Who Made the Iranian Al Qods Chief Disappear? Syrian Rebels or Khamenei?

The disappearance of Qassem Soleimani, the live wire behind Iran’s Middle East war efforts and foreign terror conspiracies, is baffling the world’s top intelligence agencies.
For years, Soleimani operated in the shadows of his clandestine calling as commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Al Qods Brigades, in the pursuit of external “operations.” But in recent months, the newly-promoted commander of Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq played a decisive role on the battlefields of the Middle East and in relations between Iran and Russia.
In this capacity, Soleimani began collecting kudos and was hailed in Tehran as the next president. His photo frequently appeared in the social media.
Some weeks ago, those photos disappeared without warning, and he failed to show up at official meetings and functions staged by IRGC or the Al-Qods Brigades. He did not turn up to deliver a speech on Dec. 7, Students Day, without explanation.
When a middle-ranking IRGC officer fell in combat on the Aleppo front in northern Syria, the Iranian Tasnim news agency ran a short obituary in Soleimani’s name without a picture.
Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Iranian Fars agency reported he was seen in Moscow a week ago talking to President Vladimir Putin. The next day, the IRGC information bureau denied this.
One of Soleimani’s last recorded actions was to offer $1,000 for each fighter willing to go to Syria – even Sunnis from poverty-stricken Balochistan in southwestern Iran – to make up for heavy Iranian losses.,
DEBKA Weekly’s Iranian sources investigating the disappearance have heard several theories:
1. The most popular is that the missing general is still alive, but seriously wounded in the fighting around Aleppo and was moved to a private hospital at the residential compound of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – and even that he is recuperating.
2. He is tied down in Moscow monitoring developments in the Syrian war at the insistence of Russian general staff high-ups, who need him there as the only Iranian official competent to sign off on operational decisions.
3. Ayatollah Khamenei was so irritated by the acclaim showered on Soleimani, especially in the foreign media, that he banished him from the public view and sent him back to his old clandestine job.
4. Other Tehran sources told DEBKA Weekly that the radical camp is keeping him under cover as its candidate for the presidency in the coming elections, and plan to spring him on the public at the right moment.
5. Soleimani is alive and well, but is keeping a low profile after losing much of his popular luster in the wake of Iran’s military debacles in Syria and war losses.
Some sources say the Al Qods leader’s idea to invite massive Russian intervention in Syria has blown up in his face. Moscow’s campaign is so comprehensive that it is swallowing Syria whole, leaving nothing for Iran.

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