The military launched by the Saudi-led Arab coalition against Houthi militants to Yemen aimed at ending their coup d’état and returning the legitimate government to Sana’a is one of the most significant defeats suffered by Iran’s Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani, as this force is considered as Tehran’s military wing in a number of countries of the region.
Iran attempted to portray Qassem Suleimani as a strong figure and the symbol of its military meddling in the region. After years of clandestine efforts and keeping him in the shadows, Iran then began showing him at any and all events. These scenes were only a part of the propaganda campaign led by Iran to depict this terrorist as a significant military commander. These efforts, launched in a hurry, were also finished in quite a rush. The Quds Force commander, linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has once again gone into hiding in the past few months and there are literally no new images or video footages of him. Foreign sources believe the reason for this absence is Qassem Suleimani’s failure in more than one mission, which has seriously damaged his image as a restless military commander.
One of the major missions Suleimani stumbled in was not being able to forecast “Operation Decisive Storm” in the region. According to a Tehran-based magazine Suleimani had assured Khamenei that Saudi Arabia will never launch any such attack. This surprise campaign left Iran forced to abandoning its allies, the Houthis, in Yemen; whereas it had dispatched a number of its elements, including military advisors and experts to support the militants in their battles.
Qassem Suleimani’s defeat in Yemen led to his disgrace in Iran. However, Yemen was not the only scene where Suleimani suffered a major defeat. His mission in Iraq also led to the deterioration of his role, as he adopted a mistaken strategy that placed immense pressure on Iraqi Sunnis. His biggest critic was Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and he is very disturbed of Suleimani’s role and his arrogant stances in infiltrating into Iraq and taking control over 4 Arabic capitals.
The role of Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the nuclear deal also helped further smear Suleimani’s posture as Iran’s only figure in Iraq and even Syria.
Iran’s experience in creating an image of a restless military commander ended in complete failure and Suleimani is now in the shadows again due to his failures in Yemen and Iraq.
The lesson that can be learned from Operation Decisive Storm is that one must only resort to firm language and steps against the Iranian regime, and only through aggressive operations will Tehran actually be forced to step back. Any appeasement and incentives to Iran’s rulers – seen very vividly in Mr. Obama’s policies – will not only do any good for world peace, it will actually lead to insecurity and further encourage terrorists because Mr. Obama has paid them through the nuclear agreement and how hundreds of billions of dollars will be flooded to Iran.