It is now being revealed that Trump’s order to take down Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was not just meant to eliminate him but also a key Iranian military general in Yemen too. While there are no clear reports over the death of Mr. Abdul Reza Shahlai, the group’s commander in Yemen, some media agencies have taken a confirmed comment from the Trump administration that indicated that Shahlai is still alive.
The order for assassinations was a way for the Trump administration to roll back Iran’s influence in the region and squelch Tehran’s nuclear program as well. it is now clear that Trump administration was purposefully targeting Gen. Soleimani and Mr. Shahlai. While the former ran the overseas wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps known as the Quds Force, the latter was Yemen’s group commander.
But hitting Iran’s key military personnel, the U.S. aimed at the linkage between Tehran and the proxy forces it has been conveniently using to expand its influence and destabilize governments in the region.
Like Soleimani, Shahlai too has been seen by U.S. security analysts as a significant figure in Iran’s regional ambitions, especially in Yemen.
It is a known fact that Iran has been coming into limelight for funneling arms and providing other support to the Houthi rebel movement, which seized the Yemeni capital Sana’a in 2014 and has been fighting a civil war against a Saudi-led coalition. Despite an arms embargo, Iran has continued to fuel the civil war in Yemen, adding to the worst humanitarian crises the world has ever faced.
Like Soleimani, Shahla was considered as the ‘man on the Yemeni grounds’ for Iran. It is, therefore, no surprise that he is already on the designated list of terrorists in many countries.
The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Shahlai in 2008 and did put him under their “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”. The European Union, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have also followed suit. Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, has shared with the media that the U.S. was willing to offer up to $15 million for information on Shahlai’s activities, networks, and associates.
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