Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani sightings
After the July 18, 2012 explosion in Damascus, some Arab and Israeli news sources reported that IRGC Major General Qassem Suleimani had died in the blast. After he did not reappear in public for many weeks, even Ali Alfoneh at the AEI wrote a blog post considering if the reports, which had been denied by the Iranian regime, were, in deed, accurate. Alfoneh, the AEI’s number one expert on the IRGC, noted the lack of public appearances and an extensive biography reported in the Iranian Students News Agency, an unusually open article about a private man.
But recent reports suggest that Suleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, is alive:
According to the BBC, a Kurdish weekly newspaper (Awene) reported in early October that Suleimani had met on September 25, 2012 with Jalal Talabani and Nawshirwan Mustafa. The purpose of the meeting – to use the threat of helping the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (the PUK – Talibani’s organization) and the Change Movement (known in Kurdish as Gorran) to motivate the Kurdish Democratic Party, the Kurdish party of the Barzani clan, to stop supporting Turkish initiatives in Kurdish regions.
On October 2, 2012, the London Times’ Hugh Tomlinson reported that Supreme Leader Khamenei is upset with Suleimani’s Syria strategy that has cost much money and gained little for Iran or the Syrian regime. Not sure why Khamenei would be upset at a dead man. (But then, it would continue the idea that Suleimani was alive . . .)
Until a credible photo appears (not like the photoshopped rocket photos put out by the regime) that establishes Suleimani’s status, speculation will continue among Iran watchers.