The new head of Iran's Quds Force, Gen. Esmail Qaani, is someone who not only desires to kill Americans but also boasts about killing Americans. (Image source: Tasnim News/CC by 4.0)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani as the new head of the Quds Force after Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike ordered by President Donald J. Trump. It is important to know who Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani is and what his policies are: his actions will have consequences for US national security interests and the lives of many Americans and the Free World.
The Quds Force, which the new Iranian General is now leading, has been designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US Department of State, and has been responsible for killing hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans. According to a statement by the US Department of Defense, the Quds Force was "responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more".
The Quds Force also deploys its proxies and militia groups to attack the interests and assets of the US and its allies in the Middle East, as well as the soft underbelly of the US, Latin America. The Quds Force exerts significant influence, direct or indirect, through a conglomerate of more than 40 militia groups, which operate under the banner of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The organization is, furthermore, in charge of Iran's extraterritorial operations, which include organizing, supporting, training, arming and financing Iran's predominantly Shiite militia groups in foreign countries; launching wars directly or indirectly via these proxies; fomenting unrest in other nations to advance Iran's ideological and hegemonic interests; attacking and invading cities and countries; and assassinating foreign political figures and prominent Iranian dissidents worldwide.
The new head of the Quds Force, Gen. Esmail Qaani, is someone who not only desires to kill Americans but also boasts about killing Americans. In 2017, in a ceremony honoring the "martyred of the defenders of shrines" he bragged, according to an article by the Middle East Institute analyst Admad Majidyar, that "Americans have suffered more losses from us then we have suffered losses from them".
Qaani has also volunteered that the mullahs' revolutionary principles are not limited to Iran's boundaries, but instead must be exported to other nations until the Islamic Republic rules over the entire world. "The continuance of this movement," he said, "is to reach the global governance of Imam Mahdi (May God Hasten His Reappearance). This important goal will be attained under the Supreme Leader."
The new head of Quds Force, in the last few months, has also been issuing repeated threats to kill Americans. "With God's grace," he said recently, "and through endeavours of freedom-seekers around the world who want vengeance over his blood, we will hit his enemy in a manly fashion."
According to Islamic Republic News Agency, Qaani also pointed out on January 6, 2020, that "We promise to continue Martyr Soleimani's path with the same strength and his martyrdom will be reciprocated in several steps by removing the US from the region." He also announced, "The revenge for Soleimani's martyrdom is a promise given by God, as the God is the main avenger."
Qaani, apparently a hard-liner, is also expected to be loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei's revolutionary ideals, including anti-Semitism. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei believes that Israel will be eliminated in the next quarter century; he pointed out at Imam Khomeini mosque that "I'd say (to Israel) that they will not see (the end) of these 25 years".
Before being appointed the head of the Quds Force, Qaani was known for overseeing the Quds Force's financial disbursements and weapons shipments to Iran's proxies and terrorist groups. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Qaani covered "financial disbursements to IRGC-QF elements, including elements in Africa, as well as to various terrorist groups, including Hezbollah." That was probably the reason that Qaani was added to the US Treasury's Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, meaning that his US-held assets have been frozen and he has been prohibited from dealing with US entities.
It is incumbent on the international community immediately to cut the flow of funds to Iran's Quds Force and General Qaani.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu