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The US unwittingly helped create Qassem Soleimani. Then they killed him.

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Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander whose paramilitary organization, known as the Quds Force, helped position Iran as a modern regional power, was assassinated on January 3, 2020, on order of the President of the United States, Donald Trump. American political leaders of both major parties have been united in their description of Soleimani as an evil man whose death should be celebrated, even while the consequences of his demise remain unknown.

The celebration of Soleimani’s death, however, is born of an ignorance regarding the events and actions that shaped the work he directed, and which defined the world in which he operated. While the US has cast Soleimani as a byproduct of Iran’s malign intent in the Middle East, the reality is much starker: Soleimani is the direct result of America’s irresponsibly aggressive policies. In a world defined by cause-effect relationships, the link between Soleimani and the United States is undeniable.

Soleimani gained prominence in Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the eight-year war with Iraq, where his leadership, courage and decisiveness caught the attention of senior Iranian leaders including then-President Ali Khamenei. During this time, Soleimani developed the skillset that would later serve him well as the leader of the Quds Force, the paramilitary organization he helped found in the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War.

The Quds Force was designed to project Iranian influence through covert means. Soleimani and the Quds Force first came into prominence in 1998, after the Taliban murdered hundreds of Afghan Shi’a and nine Iranians (eight diplomats and a journalist) following the capture of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i Sharif.

Immediate aftermath of missile attack in #Iraq that killed Iran Quds Force commander #SoleimaniMORE: https://t.co/8Rshkr8fGzpic.twitter.com/uPFH1s2TD6

While senior Iranian military leadership advocated a massive punitive expedition into western........

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