Hadji Qasem: A whole cult blown away

An enemy of peace and humanity vaporized

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In the aftermath of the killing, the world experienced an after-effect akin to the assassination of the high-ranking German SS Reinhard Heydrich in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia one fine morning of 1942 at the hand of two members of the resistance. Good news for the allies, and for the Jews whom Heydrich presided over their extermination across Europe and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference which formalised plans for the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”

How Hitler felt for the loss of his “man with iron heart” in Czechoslovakia wasn’t unlike the feeling of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei for the killing of his irreplaceable henchmen in the region Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani —the Mullah’s screech is reverberating across the region, curt and mad.

The reaction of the Germans avenging their man was devastating and gory indeed. Only after consultations had Hitler altered his response to arrest and execute 10,000 randomly selected Czechs. For Khamenei’s part, he has the ability to retaliate really; a wide range of targets from Israel to Europe to Arab lands, but he plainly lacks the immunity and preponderance of power Hitler had once enjoyed.

However, the U.S. so far has only been pinching the Mullahs, and the Mullahs know very well that if they exaggerated in their response, the democratic sweetheart, freedom-loving America could suddenly morph into a scary, angry monster.

The demise of Soleimani, the darkest figure within the Iranian regime who had overseen the expansion of Iran influence throughout the Middle East and exploited both the religious factor and the natural wealth of his country to form and arch of blood-and-soil, loyal allies from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Gulf of Oman, which includes not only Arab Shiites—Iran’s major capital—but also those who share anti-Americanism and anti-Israel sentiments across the board: As Sunni pan-Arabs and some Arab Christians in Lebanon and, of course, Russia alongside despots of rogue states in Asia and Latin America—is undoubtably a great coup for the Trump administration.

Still, the death of one man (as much responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands since he had been appointed to his post as the leader of Quds Force in the late 1990s) within a totalitarian killing machine is not a sign of a sea change in Iran’s death-dealing policy nor its determination to pursue its ideological goals.

To replace an astute killer by another could be done overnight as Khamenei immediately named Esmail Ghaani new leader of Quds Force, whose tenor bells will expectedly be all but a follow-up to his late mentor’s. But what’s really hard to win back is the image; to carve out another mystical figure that Soleimani earned himself after long, toiling decades in the making of and establishing a feared Iranian dominion over the Middle East.

The death of a man of such caliber with worldwide connections and revered, nearly-prophetic aura is more resonant off the field than on it. The crushing blow dwells not in Iran’s loss of a wise and professional warlord but in the loss of magic; the vaporization of the myth that surrounded the regime in the presence of Hadji Qasem; the spoiling of the spell that he had long exercised upon his regional subordinate and the cold-blooded brutality with which he used to operate; the closing of his celestial adventure on earth and with it the Islamic Republic’s lucky charm.

In an ideology-infested arena that has always granted to Star Wars, legendary martyrdom tails, invincible soldiers of Allah adorned with angelic wings more than what it has granted to reason and actual facts—it is an immense setback, a blow to the all-powerful Islamist propaganda—the almighty has actually abandoned his great warrior into a humiliating smoldering wreckage!

Thus, the U.S. essentially killed a symbol, and smashed to Smithereens a whole cult that engulfed the man. A blow to the morale of the followers, and to the confidence and self-esteem with which Iran has been able to pursue its strategic aims.

But what’s more important to ponder about here, is that the Iranians—including their top brass—are no longer immune and free to travel in broad daylight across the region where they wreak havoc without fearing an American pinch.

About the Author
Taha Lemkhir is a Moroccan writer and photographer. Degree in Arabic literature and Islamic studies. Critic of Islamism. languages: Arabic, English and Spanish. He Lived part of his life as an Islamist— until enlightenment flashed through his heart.
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