Iraq’s military is fighting back ISIS under the guidance of “The Fearless”

After a lightning-fast summer assault by ISIS that saw most of Iraq fall into their hands, the country’s military is now fighting back and has won a string of symbolic victories. In military circles, the central figure credited for this achievements is one Iraninan general, in time while Iraq’s leaders insist it is their army on the offensive, in reality the victories are being won by a powerful Iranian general – the ‘fearless’ Qassem Suleimani. He was a shadow for a long time.

Refusing to wear a bullet-proof vest on the front lines, and with his motto ‘death is the beginning of life, not the end’, he has inspired Iraqi troops to victory where the government has failed.

As ISIS militants retreated from the town of Jurf al-Sakher last week, relinquishing their hold for the first time since August, Qassem Suleimani was credited with the victory, according to military sources.

Militia commanders said that dozens of advisers from Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were on the front lines in Jurf al-Sakher.

For years Qassem Suleimani has been Iran’s secret covert-ops puppet master. Why has he suddenly stepped out of the shadows?

They said the men provided weapons training to some 7,000 Iraqi troops and militia fighters and coordinated with military commanders ahead of the operation.

One commander, who agreed to be identified only by his nickname, Abu Zeinab, said Qassem Suleimani began planning the Jurf al-Sakher operation three months ago.

In Amirli in August and in Samarra in June, top officials say Qassem Suleimani was on hand, pacing along with the Iraqi troops, and using his tactical abilities to drive the Islamic State militants back into the desert.

A top Kurdish official even suggested that Qassem Suleimani and his crack Quds Revolutionary Guard force were on hand to help them defend their capital city Irbil from waves of ISIS fighters this summer.

Iraqi military officials declined to discuss Qassem Suleimani’s presence in Jurf al-Sakher, or in previous victories where he is known to have played a commanding role.

There have also been reports that, fighting alongside Suleimani, troops from the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah have also been involved.

Powerful Shiite militias have also sided with Qassem Suleimani and Hezbollah and have helped to drive Islamic State away from the so-called Baghdad belt – a ring of villages surrounding the Iraqi capital.

These achievements will for sure boost morale of Iraqi troops and increase their efforts to deal with ISIS and so-called Islamic State.

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