Qasem Soleimani, the angel of Assad's salvation
The Iranian major general, both revered and reviled as a key military strategist for Islamic republic’s leaders, had been steering events in the Middle East for decades. As the commander of the Quds Force, which runs foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, he was held responsible by U.S. officials for supporting Iranian-backed militias in Iraq that targeted U.S. soldiers and allied forces after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. But in Syria, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East, Soleimani had had an even more devastating reach. He was a point man for Iran’s backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and helped shape the Syrian military strategies in a horrific civil war that began with pro-democracy protests in 2011.
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