of victories attributed to Iraqi ground forces. Local commanders said Lebanon’s powerful Shiite Hezbollah group was also on the front lines. Shiite militias have played a key role in driving the Islamic State out of the so-called Baghdad Belt of Sunni villages ringing the capital…………..”
Qassem Suleimani has become like a mysterious military celebrity of the current Middle East wars. According to foreign media reports. He is hard to pin down, except for an occasional sneaked photograph and many rumors in Arab and Western media.
He treads in places where David Petraeus and his various men used to tread, some of them still do. Petraeus was more ‘official’ in his task and in his travels. Suleimani is not: he has been reported in various Middle East cities, from Baghdad to Damascus to Cairo and Beirut. If all that is true, then no doubt he has also been to a few other cities as well, (possibly incognito?). Excluding Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and maybe Riyadh, of course.
Petraeus was the man of the last decade. Suleimani seems like the man of both the last and current decades. Petraeus had to fly thousands of miles in order to be able to tread on those unstable sands. He had to fly all the miles back to DC and Langley to get away from the field (which he did not really). Suleimani and his mullahs live in the neighborhood: he can, and probably does, walk across borders to retrace the footsteps of Petraeus. Much shorter and easier than a march from Hanoi to Saigon.
Does that tell us something? I sure hope so, now more than ever, given the U.S. election results. More on that later………..
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum