The assassination of General Soleimani and his companions by the US was a turning point in security-related developments in the tumultuous West Asian region and the hostile policies of the US towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. This act of terrorism was committed by the US at a time when Iraq was faced with extensive domestic riots and demonstrations. Due to the tensions generated by the US and their expansionist policies, tensions in West Asia have reached a peak higher than ever. Every moment, there is the possibility of an all-out confrontation in the region. And this happened at a time when according to Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the Prime Minister of Iraq who resigned, General Soleimani was carrying a message for him and the Iraqi President with the purpose of easing the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Under such circumstances, the assassination of General Soleimani closed the door to all endeavors to manage and reduce tensions. Assassinating the most important commander in the frontline of combating terrorism and the DAESH also prepared the ground for the resurgence of the DAESH. In this writing, in addition to examining the role of General Soleimani in preserving the stability of West Asia, the goals of the US in assassinating him and the consequences of this action on American politics in West Asia will also be discussed.
General Soleimani, a Pillar of Stability
The role of General Soleimani in preserving the stability of the region should be examined from two standpoints: one is maintaining regional security by strengthening the camp of Resistance with the goal of fighting the US and the Zionist regime, and the other is managing field operations against terrorist groups, in particular the DAESH.
One of the most important challenges to security in West Asia and North Africa is the lack of intra-regional security structures for containing crises and confronting existing instabilities. This region has been constantly wrestling with insecurity due to the extensive interference of foreigners. The most important factors for the absence of a security structure in the region are the extensive interference of foreigners on the one hand and a lack of consensus among regional countries on the other hand. A significant player who has caused foreign interference in West Asia to continue and has deepened the rift among regional countries is the formation of the Zionist regime. This regime, formed with the support of international organizations in the occupied Palestinian lands, brought war to the region from the beginning. One of the main reasons why the US has interfered in West Asia over the last decades has been to protect the Zionist regime. In fact, protecting the Zionist regime has been one of the main tenets of American policy in West Asia in the years following World War II.
US and Israel: Elements which Cause Insecurity in West Asia
Another noteworthy point is the role of the Zionist regime in creating and widening the rifts between Arab countries following the end of World War II. The formation of two orientations – revolutionary and conservative – in the 1950s and the 1960s in the years after the Camp David Accords, and also the discord between the axis of Resistance and Arab countries supporting the US cause after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran were a result of the confrontation-or-compromise outlook towards the Zionist regime.
Apart from the two wars waged by Saddam Hussein against Iran and Kuwait and the war between Saudi Arabia and Egypt in Yemen in the 1960s, the Zionist regime alone has been the main element behind most intra-regional wars in West Asia. Over the course of these years, the colonialist policies of that regime along with their pursuance of the project “From the Nile to the Euphrates” on the part of its hard-liners have been the main factors for the insecurity of West Asia. The occupation of important parts of Palestine – which had been set aside for the formation of the Palestinian government according to the 1948 United Nation’s act – and the occupation of the Sinai Desert, the Golan Heights, Southern Lebanon and the Jordan Valley along with the Zionists’ continuous attacks on Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and even Iraq are among some of the expansionist policies of that regime. The continuous support that the US gave to the Zionist regime was also an important reason behind the failure of all peace plans, and it further encouraged Zionist hard-liners to pursue their belligerent and racist policies. Consequently, not only has the existence of the Zionist regime led to a rift between regional countries, preventing them from seeking a security structure in the region, but it has also led to the failure of the few security proposals inside the region as a result of the US presence in the region.
This situation continued until the formation of Islamic Resistance movements in the 1980s. The failure of Arab countries and also leftist and nationalist movements in confronting the Zionist regime led to the Arab world welcoming a popular Resistance movement, inspired by Iran’s Islamic Revolution, with the aim of confronting that regime. Hezbollah’s success in forcing the Zionist regime to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 was the first success of the Arab world in fighting that regime. The most important outcome of that retreat was that since that defeat, the Zionist regime has faced the major obstacle of the people for continuing with its expansionist projects. In addition, having witnessed this success, the people in the region – including the Palestinian fighters – understood that the idea of resistance is the most important weapon for confronting the Zionist expansionist policies.
An important point in this respect is that General Soleimani played a very important role in following up on the idea of Resistance and also in planning for it and promoting it among the people in the region. The outstanding role of General Soleimani in establishing a popular Resistance front and in defying the expansionist policies of the Zionist regime and the US interference in the region caused him to be one of the main targets for assassination by the Zionist regime and the US.
Therefore, it could be said that the Islamic Resistance movement is considered to be the most important obstacle preventing the expansionist and destabilizing policies of the Zionist regime and the US in West Asia. And, General Soleimani is believed to be one of its main architects.
However, the most important role of General Soleimani in terms of preserving the stability of West Asia, was his confronting the advances of the DAESH in Syria, and especially in Iraq. In recent years, West Asia has been thrown into tumult and instability more than ever due to US interference and the emergence of terrorist Takfiri groups. The coming of the DAESH in Syria amid the significant changes coming about in Arab countries was a turning point in regional developments. With the backing of the US in the form of arms and intelligence support, either directly or indirectly, and that of its regional allies – in particular Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – DAESH grew so rapidly that it managed to occupy Mosul, the second most populated city in Iraq, in 2014. With the occupation of Mosul, Abubakr al-Baghdadi announced his caliphate as the leader of this terrorist group. Immediately after this, the DAESH forces advanced towards Baghdad and Erbil.
