Uproar in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has relieved Gen. Qassem Soleimani,the Al Qods Brigades chief and supreme commander of Iranian Middle East forces, of his Syria command after a series of war debacles. He was left in charge of Iran’s military and intelligence operations in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. This is revealed by debkafile’s exclusive Iranian and intelligence sources.
Since Soleimani last visited Damascus on June 2, in the aftershock of the historic town of Palmyra’s fall to the Islamic State, the situation of President Bashar Assad and his army has gone from bad to worse.
The Iranian general’s bravado in stating then that “In the next few days the world will be pleasantly surprised from what we (the IRGC) working with Syrian military commanders are preparing,” turned out to be empty rhetoric. The thousands of Iranian troops needed to rescue the Assad regime from more routs never materialized. Since then, the Syrian forces have been driven out of more places. Hizballah is not only stymied in its attempts to dislodge Syrian rebel advances in the strategic Qalamoun Mountains, it has failed to prevent the war spilling over into Lebanon. There is strong evidence that the high Iranian command in charge of the Syrian and Lebanese arenas are stuck.
These reverses have occurred, our military sources report, owing to Tehran’s failure to foresee five developments:
1. The launching of a combined effort by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE – among the wealthiest nations in the world – in support of rebel groups fighting Bashar Assad. Their massive injections of military assistance, weapons and financial resources have thrown Iran’s limitation into bold relief.
2. The ineptitude of the Shiite militias mustered by Soleimani in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight Iran’s wars in Syria and Iraq. None of those imported troops met the combat standards required in those arenas and become liabilities rather than assets.
3. Those shortcomings forced Tehran to admit that it had come up short of military manpower to deploy in four ongoing warfronts: Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. Soleimani took flak for the over-ambitious plans he authored which pulled Iran into military commitments that overtaxed its resources and did not take into account the messy political and military consequences which followed. Above all, he miscalculated the numbers of fighting strength needed on the ground for winning battles in those wars.
4. In the final reckoning, Iran funds has been drained of the strategic reserves that should have been set aside for the contingency of a potential ISIS encroachment of its territory.