Major General Qassem Soleimani weighed in on Iran's military Budget War 2016. He supports Quds Force objectives and the principal issue for QF is the war against Islamic State.
The problem for Quds Force is that Iranians see the war as a problem far removed from their day to day lives. Images of destruction from Homs, Palmyra, and Aleppo should recall their parents' 1980 suffering. Thing is, the government of Iran suppressed the visuals from that era. Iranians don't know that what is happening today in Syria is almost exactly what happened three decades ago.
“The problem of the enemies is the centrality of Syria in the resistance front and relations with the Islamic Republic. We do not only defend Syria in this country, but we defend Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well, because DAESH and takfiri groups were not formed for Syria, these were formed for Iran.”
That's absurd. But why not? Suleimani can argue that he is looking ahead centuries. His vision fits a very long term where this foreign war produces existential threats against Iran. More was said:
“[If a] DAESH government would have formed, God knows what disasters would have occurred in the world of Islam. The Islamic Republic of Iran has stood against this disaster with pride.”
“The Syrian system has been able to tolerate five years of pressure and surrounding with Iran’s help, so the world confesses that these groups are terrorists … If these groups were not stopped in Syria, today all of this region would be fighting DAESH.”
Soleimani then claimed the Islamic State is “worse than the Khawarij,” pointing to “what they do with prisoners.”
“The takfiris [those who damn other Muslims] have been or are being defeated in all fronts today. I believe that the Syrian people are undefeatable with the support of their government. Europe today pays a heavy security price, and the reason is their support of these terrorist groups. Martyr Hamedani [a fallen Iranian general, dead a year ago] had a valuable effect on these victories.”
“We must trust the wisdom of our leader [Ali Khamenei], and know his value. Today if the Islamic Revolution has amazed the enemies it is because the wisdom of the leader … We are proud that we are Shia, whose peak is higher than all religions.”
.No one would expect him to say the Shia are lower.
What had required an expeditionary force with at most two battalions of Special Forces and artillerymen, suited to a fight well removed from Iran, has been elevated to a major war. This now a question of survival against the Wahhabi/Salafi extremists in Arabia, not just their clients called Islamic State. This applies equally to Nusrah and the various Muslim Brotherhoods. Iranians will understand that.
The read, here, should go to stronger Iranian participation in the Battle of Mosul this winter and then the Battle of Raqqa later on in 2017. We have not seen IRGC or Quds Force units deployed in full so far. I'd expect Suleimani to have a warehouse somewhere filled to the brim with Peshmerga uniforms -- suitably worn and frayed at the collars. He should save back a few for his Russian drone operators and artillerymen.
They didn't kill everybody. The siege took hold and eventually forced collapse of the defenders. That included a few Nusrah cadres, many more tribal groups affiliated with Brotherhood. Still, no one wanted to flatten Homs and the tribes retained control.
So a deal was cut. The surrendered forces were allowed to return north to Idlib province and to take their families. Most stayed, giving up their weapons.
The tribes went over to neutrality.
So now we have pacification running from Damascus through Homs to Idlib. Trucks drive, buses haul passengers, not a shot fired.
Suicide bombers are still a problem. It's the Middle East. Instead of modern psychiatrists treating Depression, they have Salafi Imams selling martyrdom murders. Easy sell.