For decades one Iranian commander dominated the brutal struggle for power and influence across the Middle East. Who was General Soleimani? tells the extraordinary story of the recently assassinated Major General Qassem Soleimani with first-hand accounts of his secret deals and shifting alliances across Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

During the Iraq War Soleimani smuggled thousands of sophisticated bombs into the country arming the Shia militias who killed hundreds of British and American troops. But just a few years later the western coalition found themselves on the same side as Soleimani as they both fought to defeat the Islamic State. “We saw Soleimani as a very capable, charismatic, skilled, professionally competent, diabolically evil human being” says General David Petraeus, who was head of US forces in Iraq.

US Diplomat Ryan Crocker called him “the Darth Vader of contemporary middle eastern politics". Soleimani was a figure who operated in the shadows. But since the defeat of ISIS in Iraq, he had taken centre stage in Iran’s strategic ambitions. Had Iran’s military mastermind been preparing for a new conflict with the west in the region?

Credits (Click to expand)

Written and Reported By

JANE CORBIN

Director of Photography

NEIL HARVEY

Archive

AP ARCHIVE

KHAMEINI.IR

SCREENOCEAN/REUTERS

SHUTTERSTOCK

SVERIGES TELEVISION AB

JAMAWAR TV

Archive Producer

STUART ROBERTSON

Colourist

ANDY ELLIOTT

Online Editor

MIKE GREEN

Dubbing Mixer

KATE DAVIS

Graphics

MEDIOTO

Producer and Director of Photography Iraq

JOSH BAKER

Location Producer

FAZEL HAWRAMY

Producer Israel

OREN ROSENFELD

Production Team

HARRY BARKER

SHANE FENNELLY

DAMILOLA MABADEJE

Production Coordinators

GABRIELLE WAKEFIELD

TOBY KEELEY

Production Managers

HALIMA OTTWAY

SUSAN GRANDISON

Film Editor

ADAM RICHARDSON

Produced and Directed by

SASHA JOELLE ACHILLI

this world

Executive Producers

SARAH WALDRON

SAM BAGNALL

BBC

Current Affairs Production

©BBC MMXIX