Syria, Oct 12: A few days back, it was said that Iran lobbied hard for Russia to play a role in the ongoing battle in Syria. With President Bashar al-Assad on the backfoot and the ISIS gaining in strength, Iran knew that the situation was turning from bad to worse.
The strikes that have been launched by the Americans and their allies is unclear and let us face the fact the presence of the US has made no difference to the declining situation in Syria.
The question now is who convinced Russia and how did they enter into the Syria battle. It was in the month of July that a visit by Qassem Soleimani to Russia made all the difference.
Solemani a Major General and commands the elite Quds Force which is an extra territorial special wing of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Solemani is a very powerful person in Iran and reports directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader of Iran.
The visit to Russia:
In the month of July Soleimani paid a visit to Russia. Over there Iran showed Russia a map of Syria and explained at length the manner in which Assad was being beaten down. During that meeting it was also said that the defeats can be turned into victory if Russia intervenes in the battle at Syria. Prior to the July meeting, there were a series of other meetings in which officials from Iran explained in Russia the necessity of aiding Assad in Syria.
The several high level meetings held between Tehran and Moscow led to the latter believing that Assad was in need of help. Further Moscow also felt that they need to prop up Assad. Russian President, Putin was convinced and he decided that he would hold a strategy meeting with Soleimani. While giving the green signal, he instructed that Soleimani be sent over to Russia. This led to the meeting in July.
The rise of Soleimani:
Prior to the year 2013, Soleimani was an unheard of figure. He has been a commander of the Quds force since 1998. Soleimani has a clear agenda today and that is to wipe the ISIS out.
He was aware of the dangers that were emerging from the Sunni extremists and in the year 2001 had provided crucial intelligence to the US in 2001 against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
However, he attained a cult status in the year 2013, when he strategized in Syria on how to beat the ISIS and the rebels who are battling Assad.
Many say that he has been largely successful and has been one of the lone persons who has effectively strategized against the ISIS. His fan following in Iran has grown so big that a majority feel that he should contest the 2017 Presidential elections. There are documentaries made on him and songs dedicated to him in Iran.
He is bound to grow in stature after he successfully convinced the Russians to join the Syria war and help Assad. Today he is in Damascus and coordinates the Russian-Syrian and Iranian forces against the rebels.