On January 3, 2020, a US precision drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport killed Qassem Soleimani, the longtime head of Iran’s Quds Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) division responsible for covert operations outside Iran. According to then-US president Donald Trump, Soleimani was planning “imminent and sinister attacks” on Americans in the Middle East.
Indeed, Soleimani directed numerous proxies and militias that continue to spread havoc across the region, and oversaw terror attacks on Western targets around the globe, as described by HonestReporting in a February 2021 article.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London,” Trump stated in the aftermath of the strike. Yet exactly two years after “the world’s number one bad guy” was neutralized, English-language media outlets are still obscuring Soleimani’s legacy, thereby effectively burying Tehran’s malign activities.
Between January 1 and 4, news outlets including The Washington Post, Associated Press, CNN, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and others, published 55 pieces that mentioned the killing of Soleimani. Out of those, 24 completely omitted the fact that the Iranian commanded the Quds Force. Other reports described the organization as “the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards,” thus failing to encapsulate its true nature.
Moreover, some journalists solely referred to Soleimani as an “Iranian general,” or a “powerful military commander.”
Only one report, published on January 4 by Britain’s Daily Mail, accurately conveyed Soleimani’s actions:
Soleimani headed the Quds Force, the shadowy operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, with links to jihadists in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Yemen.
Indeed, the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have designated the Quds Force as a terrorist group and sanctioned its commanders.
Under Soleimani’s leadership, Iranian proxies played a central role in virtually every conflict in the Middle East. For example, the Quds Force ordered Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which Tehran sponsors to the tune of tens of millions of dollars annually, to perpetrate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
In Syria, the Quds Force has built a significant military presence in support of the murderous Assad regime. According to Israeli estimates, Iran deployed 3,000 Quds Force fighters to Syria, while simultaneously supporting Hezbollah and other Shiite militias there.
In Iraq, the Quds Force coordinated attacks, including rocket launches and bombings targeting US troops, through proxies like Kataeb Hezbollah. The Houthis in Yemen also receive military support from the Islamic Republic, which maintains Quds Force members on the ground.
The Quds Force has furthermore been implicated in terrorist attacks worldwide. Many believe that Soleimani was the mastermind behind the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. That attack, executed by Hezbollah operatives, killed 85 people and injured hundreds. According to reports, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the bombing.
In 2018, German authorities raided the homes and businesses of 10 suspected members of the Quds Force, who allegedly spied on Jewish and Israeli targets with a view to planning terror attacks.
Following Soleimani’s killing, Khameini appointed Esmail Ghaani to lead the Quds Force. Ghaani, who joined the IRGC in 1980 and fought in Iran’s eight-year war with Iraq, immediately made clear that nothing would deter Tehran “from carrying on its resistance path.”
In fact, Soleimani’s legacy continues to be felt in places like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Gaza, and other areas where Iranian-backed terrorism sows destruction and misery.
During May’s Hamas-initiated conflict with Israel, the Iranian regime made no effort to hide its support for the war crimes committed by Hamas, PIJ, and other Gaza-based terror groups.
In a phone call, Quds Force commander Ghaani reportedly assured Hamas “of the Islamic Republic’s continued support in the battle against the Zionist enemy.” On the second day of the fighting, Khamenei on Twitter urged Palestinians to “continue this path” and “confront the enemy.”
In response, PIJ thanked “the Axis of Resistance, headed by the Islamic Republic in Iran, which has been generous with us in every aspect.” Analysts pointed out that some of the rockets fired at Israeli population centers were of Iranian origin.
Not surprisingly, Hamas this week held a ceremony to commemorate Soleimani.
One would think that this, along with many other facts about him and the nefarious group he led, would qualify as newsworthy. Unfortunately, for most Western outlets, they don’t.
The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.