Soleimani was killed because he stood in the way of American expansionism in the Middle East
Qassem Soleimani was not just another general.
He was a rock star to many in the Middle East, for numerous reasons, and his courage on the battlefield was known to all.
His popular portrait depicts him standing a head taller than everybody, in a green Quds outfit, his head slightly cocked to one side with a firm gaze. The portrait shows handsome face with a somewhat cruel expression, and was remotely as famous as that of Che Guevara; looking stern and pained at a funeral of Cuban workers killed when an arms ship was blown up, allegedly by the US.
Soleimani's rise to power was not through political labyrinths and parleys. When the eight-year long Iran-Iraq war began – or should we say, imposed, on Iran by the US and Israel in 1980 when Iraq unilaterally attacked Iran – he marched into war.
It was Soleimani who organised the famous, or rather, the infamous, suicide squad of Iran which was joined by thousands of young boys some of them barely 12 or 13.
In his epic book "The Great War for Civilisation," the famous British journalist – and a walking encyclopaedia on the Middle-East – Robert Fisk, described his experience with the suicide squad.
Fisk entered an underground encampment on the Iran-Iraq border and saw the children with red headbands reading the Quran. A little later, they rode their motorbikes onto the fields in which Iraqis had sown thousands of landmines to prevent the Iranian army from advancing.
The children would ride onto the mines to detonate them and embrace "martyrdom" for the Iranian soldiers to roll safely into Iraq.
His bravery in the war earned him medals, and in the war against the Islamic State, he played a key role, actually helping the US cause of demolishing the demonic force.
And now he was killed in a US air strike in Iraq, precisely at Baghdad International Airport, as if Soleimani was another bin Laden.
This simply violates all international laws despite the US claiming the strike was in self-defence and consistent with the UN Charter; a charter that defines self defence as a right to respond to an actual and significant armed attack.
However, Iran had not attacked the sovereign territory of the US. The drone attack that killed Soleimani was not in response to an armed attack on the US.
These questions do not matter to the US anymore. Military overreach to other countries is old-fashioned American adventurism. We have the example of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba – that led to the Cuban missile crisis that brought the Soviet Union and the US near to confrontation. We have Vietnam in store. And we will not forget Iraq invasion in the name of weapons of mass destruction. The Americans went out and killed bin Laden in Pakistan.
And now, Soleimani is the latest victim of American adventurism. As Robert Fisk has pointed out, to kill Soleimani is to put a sword into the heart of Iran.
And he has spoken of Saudi Arabia's and Israel's dislike of the Iranian general. The Saudi king had talked of "cutting off the head of the Iranian snake."
Both the US and the Saudis have tried to implicate Iran in recent attacks on ships in the Gulf. Their evidence, however, held little water. Nonetheless, a case was being constructed for such a drastic response.
All of this was done because Iran, or rather Soleimani, stood in the way of American expansionism in the Middle East; that would see the country set up puppet governments one after another.
Retired US General David Petraeus, who commanded American forces during the war in Iraq, had once called Soleimani "our most significant and evil adversary in the greater Middle East."
Soleimani was one of the key architects of the Iranian regime's efforts to reshape the country's influence in the region.
Therefore, it was important for the US to remove him.
"Just imagine what would happen if a leading American general – or two, since Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was a leading pro-Iranian figure in Iraq – was blown up on a tour of the Middle East," Fisk has asked.
The answer is known to all of us. A formal war would have been announced and within weeks, bombs would have rained down from the air until that "rogue" was obliterated, just as it happened in Iraq.
With Iran, however there is little chance of a full-blown war, because the Persian country has already been extensively weakened by sanctions. Its economy is in tatters, and its military might – although it wants to flaunt its missiles of "excellence" – has weakened, with outdated war machines, most of which are no-longer usable because of a lack of spare parts.
Iran knows the facts and would not want a head-on war which it could never win.
However, Iran is not Afghanistan or Iraq. And Soleimani is not bin Laden. Iran will, with all likelihood, bide its time, plus taunt and harass the US, until it settles its scores.