Op-Ed: How Soleimani’s Killing Strenghten Anti-Western Forces
By Elijah J. Magnier
Has the Axis of Resistance situation improved or worsened? Martyr Qassem Soleimani accomplished more than the Major General during his lifetime
More than 40 days ago, an American drone assassinated Major General Qassem Soleimani, head of the al-Quds brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and leader of the “Axis of Resistance”. He and his companions were killed at Baghdad airport after midnight on the night of January 2-3. Did this assassination weaken the Axis of Resistance? What has happened since?
On the Syrian front, the Syrian army, together with its allies of the Zul-fi-Qar brigade and other partners, recorded a remarkable gain by freeing the 432 km of the road connecting Damascus to Aleppo for the first time since 2012. It has widened the security perimeter on its western flank. The strategic cities of Saraqeb, Rachidine and Khan al-Asal have been liberated, as has the hill of El-Eiss, a height that Major General Soleimani has always wanted to liberate. Hezbollah has lost 23 officers buried there and wishes to repatriate their bodies.
Along with the Russian command, the Axis of Resistance has its place in an operational center in Aleppo which coordinates with other elements in Damascus and Hmeimim. This is where the battle against the jihadists progresses and where the intelligence support and air support comes from. The Syrian army has managed to create a vast security perimeter along the M5 road (Damascus-Aleppo), which Turkey had promised to secure (without success) in October 2018. This progress indicates a strategic path based on objectives rather than on particular leaders. The goal in Syria, an essential part of the Axis of Resistance, is to liberate the whole country, no matter which leaders are killed while advancing in that direction. Many famous Syrian generals lost their lives in the nine years of war, but the liberation of Syria continues.
Iran and Russia are in talks with Turkey to maintain dialogue with Syria, despite the consequences of the ongoing battle. The loss of Major General Soleimani will not change their objectives in any way.
In Iraq, Major General Soleimani would not have dared to dream of a political decision calling on the American armed forces to leave the country. Iraq has adopted a significant decision which will transform the US forces legally present today into occupying forces if the agreed departure schedule is not respected.
Iraq must keep a small contingent of NATO forces in the country for training and spare parts, as Iraq has acquired a lot of armaments from the countries of the Atlantic Alliance . However, the Baghdad government cannot offer any guarantees of security to these NATO officers, due to the popular hatred that the United States engendered in killing an esteemed high-ranking Iraqi commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, during the illegal US assassination attack at Baghdad Airport. The newly elected Prime Minister is expected to form his government by putting forward his plan for establishing a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops.
In addition, it is the first time in the history of Iraq since the occupation of 2003 that the Iraqi resistance has been united around the same leader. Moqtada al-Sadr’s call to demonstrate on the streets against the United States has won him widespread popularity. All groups, despite the initial disagreement of Nouri al-Maliki and Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim, accepted the choice of al-Sadr to appoint Mohammed Allawi prime minister. Moqtada al-Sadr was a source of concern for Major General Soleimani, who did not appreciate Moqtada’s continual changes in political stance. Especially since the Sadrist chief opposed the Hashd al-Chaabi, even though he had his own brigade, Brigade 313, and called for the disarmament of all Iraqi groups belonging to the Axis of Resistance. Moqtada is now working side by side with these groups, which Major General Soleimani was never able to achieve.
In Lebanon, a new government has been formed under Hassan Diab, in which the United States’ closest allies in Lebanon are conspicuous by their absence. The Axis of Resistance pushed for the creation of a government and helped Diab to overcome many pitfalls in the formation of the current government. Diab accepted the Axis of Resistance’s suggestions when he formed his government, guaranteeing Hezbollah’s legitimacy to defend the country from foreign aggression.
The Lebanese parliament has given Diab the confidence it needs to begin its mandate. The Axis of Resistance has successfully prevented a power vacuum or the spread of chaos in Lebanon. Today, many countries are contacting the Prime Minister to support him in his difficult task of getting the country out of its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1945. Today in Lebanon, Hezbollah activists continue to receive their full salary in US dollars, despite the “maximum pressure” on Iran and the harsh sanctions imposed on Hezbollah.
In Palestine, the street mobilized against the “deal of the century” presented by the US administration. All reject it, including President Mahmoud Abbas, who has also ended the Oslo Accord and all forms of security cooperation with Israel and the United States. Palestinians from all walks of life insist on their right of return and reject the “deal” that takes away all of their freshwater resources, their access to the Dead Sea and 30% of their territory in the West Bank. It is rare to see such unity among all Palestinian groups behind the same cause.
In Afghanistan, the United States has admitted that there has been unusual activity on the part of the Taliban since the beginning of the year. General Franck McKenzie, who commands all US forces in the Middle East, acknowledged that “Iranian activity is on the rise in Afghanistan, which poses a risk to the US and coalition forces there. . Iran may find there a possibility of attacking us and the coalition through its proxies. ” McKenzie sees this as “a disturbing trend of malignant intentions on the part of Iran.”
The Taliban shot down an American plane used by the CIA. The Pentagon acknowledged the deaths of two officers there, but was careful not to say more.
Yemeni armed forces spokesman General Yahya Saree revealed details of a particularly daring military operation against the Saudi-led coalition forces between Naham and Ma’reb in the Yemen “Buniyan al-Marsus” operation. He said 17 brigades were attacked and Yemeni forces took control of a large area in the province. In addition, Yemen is developing its military capacity more than ever, striking far into Saudi Arabia where its oil resources are found.
The advancement of the Axis of Resistance seems inevitable despite the assassination of Major General Soleimani. The emergence of a new resistance in north-eastern Syria, in the province of Hassaké, highlights a spontaneity on which the Axis of Resistance can rely. The fertile soil of the village of Khirbet Ammo has sparked a new wave of resistance in other localities against the American occupying forces, whose objective is to steal Syrian oil, as President Donald Trump said. . Unarmed men protested against a heavily armed US convoy, urging them not to return. It is a mentality and an objective which have been cultivated for years and which have taken root among the members of the Axis of Resistance.
Everything that is happening highlights the point of putting everything on the shoulders of individual leaders. The best of them know that they will be killed along the way. One thing is certain, the martyr Qassem Soleimani is on track to accomplish more than the Major General during his lifetime.