PROGRES.ID – The statue of Major General Qasem Soleimani, located near the entrance of Naghsh-e Jahn Stadium in Isfahan, Iran, caused the football match between Saudi Arabian team Al-Ittihad and Sepahan from Iran to be canceled. Approximately 60,000 fans were already inside the stadium, waiting for the kick-off. Al-Ittihad refused to accept the presence of the statue and refused to leave the locker room.
So, who is Major General Qasem Soleimani?
Major General Qasem Soleimani is a name known worldwide, especially in the context of geopolitics and the military. Born on March 11, 1957, in Rabor, Kerman Province, Iran, Soleimani grew to become one of the most influential military figures in the world. This brief biography will discuss his life, career, and his relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Early Life and Career Beginnings: Qasem Soleimani was born into a poor farming family in a small village in Iran. He was the fourth of eight siblings. Soleimani’s early life was influenced by the Iran-Iraq War that took place from 1980 to 1988. He joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the war, and his bravery and combat skills quickly earned him promotions.
Establishing the Quds Force: In 1998, Soleimani was appointed as the head of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Quds Force is a special unit responsible for foreign operations and is one of Iran’s primary tools for expanding its influence in the region. Soleimani played a significant role in supporting groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shiite militias in Iraq.
Relationship with Saudi Arabia: The relationship between Major General Soleimani and Saudi Arabia has always been tense. Iran and Saudi Arabia have long been competing to influence the Middle East region. Soleimani was seen as the architect of Iran’s policies in the region, often conflicting with Saudi interests. Their most famous conflict was the war in Yemen, where Iran supported the Houthi rebels while Saudi Arabia supported the legitimate Yemeni government.
Regional Interests and Global Influence: Major General Soleimani was known for his ability to expand Iran’s influence throughout the region. In addition to supporting pro-Iranian groups, he also played a role in the politics of Iraq and Syria. His presence on the battlefield against ISIS in Iraq and Syria solidified his position as a highly respected military leader.
Tragedy of Assassination: On January 3, 2020, Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike at Baghdad International Airport, Iraq. The attack shook the region and sparked tensions between the United States and Iran. Soleimani’s assassination was one of the most significant events in the history of the U.S.-Iran conflict.
Although Major General Qasem Soleimani has left the world, his influence in Middle Eastern politics and the military continues to be felt. He was a highly controversial figure, respected by some and seen as a threat by others. His complex relationship with Saudi Arabia was one aspect of the larger conflict between Iran and Gulf countries in the region.