According to The Long War Journal‘s Threat Matrix blog, Qassem Suleimani is going to be heavily involved in the leadership of the upcoming offensive against Islamic State (ISIS) positions in Mosul.
The spokesman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Front (PMF)announced on August 6 that Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, will play a major role in the upcoming operations to take the city of Mosul from the Islamic State. The spokesman defended the presence of Iranian military advisors in Iraq.
According to translations of his remarks published by IRGC-affiliatedFars News Agency, the spokesman called Soleimani “one of the most important military advisors” from the Islamic Republic of Iran. He added that Soleimani and other Iranian advisors are in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government and that they provide important consultation.
Soleimani is rumored to have arrived in Iraq last week to prepare for the battle of Mosul with the Iraqi government forces and PMF. An unnamed Iraqi parliamentarian claimed in an Asharq al Awsat article on August 3 that Soleimani arrived without a passport…
Soleimani directs IRGC operations in the Iraqi and Syrian theaters. The IRGC has deployed elite Iraqi and Lebanese proxies to Aleppo this past week to bolster the forces of Bashar al Assad, after rebels succeeded in breaking the siege of eastern Aleppo on August 6.
Now Suleimani is under international travel bans arising from his attempt to lead a set of assassinations against diplomats worldwide. Nevertheless, he has been allowed to travel freely to Iraq, Syria, and Russia. In the course of those travels he has served as Iran’s point man in its unconventional warfare. He has nearly succeeded in making Iran the dominant power in the northern Middle East, quite a feat given that it is managing to convince a more powerful Russia to follow its lead.
Suleimani led the Iranian efforts during the Iraq War, leading many proxy forces that killed some 3,000 Americans. He was badly injured in Syria last fall, but seems to have recovered well enough to take a leadership position on the ground. It is ironic to see him in the forefront of an effort that is backed by the United States, but under the Obama administration, such ironies abound.