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Iran

Photo: Top Iranian mysterious commander in plane with senior Syrian Sunni Mufti

Qasem Soleimani nicknamed by some as the shadow commander and the living martyr, born 11 March 1957) is the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which conducts special operations outside Iran.

According to Western sources, although he has maintained a low profile, Soleimani has been very influential in building up the capacity of Hezbollah, shaping the post-war political landscape in Iraq, and turning around the Syrian civil war—driving opposition forces from strategic points as well as containing the expansion of ISIS. He is listed by the United States government as a “terrorist”, and has been described as “both hated and admired” by his adversaries. He is widely credited with delivering the strategy that has helped President Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns.

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