Qasem Soleimani nicknamed by some as the shadow commander and the living martyr, born 11 March 1957) is the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which conducts special operations outside Iran.
According to Western sources, although he has maintained a low profile, Soleimani has been very influential in building up the capacity of Hezbollah, shaping the post-war political landscape in Iraq, and turning around the Syrian civil war—driving opposition forces from strategic points as well as containing the expansion of ISIS. He is listed by the United States government as a “terrorist”, and has been described as “both hated and admired” by his adversaries. He is widely credited with delivering the strategy that has helped President Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns.
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran, calls him “the living martyr”. Suleimani is not a cautious commander. He believes that offense is the best defense. Those who know him describe him as a man who says little and accomplishes much. “He’s a deep strategic thinker, but believes he should be a martyr” for Iran’s Islamic revolution, according to Mowwafak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s former national security adviser, who has met Gen. Soleimani three times in Tehran in recent years. He has held commands in a plethora of wars & conflicts stretching across the entire region over a third of a century (from 1980–present) of service as a simple soldier, officer and finally as an “elusive spymaster”.