Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which is responsible for subversive operations carried out by the Revolutionary Guard abroad, has again visited Iraq.
Apparently, this is the first visit in about a year, during which Iran has involved itself deeply in the current Iraqi political turmoil in an effort to influence the composition of Iraq’s government.
The last time Soleimani was seen in Iraq was at the end of December 2017, when he was accompanied by Hassan Danaeifar, the former Iranian ambassador to Baghdad, who used to be a senior officer in the Quds force. Soleimani met with Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani about three months after the failure of a referendum over independence in the Kurdish region.
Before the referendum was held, Iran exerted heavy pressure to prevent it and essentially achieved its goal. Following Soleimani’s visit at that time, Iran agreed to reopen two border crossings between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan, which Tehran had closed because of the referendum initiative.