In a situation where the DAESH had managed to occupy Mosul, and the Iraqi army had collapsed, there was no force to prevent this group from advancing towards Baghdad. It was at this critical juncture that General Soleimani prevented the downfall of Baghdad by leading and uniting the Resistance forces. Subsequently, when the DAESH deployed its forces behind the gates of the strategic city of Erbil, and the city was on the verge of collapse, General Soleimani and his forces moved from Iran to Erbil in the night and prevented the advances of the DAESH.
The role of General Soleimani in defeating the DAESH was so important that a few days after his assassination, the DAESH described his assassination as divine intervention and being from God in its weekly publication called “Al-Naba.” They announced that his assassination would be a big help in revitalizing this group. The irony of this event lies in the fact that General Soleimani was assassinated by a country that claims to be fighting against the DAESH, and its President has claimed that they have managed to completely defeat that group. However, the truth is that as Trump correctly ascribed the formation of the DAESH to the Democrats in his presidential speeches, he too is now trying to revive that terrorist group in whatever way he can. The Trump administration’s assassination of General Soleimani was an endeavor to help revive the DAESH, a fact confirmed by the BBC. They have stated in a report that due to General Soleimani’s role in fighting the DAESH, his assassination could prepare the ground for the revival of this group.
US Goals in Assassinating General Soleimani
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iran-US relations changed from a state of subservience on the part of Iran to a state of confronting US interference and transgressions. Throughout all these years, the US’s hostility towards Iran has continued in various ways including imposing economic sanctions.
In line with their policy of wanting to change the regime in Iran, Trump withdrew from the JCPOA due to the insistence and support of the Zionist regime, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA (Barjam) was the first new step taken by the US government against Iran. The purpose of their withdrawing from the JCPOA was to push Iran to withdraw from it as well with the aim of signing a new agreement with more restrictions against Iran. In line with this policy, one year after withdrawing from the JCPOA, Trump refrained from suspending the economic sanctions against Iran, thus beginning a new phase in America’s policy of opposing Iran. Subsequently, Pompeo set 12 preconditions for any possible negotiation with Iran with the purpose of intensifying pressure on Iran and believing that Iran had no other choice than to negotiate with the US.
This policy failed from the beginning. For this reason, Trump’s team and his regional allies inaugurated a new project under the name of “maximum pressure against Iran.” This policy depended on imposing “crippling” economic sanctions against Iran to such an extent that Iran would either be forced to submit to negotiating with the US or it would face collapse from within. Insistence on this policy on the part of the US heightened tensions in the region. Tensions reached their peak when the American Global Hawk drone was struck down by the Iranian missile system. The capability and willpower of Iran in striking the advanced American drone conveyed the message to the US that its goal of exerting maximum pressure was not attainable and that Iran would not negotiate due to its being pressured. Simultaneously with the heightening of tensions, the US and Saudi Arabia tried to bring conflict into Iraq. They attempted to direct public opinion in Iraq against Iran by fueling the fire of the demonstrations in that country. Despite the extensive efforts of the intelligence services of the US and its regional allies, the US plot in Iraq was frustrated by the wise measures adopted by the Resistance forces and under the leadership of General Soleimani.
In fact, Trump’s maximum pressure policy was not successful either on a domestic level inside Iran nor on a regional level. These failures caused Trump to change his approach by assassinating the highest-ranking Iranian commander in the region. He had two goals in mind: one was to eliminate the most important obstacle to furthering his goals in the region and the other was to give a shock to the decision-making system in Iran. In this way, he wished to force Iranian officials into giving in to the US and negotiating with it. However, this plan failed thanks to the timely and decisive reaction of Iran and the Resistance forces in the region. The missile attack on the Ayn al-Asad Airbase was only a part of Iran’s decisive response. This precise and well-organized attack on the most important American airbase in Iraq conveyed two clear messages to the US and the Trump administration, and they seem to have fully understood them. The first message is the strength of the Islamic Republic of Iran for confronting militarily any transgressor who wishes to violate the red lines of that country. As mentioned above, their purpose in assassinating General Soleimani was to change the rules of the game and to give a psychological shock to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s officials. And as a consequence, they wanted to make them surrender and accept negotiations.
However, Iran’s timely response proved to the Americans how wrong their calculations were regarding Iran. The second point is that it revealed the precision and capability of Iran’s missile system. Iran’s missile power is considered to be one of the main pillars of that country’s power of deterrence. The attack on Ayn al-Asad showed that Iran’s missile power even exceeded the expectations of American analysts and that if necessary, it can strike irreversible damages to transgressors.
The Consequences of the Assassination of Soleimani for the US
The most important consequence of General Soleimani’s assassination for US policies in West Asia is the formation of a regional consensus among the people and Resistance groups for expelling American forces from the region. This important development started when the Iraqi Parliament voted in favor of expelling American forces from that country. The assassination of Soleimani has made the US pay a high price – higher than ever before – for remaining in the region to such an extent that it will have no option other than to leave the region in the end.
 Sarah Abed, “ISIS and Israel Praise Trump’s Assassination of Iranian Top General Soleimani,” Global Research, January 13, 2020. Available at:
 Jeremy Bowen, “Qasem Soleimani: Why his killing is good news for IS jihadists,” January 10, 2020. Available at: