by Jonathan Azaziah
Some Martyrs are known because their presences are so towering, so gigantic, that no world, dimension or universe can hold their achievements, goodness and importance–like Hajj “Redwan” Imad Mughniyeh (R.A.) or Hajj Moustafa “Sayyed Zulfiqar” Badreddine (R.A.) Others are known because they went out in blazes of glory unlike anything before them or after them–like Ali “Bilal” Saleh (R.A.), the Merkava Myth Destroyer, or Hussnayn al-Sa’adi (R.A.), the Human Gun Turret. There are those whose departures leave a void in the planet’s flow of knowledge, because what flowed from their blessed minds was of unparalleled rank–like Ayatollah Dr. Sayyed Muhammad Hosseini Beheshti (R.A.) Then there are some who just hit you on a personal level… Right in the heart… Because not only do they possess all of the aforesaid qualities in one form or another, there is also the fact that the beginnings they rose from were so humble… That you can’t help but feel humbled yourself just by virtue of knowing who they are and how they ascended. One such Shahid is Gholamhosayn Afshordi, better known as Major General Hassan Bagheri (R.A.), a pioneer, commander and founding father of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who was martyred on this day 36 years ago.
Hassan was born in absolute destitution in Tehran on March 16th, 1956, which happened to be the exact date as Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) birthday on the Islamic calendar. The horrors of the Shah’s oppression and decadence were an everyday reality for his family, with the crippling, excruciating poverty preventing them from getting healthy foods and attaining proper medicine. He was a frail and sickly baby, contracting pneumonia multiple times, diphtheria and pertussis early on, yet somehow mustering up the will power to defeat them all. With the help of some Godwary neighbors, his family took him to the maqam of Imam Hussein (A.S.) when he was just two years old. Though he was just a baby, the event had such an impact on him that he never forgot the warmth or the Nour of being inside the shrine with Sayyed al-Shouhada (A.S.) It led him to a path of religious devotion and Islamic Resistance. He would end up having a terribly difficult time in school but when it came to Qur’an, Hadith, Islamic history and anti-colonialism, his mind lit up like firewood touched by a flamethrower. He also would take time away from his basic high school studies to attend the lectures of the aforementioned Dr. Beheshti (R.A.), which only invigorated his growing revolutionary fervor in a greater way.
In desperate need to help his family out of the penury that was only worsening under the Shah’s corrupt regime, he decided to complete his basic schooling and make his way to Western Azerbaijan’s Urmia University where he’d try to pursue a career in breeding goats or chickens. But again, his mind was too zoned in on what wasn’t just boiling in Iran’s underbelly. It was now exploding all over the country and at every single level too: Imam Khomeini’s (R.A.) Islamic Revolution. It was gaining. Growing. Swelling. Chewing at the very pillars of the Shah’s regime. How could he focus on animal husbandry when the very future of the Iranian people was at stake? How could he try and get a degree when every thought in his mind was screeching to join the representative of Imam Hussein (A.S.) against the Yazid (L.A.) of his time? The answer is obviously that he couldn’t. And he wouldn’t have to either. Because after just 17 months at Urmia University, he was kicked out for his awful GPA and was insulted on his way out by the pro-Shah dean who told him he was lazy, stupid and wouldn’t ever amount to anything. He felt low. Angry. Hopeless. Only his love for Aba Abadallah (A.S.) got him through those most horrific and debilitating moments.
Following his expulsion from college, he did what nearly all impoverished Tehrani young men did during that time: He joined the military. Whilst training, he made contact with other young Khomeiniists and began to register cracks in the Shah’s defense apparatuses. Before he could capitalize on his growing success however, the order came in from the Imam (R.A.) for all soldiers loyal to the Islamic Revolution to abandon their garrisons before they were found out. Sayyed Ruhollah’s (R.A.) instincts, of course, were right on the money, as Pahlavi the Puke’s (L.A.) goons began executing anyone that they even SUSPECTED of having Anti-Zionist, Anti-Imperialist and Khomeiniist sympathies. Hassan escaped. Yet again, just like when he was a baby, ALLAH (SWT) protected him from the viruses of the devils and preserved him for his greater purpose that he’d soon fulfill.
Upon Imam Khomeini’s (R.A.) return to Iran and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Bagheri bounced around various occupations because he was just so enamored with the revolutionary fire burning in the hearts and souls of his brethren countrywide. He didn’t know where exactly he belonged. So he worked as an officer in the Ministry of Interior’s Islamic Revolution Committee then bounced over to studying human sciences at Tehran University, where he also tried his hand at law. This didn’t satiate him spiritually or revolutionarily though, leading him to take up journalism next. The latest endeavor brought him to the trenches in Lebanon where giants like Hajj Ahmad Motevaselian (may he be returned to us soon) and Dr. Moustafa Chamran (R.A.) were training young Lebanese guerrillas to fight the ‘Israeli’ enemy. He spent time with the Palestinian Resistance and even met Hajj Imad Mughniyeh (R.A.), who told him that it was here — i.e. on the battlefield — where he belonged and that his weapon was his mind, not a reporter’s pen.
After 15 days in the Bekaa and the Jnoub as well as a layover in Jordan, Bagheri returned home to Iran. He couldn’t get Mughniyeh’s (R.A.) profound observation out of his head. And upon touching down, he finally came to realize what Hajj Redwan’s (R.A.) words meant: He was supposed to be in war zones and operations rooms, yes, but not as a mere soldier. He was supposed to think outside the box. Asymmetrically. Irregularly. Not like an army-man. More like a Guardsman. An Islamic Revolutionary Guardsman. A warrior in the Muhammadi-Husseini tradition coupled with the reclamation of the Mouqawamist spirit that Imam Khomeini (R.A.) exemplified. He needed to think beyond borders. Beyond conventional doctrines. Beyond imperialist-mandated norms. Like the Asiatic Cheetah was meant to hunt the black-tailed gazelle. Like the Common Nightingale was meant to chirp away at the stars. Gholamhosayn Afshordi aka Hassan Bagheri (R.A.) was meant to be a moujahid.
What makes his ascension through the ranks so spectacular is that it happened on the fly and under the fog of war. The Islamic Revolution was still in its infancy when Saddam Hussein (L.A.), on the orders of Washington, “Tel Aviv”, Britain and Saudi Arabia along with help from the godless Soviet Union, invaded and aimed to put down everything Imam Khomeini (R.A.) had built. Like the Imam (R.A.) himself, Bagheri slept barely slept two hours a night. His mind never stopped racing and just when he thought he had hit maximum mental speed, the synapses in his resistant brain accelerated even faster. He wasn’t just exceptional. He wasn’t just gifted. He was angelic. In the three short years that he was a Guardsman, as the Imposed War raged, he went from grunt to Major General and Commander of numerous game-changing operations. He founded the IRGC’s war room, its combat organization and its stealth tactics group. He also birthed the Military Maps Unit, a group of brilliant geographers that analyzed battlefield layouts Islamically as well as strategically, allowing the young men who would ultimately emerge on the grounds of these arenas to visualize the steps of our Imams (A.S.) and our Saints (R.A.) when pursuing the enemy.
He founded and commanded the real-time intelligence units that ran parallel with all war operations and sat on the central committee as a main planner and designer of all ops. Bagheri was also the founder of the War Document Archives, also known as the Archives of the Hizbullahi Moujahideen–this was of special importance to him because by early 1982, he was having constant dreams of imminent martyrdom, a phenomenon that was said to be felt by many young heroes of the IRGC, and he wanted more than anything for their sacrifices to be remembered, learnt in universities, internalized by the next generation of moujahideen and celebrated. He founded several military media units that specialized in translation, including Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Urdu and others. The IRGC’s region identification unit, surveillance squads and ultra-vital interrogate-and-convert unit–which focused on not simply turning enemy soldiers into assets but forging their spirits so they’d serve the Islamic Revolution as General Hurr (R.A.) would go on to serve Imam Hussein (A.S.)–were also Bagheri’s babies. The Quds Force too bears his founding signature. Subhan’ALLAH.
In terms of operations, Samen-ol-A’emeh, Tariq al-Qods, Fath ol-Mobin, Ramadan, Moharram and the grand-mack-daddy of them all, Beit ol-Moqaddas–which liberated Khorramshahr, sent Saddam’s men packing back onto their side of the border, exposed the deep-rooted US-‘Israeli’ role in the “Iraqi” camp and truly saved the Islamic Revolution from the jaws of death–all were masterminded by Bagheri. Indeed, he was the Commander or Deputy Commander of record on every single one of these missions.
All IRGC legends–and a great many enemies of the Islamic Revolution as well–openly say that there was no greater strategist than Hassan Bagheri (R.A.) All independent military analysts agree further that the Imposed War would have gone an entirely different way had this heavenly powerhouse of an individual not been at the helm. He achieved martyrdom whilst leading Operation Dawn in the city of Fakkeh in Iran’s Khuzestan. His comrade Commander Abdul Majid Baghaei (R.A.) was martyred with him. They were targeted by mortars after the American regime passed satellite coordinates to Saddam’s thugs that revealed their locations. It is said that the IRGC founding father was still screaming orders at his men and shooting at the enemy as he took his final breaths, departed this world and finally reunited with our master, Aba Abdallah (A.S.) ALLAHU Akbar.
What Major General Hassan Bagheri (R.A.) achieved in just 26 years on God’s Green Earth, with only a handful of those years being in the pilot’s seat of the IRGC, is Herculean beyond Herculean. Now remember what he was told by the Shahi university administrator who told him he’d never accomplish anything. One wonders what that collaborationist miscreant would say now.
Long live Hassan Bagheri! The man rescued the Islamic Revolution and laid the foundation for an institution, the IRGC, that has led the imposition of defeat on Dajjal in Lebanon (thrice), Gaza, Iraq, Syria, (allegedly) Yemen and of course, Iran itself. The man who was called “lazy” and “stupid” turned out to be relentless and a military genius perhaps only rivaled by his then-contemporary and now-one-true-successor, Hajj Qassem Suleimani. The man who was meant to die as a baby because of the ungodly conditions he was born into… lives. He LIVES to this very moment in every IRGC commando and IRGC-trained moujahid who risk their well-beings in the ongoing battle against Zio-Imperialism. Hassan Bagheri conquered poverty and conquered the Empire. We would say rest in power but after chronicling all of your achievements… We know all too well that “rest” is something that you just don’t do. There are too many victories still left to be won. And with your guidance… Win them, we will. Insha’ALLAH khair. Labaykah ya Gholamhusayn (R.A.)!