Quds commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed Friday in a US strike, was one of Iran’s most prominent figures who orchestrated thousands of killings on behalf of Tehran in attacks on the West and allies in the region.
As the head of the Quds – or Jersualem – Force of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, Soleimani was officially charged with protecting the Islamic revolution, and in practice was used to enforce the regime’s will across the Middle East.
Commonly known as the second most powerful man in Iran, wielding more influence than the president, he was seen by many as a future leader.
His CV included helping Shia militias to kill hundreds of American troops during the US invasion of Iraq, backing Assad as he slaughtered civilians by the thousands during the Syrian civil war, and most recently overseeing the slaughter of hundreds of anti-Iran protesters in Iraq.
Qassem Soleimani (pictured centre in Iraq in 2015), leader of Iran’s Quds force and the country’s second-most powerful individual, has been killed in a US airstrike
Soleimani was beloved by the Iranian regime (pictured being kissed by the Ayatollah) for enforcing its will across the Middle East, including killing hundreds of US troops with IEDs
Born into a poor agricultural family in Kerman province, central Iran, in 1957 he worked in construction and then a city water department before the 1978 Islamic Revolution began.
As protests against the Shah grew….