Esmail Ghaani

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Esmail Qaani
Esmail Gha'ani 2020-01-04.jpg
Qaani in 2020
Born (1957-08-08) 8 August 1957 (age 62)
Mashhad, Iran
AllegianceIran
Service/branchIslamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of service1979–present
RankBrigadier General
Commands heldQuds Force
Battles/warsIran-Iraq War (WIA)[1]

Esmail Qaani (also spelled as Esmail Ghaani[2] Persian: اسماعیل قاآنی‎; born 8 August 1957)[3] is an Iranian Brigadier General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and commander of its Quds Force — a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei appointed Qaani as Commander of the Quds Force on 3 January 2020 after General Qasem Soleimani was killed by a targeted U.S. drone strike near Baghdad International Airport.[4][5] [6][7]

Military career[edit]

During the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988, Qaani led the 5th Nasr Brigade and 21st Imam Reza Armored Brigade.[8] In 1981, he received his military training in Imam Ali Officers' Academy in Tehran.[citation needed]

Qaani was appointed Deputy Commander of the Quds Force in 1997 by IRGC Chief Commander Rahim Safavi, along with Qasem Soleimani as Commander.[9] As Deputy, Ghaani oversaw financial disbursements to paramilitary groups including Hezbollah and an arms shipment intended for The Gambia intercepted in Nigeria in October 2010.[10]

On 27 March 2012, Qaani was added to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing his assets and prohibiting transactions with U.S. entities.[11]

Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei appointed Qaani as Commander of the Quds Force on 3 January 2020 after General Qasem Soleimani was killed by a targeted U.S. drone strike near Baghdad International Airport.[12][13] Reactions to his appointment were mixed. Khamenei described him as "one of the most prominent military commanders during the Sacred Defense".[14] Iranian expatriate and political expert, Dr. Karim Abdian Bani Saeed, expressed the view that the appointment of the subject was hasty and that Ghaani‘s expertise falls short of that of the assassinated commander. However, noted that despite his relatively unknown figure, Qaani is a veteran with decades of overseas military experience, and signaled that his appointment is unlikely either to reduce the Quds Force influence in the iranian foreign policy, nor to change the iranian influence in the region.[15]

Activities in Syria[edit]

On 25 May 2012, two villages in the Houla region of Syria were attacked, resulting in the deaths of 108 people, including 49 children. United Nations investigators concluded that victims had been killed in "two bouts of summary executions" by pro-Assad Shabiha.[16] U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland asserted on 29 May that Qaani alleged in an interview two days earlier that the Quds force helped train Shabiha responsible for the Houla attack. On 27 May, Qaani had given an interview to Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) stating, "Thanks to Iran's presence in Syria-- physically and nonphysically-- big massacres were prevented...if the Islamic republic had not been present in Syria, the massacre of its people would have been multiplied."[17] The interview was deleted from ISNA's site within hours, but copies remained on other news outlets.[18] According to Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli expert on the Middle East, Ghaani's statement was "the first time that an IRGC senior officer has admitted that the Quds force is operating in Syria."[19] Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Chairman Hassan Firouzabadi voiced on Press TV that "[w]e do not interfere in Syria's internal affairs but we support Syria as the resistance front against Israel because one of our principles is the issue of Palestine...We have encouraged the country's government to implement reforms and listen to its people's demands."[20]

Prior to his appointment as Quds Force commander, Qaani was most famous for recruiting the Liwa Fatemiyoun and Liwa Zainebiyoun Shia fighters operating in Syria.[21]

Escalation of Iran–United States tensions[edit]

Qaani has sharply criticized U.S. involvement in the region, at times expressing bellicose rhetoric towards President Donald Trump and American nationals.

