General Qassim Soleimani, charismatic leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force who wrong-footed the West to become a key power broker in the Middle East – obituary

General Qassim Soleimani, who has been killed in a US drone strike on Baghdad airport aged 62, was the mysterious leader of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which carries out covert military operations in foreign countries – and his country’s most powerful military figure.

To Shiites in the Middle East Soleimani, a small, quietly spoken silver-haired general, was a hero whose understated charisma made him a poster boy for the Iranian military. To many in the West, he was the principal paymaster of Hizbollah, Hamas and other militant groups committed to undermining pro-Western governments in the region. The US held him responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US personnel….

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