Qasem Soleimani had a “bad guy” nickname; he was “The Shadow Commander.”
That’s pretty wimpy, really. I don’t want to be too dismissive, but the raging asshole in Washington who’s calling Solemani a “terrorist” has a CIA director whose nickname is “Bloody Gina” and who is acknowledged to have operated the US torture program. “Mad Dog Mattis” is out of the scene, and probably highly relieved to be. Allegedly John Bolton’s nickname for a while was “President Bolton.” These are some bad dudes. These are people who hold electric drills to people’s foreheads when they ask questions.
What blows my mind is that the US can talk about “terrorism” coming from someplace else, when the CIA is the world’s largest, most successful, and least effective exporter of terrorism. Effective terrorism results in political change due to the fear it generates; the CIA has been killing people all around the Middle East with its murder-drones and it has had, provably, zero effect. Zero. None.
The Quds Force that Soleimani operated wasn’t particularly effective, either. For example, one of their operations was a plan to kill Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the US; it failed. Meanwhile, the Saudis ordered a journalist killed and disassembled (post mortem) and publicly washed their hands of the affair. I’m not saying that Soleimani was a nice guy, or anything like that, but he hardly strikes me as a terrorist mastermind or a master strategist. Really, the issue seems to me, these government-sponsored regime-change and bone-saw experts don’t accomplish much; they’re scary but their influence on history is fairly minor. The CIA’s torture program, for example, cost a huge amount of money (probably more than the entire Quds Force) and all it learned was that, when you torture someone, they’ll say whatever you want them to. That’s something that has already been known for a long time.
The Quds Force did some seriously nasty stuff, including supporting and operating with shiite death squads. Sometimes they covered their actions by claiming they were non-military diplomatic liaisons. “Pfff,” says the CIA, “we own that.” It’s the usual dynamic: their guys are terrorists, ours are “freedom fighters.”
I can’t find any information on the Quds Force’s annual budget, but the CIA’s budget is somewhere in the area of $11 billion. I suspect they spend more on coffee creamer, drills, and nylon straps than the entire Quds Force’s budget. If the Quds Force has managed to be so scary and effective on what is doubtless a shoestring budget by CIA terms, why has the CIA been allowed to be so bloated and inefficient, and why haven’t they learned from the FSB and Quds Force? Allegedly, the FSB was able to overthrow the US government in 2016, for a cost of under $1million. The CIA can’t find its own ass for less than $10million, but the actual amount is classified. What drives me nuts about this dynamic is that we’re simultaneously told “these guys are some really bad people” when they’re actually mostly incompetent, and they’re consistently under-funded. If they actually were as scary and powerful as Keyser Söze they wouldn’t be easily squished on a budget by some drone with a hellfire missile.
The hypocrisy level of the world has jumped 12% since the beginning of 2020 and hypocrisy scientists are predicting that 2020 will be the most cynical year on record.
Henry Kissinger is such a bad dude he doesn’t even have a nickname. Like Keyser Söze, he uses his real name because he does not give a fuck who knows it.
I am not positive but I think that you are misinterpreting the nature and purpose of the Quds Force. It is not an intelligence service, it is a military training and assistance force.
It was the Quds Force that helped train and organize the PMU (Iraqi Shia militia units) that, with a bit of US help, crushed ISIS in Iraq. It is the Quds Force that helped arm and train Hezbollah and it was the Quds Force that helped the Syrian Government destroy the mixed bag of crazy jihadists that were trying to turn Syria into a failed state. Reportedly Soleimani even had an important role in persuading the Russians to intervene.
So far, it seems that the Houthis are in the process of “winning” the civil war in Yemen and definitely are kicking the Saudis’ ass. And guess who their major supporter is—Iran via the Quds Force.
Allegedly, the FSB was able to overthrow the US government in 2016,
To be pedantic, the IRA in St Petersburg was an alleged GU (formerly known as the GRU) operation. Clearly they have better financial controls than the US military or the CIA.
Theoretically the FSB would not be involved at all as it is the internal security service, very, very roughly analogous to the US FBI.
A foreign operation should be in the purview of the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service ?) or the GU (ex-GRU).
M Smith says
I realise it’s frivolous and completely beside the point, but I’m now imagining a person in an interrogation room being forcefed coffee creamer straight from the tin.
Two things there. First, the name may have lost something in translation and may sound much more impressive in the original. Which brings me to the second point, namely what’s impressive, flattering or, indeed, whimpy.
For example, I’d say “Bloody Anything” is a miserable name for someone supposedly in charge of clandestine operations. You know, with subtlety and cunning and all that. If anything, “bloody” would be a mark of failure. Not impressive.
“Mad dog”? Nope, I wouldn’t want to be commanded by a fellow who’s earned that moniker, ever. It rather suggests a Zapp Branniganesque style of leadership (“Stop exploding, you cowards!”). Definitely not flattering.
And finally, “president”. That sounds just so sad and unimaginative. Especially if you got fired in record time. Fine, people don’t get to pick their nicknames but getting stuck with something like that… oh dear.
Anyway, we might as well argue about royal nomenclature. Who’s more initimidating? Orn the Wise or Marn the Muscular?
(It’s Orn, of course, who invented taxation and used it to raise the largest army and keep the world (don’t ask which) had ever seen)
P.S.: Quds is the biggest threat to freedom ever. It must be so. Otherwise it would be pretty silly to bomb some foreign official who’s supporting your ally and risk a big war.
Also, somewhere in Iraq, there’s a hidden bunker filled with ABC weapons and manned by the last of the Republican Guard, patiently waiting for Saddam Hussein to come back and order them to wipe out New York and London. It must be so because otherwise…
Naw, take the coffee creamer, shake the can up, and start pouring the stuff out in front of a large room fan so you get coffee creamer dust floating through the air in the room.
Then threaten to throw a match into the room as part of the interrogation.
I don’t particularly have anything against the rest of what you said, but I had to respond to this sentence. While I’m sure the Syrian rebels, like many other grass-roots groups in the region, had their share of crazy jihadists, the movement to overthrow the Syrian government seemed to come squarely from a bunch of people who were sick and tired of their friends and family being disappeared by Bashar al-Assad’s thuggish secret police. There are certainly bad actors on many sides in this conflict, but I don’t see any possible reading that would make Bashar into a good actor. Syria is a state that deserved to fail, and the fact that it did not is a shame for the entire world.
Ask the average Libyan citizen if he or she would agree with your analysis. I agree with jkrideau on this one. Any “moderate” rebels were quickly and utterly replaced by the crazies. There are a lot of really nasty governments in the world today. Should we be arming every unhappy citizen group? Heck, our own right wing nutjobs have plenty of complaints about ZOG and the ebil federal gubmint. Maybe the United States “deserves” to be a failed state. Arguably, our current government does more harm in the world than Assad ever dreamed of.
And…even granted this….is it the West’s role to replace the deserved to fail Syrian state?
Pierce R. Butler says
… the CIA has been killing people all around the Middle East with its murder-drones and it has had, provably, zero effect.
Huh? It cost $everal billion, but they goosed up the Pan-Islamic movement to bounce the Soviets out of Afghanistan, and incidentally steroided the jihadi movement into the [Hail!] hydra still tying the US military in knots decades later.
I think that bmiller @ 7 makes the point I slid over as I was thinking about the Quds Force and not the buildup to their intervention.
“Any “moderate” rebels were quickly and utterly replaced by the crazies.”
@ 8 Pierce R. Butler
I have been saying for years that George W Bush was Al Qaida’s most successful agent.