By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog
Today was the day when the mourning process for Martyr Soleimani and Martyr Al-Muhandis reached its climax when the funeral procession for the heroes reached Tehran. Millions of Iranians have packed the streets of Tehran to pay homage to the Middle East’s most prominent anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani who was assassinated on US President Donald Trump’s order Friday.
A huge sea of mourners, streaming from all the adjoining streets in freezing temperatures, descended on the iconic Engelab Square (Revolutionary square) in central Tehran on Monday morning before rallying to Azadi Tower in the capital’s west.
Chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” they carried portraits of their national hero whose assassination in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport has generated an outpouring of anger and patriotism across Iran and elsewhere, with vociferous calls for revenge.
A correspondent for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) said he had not seen such a crowd in 20 years in Tehran, where important occasions usually draw people in millions.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei led the prayers over the general’s coffin and the remains of his companions at Tehran University, his voice cracking several times with emotion which caused the massive crowd to weep. It was a sight to behold when millions of people cried at the same time. A deeply emotional prayer was followed by speeches and what we Iranians call Azadari, poems sung and people striking their chests in agony.
If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you watch it here:
and in Mahshad here:
The coffins of Gen. Soleimani and Iraq’s anti-terror commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also assassinated in Friday’s attack, were draped in their national flags and passed from hand to hand across the heads of mourners.
General Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab, addressed the crowd, saying “the name Haj Qassem Soleimani is now shaking the nest of Zionism, Takfirism, and the order of hegemony.”
“America and Zionism should know that my father’s martyrdom has awakened more human instincts on the resistance front. It will make life a nightmare for them and shatter their spider houses,” she said.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh also paid tribute to “this great commander,” calling him three times in succession as the “martyr of Quds” in reference to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
Foreign dignitaries turned out to pay their respects as well, with pictures of the ambassadors of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Uzbekistan, Kenya and Guinea-Bissau showing up together with the chargé d’Affairs of Oman.
This was the final day of the cross-national funeral for the heroes of Islam and the West Asian region (According to the Westerners “the Middle East”). It was a cross national funeral because Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis were not just martyrs of Iran and Iraq, but martyrs of Islam. This is very important to underline. Therefore protestors and mourning processions took to the streets in several countries and regions, including Kashmir, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
Soleimani’s posters near Beirut airport
Protests in Kashmir:
Western media outlets and analysts have failed time and again to understand the dynamic and concepts of Shiism. Lies are being spread all the time that Iran “has taken over Iraq”, or that Iran “occupies and controls the Iraqi government”, a lie that Western “analysts” also reinforce when they pretend to be worried about “Iraq’s sovereignty”. What they fail to understand is that Iraq and Iran are intertwined in ways they cannot comprehend because of their poor knowledge of history. We are intertwined because we share several thousands of years of common history and a vast majority of Iraqis share the same faith with Iranians. Holy religious sites of Shia’s are in both Iran and Iraq and both populations frequently travel in the hundreds of thousands across the borders to make pilgrimage. We do not have the Western view on sovereignty and nationalism as conditioned by Western politicians and “think tanks”, for example an Iraqi can still be a patriot and love Ayatollah Khamenei – this does NOT make him or her an “Iranian puppet” Ayatollah Khamenei is a Marja (Grand Ayatollah) of Shia Islam – and together with Iraq’s Marja Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani they hold sway over many Shia Muslim’s hearts rather like how the Pope holds sway over Catholics, but you don’t see anyone calling a devout Catholic “the Pope’s puppet! People like Hassan Nasrallah are not following Khamenei because they are his puppets but because they view Khamenei as their spiritual mentor.
Thus Shiism transcends national borders because the concept of nation is a Western invention, not ours. So, when the IRGC, falsely translated as the “Iranian Revolutionary Guards” when it should be Islamic Revolutionary Guards, have a presence in Iraq, they are not doing so as the representatives of Iran, but as the representatives of Islam, no matter if they are Iranian by birth. Besides, they are invited by the Iraqi government, which makes their presence legal by international standards as well.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi parliament voted unanimously to expel US troops from Iraq on Sunday, a most welcomed decision. During that same parliament session PM Adil Abdul Mahdi revealed that he was used by Washington to commit the murder on Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. Washington had asked Iraq to mediate with Iran. The Iraqi PM asked Qassem Soleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer of his mediation, Trump & co then assassinated the envoy at the airport- I don’t need to even go into detail how criminal and evil this cowardly way of murdering a diplomatic envoy is.
In response to the vote, Trump – told reporters on Sunday that “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build, long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it”, – extortion and holding Iraq hostage seems to be the best response Washington can come up with.
“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.” he continued.
Trump also doubled down on his threat to wipe out Iranian cultural sites in retaliation for potential future attacks from Tehran, which has vowed to avenge the assassination of its top general, Qassem Soleimani, by the US.
Accusing Iran of “torturing” and “maiming” American soldiers in suicide attacks and by planting roadside bombs, Trump hinted that attacks on US troops justify potential war crimes – the destruction of a nation’s cultural heritage.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.”
These are all the rantings of a very sick individual who has no understanding of diplomacy and politics. Trump is making enemies faster than anyone in history with his sick threats. If Washington thinks that the situation now is bad, what do they think would happen if Trump decides to bomb Iran’s cultural sites? If he bombs Persepolis then every single Iranian would be an enemy of the US, including the Monarchists and the MEK terrorists as sites such as Persepolis are beloved by ALL Iranians. Even worse would be to strike the Shrine of Imam Reza in Mahshad, then he has declared war on all of Islam and I can guarantee that even the Saudis would fume with rage. Someone pointed out in my latest article that I am “very naïve” for failing to see that Trump apparently is playing some form of a 100 dimensional chess game with the Neocons and Pentagon – a laughable claim in my opinion as I find it hard to believe that this “absolute genius” man-child who speaks like someone suffering from mental retardation, somehow has such an IQ that he is fooling everyone in the Pentagon, Washington and the powerful Israel lobby.
Washington’s refusal to leave was not unexpected because when has Washington willingly ever left any country it has occupied? Iraqis expected this refusal, which explains why Muqtada Al-Sadr has decided to remobilize his Mahdi Army (Jaysh Al-Mahdi), and why the PMU has warned Iraqi Security forces to stay at least 1 km away from the US bases and embassy.
Iraq could be on the brink of a violent showdown with the US occupiers in their struggle to free themselves from the yoke of Washington’s terror. I believe that Muqtada Al-Sadr’s call for the closure of the US embassy is also something noteworthy since it takes the call for the expulsion of US forces even further – Iraqis want the Terrorist Empire completely gone from their country, just like Iran managed to expel them 40 years ago.
Finally – I would like to share the speech of Soleimani’s daughter: