Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force who
is placed on terror lists, is traveling for missions, including to Baghdad,
Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. The goal is to make political arrangements that were
set to be carried out by diplomats instead.
But with the involvement of the Iranian regime in the bloodshed in the region, Soleimani became the "new diplomatic face" for Tehran instead of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose role has become questionable, observers said.
While the political blocs in the Iraqi parliament have reached the peak level in differences and controversy over the candidates of the remaining ministries, especially the interior ministry, Soleimani was sipping tea in the home of Iraq's mufti in Baghdad, where he discussed with the mufti ways to support former IMIS leader Faleh al-Fayadh to take the interior minister post.
The pro-Iranian Fayadh has become the reason for a major crisis in Baghdad, with the insistence of the political blocs affiliated with Tehran to push him in Abdul Mahdi's government, while the Saairun Alliance (Alliance Towards Reform) led by Muqtada al-Sadr and the Nasr Alliance led by Haidar al-Abadi are against passing the "Iranian appointment."
On Thursday, Soleimani went to Erbil to persuade the Kurdistan Democratic Party to give up the Justice Ministry to a candidate for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Iraq was not Soleimani's only destination. He was also received by the Houthi rebels in Sanaa, the Syrian government in Damascus and the Hezbollah militia that dominates the political scene in Beirut.
Even Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani did not deal with his Iranian counterpart in the deal to free the Qatari hostages, but with Soleimani, who received from the Qataris around a billion dollars and distributed them to his militias in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
When US President Donald Trump announced the decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did not reply immediately or through the foreign minister, but rather Soleimani subsequently addressed the US, saying that the Quds Force is the entity that will deal with the matter, adding that the Quds Force is "closer than what you think," in a clear threat, Fars News Agency reported.
Soleimani's remarkable role stems from the fact that the Revolutionary Guard is stronger than any government authority, with a budget of more than $7 billion, while the army of the country receives only $4 billion.
In addition, the IRGC controls more than 50 percent of Iran's economic activity through 200 companies operating in all fields.
The Quds Force is a special body of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and is responsible for carrying out military and intelligence operations outside Iranian territory.