At a ceremony commemorating martyrs on 5 July 2017, he contended that the U.S. had futilely spent $6 trillion on Iraq and Afghanistan in attempts to attack Iran. He ended saying, "America has suffered more losses from us than we have suffered losses from them."[22][23]

President Trump declined to recertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), less formally known as the Iran nuclear deal, on 13 October 2017. Trump also announced new sanctions against the IRGC as a supporter of terrorist groups.[24] Ghaani responded, “We are not a war-mongering country. But any military action against Iran will be regretted... Trump’s threats against Iran will damage America... We have buried many... like Trump and know how to fight against America.”[25]

In the wake of the drone strike that killed his predecessor Soleimani, Qaani stated on Al-Jazeera, “We tell everyone, be patient and see the dead bodies of Americans all over the Middle East.”[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1398/10/14/2174260/گزارش-سردار-قاآنی-فرمانده-در-سایه-ای-که-به-میدان-آمد-حرکت-پرشتاب-در-مسیر-حاج-قاسم/amp
  2. ^ "Iran's supreme leader names new commander of Quds Force". aa.com.tr. 2020-01-03.
  3. ^ "Esmail Ghaani: Who is Qasem Soleimani Successor?". See.News. 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  4. ^ "Iran names deputy commander of Quds force to replace Soleimani after killing". CNBC. 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  5. ^ Crowley, Michael; Hassan, Falih; Schmitt, Eric (2020-01-02). "U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  6. ^ "معاون سلیمانی: اسد را نیروی قدس به تهران آورد". Radio Farda (in Persian). Radio Farda. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  7. ^ "Iran names deputy commander of Quds force to replace Soleimani after killing". CNBC. 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  8. ^ "Iran's supreme leader names new commander of Quds Force". aa.com.tr. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  9. ^ "Profile | The Canny General: Quds Force Commander Ghasem Soleimani". FRONTLINE - Tehran Bureau. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  10. ^ "Esmail Ghani". Iran Watch - Tracking Iran's Unconventional Weapon Capabilities. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  11. ^ "Specially Designated Global Terrorists Entries Added to OFAC's SDN List on March 27, 2012". OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal Lawyers. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  12. ^ "Iran names deputy commander of Quds force to replace Soleimani after killing". CNBC. 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  13. ^ Crowley, Michael; Hassan, Falih; Schmitt, Eric (2020-01-02). "U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  14. ^ "Ayatollah Khamenei Appoints Gen. Qa'ani as New Quds Force Chief". IFP News. 2020-01-03.
  15. ^ Yaghoub Fazeli and Emily Judd, Al Arabiya English. (4 January 2020). "Iran’s new Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani ‘not another Solemani’: Expert". Al Arabiya English website Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Most Houla victims killed in summary executions: U.N." Reuters. 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  17. ^ "News Agency Removes Report On Iran's 'Physical' Involvement In Syria". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  18. ^ "Archive of ISNA Ghaani Interview". Baztab.net (in Persian). 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  19. ^ "Syrian army being aided by Iranian forces". The Guardian. 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  20. ^ "Media Watch - Iran's Alleged Role in Syrian Massacre". PBS FRONTLINE. 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  21. ^ "How Iran can respond to the killing of Qassem Suleimani". The Economist. 9 January 2020.
  22. ^ "Quds Force Commander: We've Inflicted More Losses to America than It's Done to Us". Middle East Institute. 2017-07-13. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  23. ^ "آمریکا با ۶هزار میلیارد دلار هزینه ‌هیچ اقدامی علیه ایران نتوانست انجام دهد". Tasnim News Agency (in Persian). 2017-07-05. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  24. ^ "Trump threatens to rip up Iran nuclear deal unless US and allies fix 'serious flaws'". The Guardian. 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  25. ^ "Senior Quds force commander says Trump's threats against Iran will damage U.S.: report". Reuters. 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  26. ^ Borger, Julian; Holmes, Oliver; Chulov, Martin; Pilkington, Ed (2020-01-03). "Fears of new conflict in Middle East as Tehran vows to avenge killing". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2020-01-04. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
Military offices
Preceded by
Unknown
Second-in-Command of Quds Force
Unknown–2020
Succeeded by
Mohammad Hejazi
Preceded by
Qasem Soleimani
Commander of Quds Force
2020–present
Incumbent