The Assassination of Qasim Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis: National and Regional Consequences

Hosted by the Middle East Centre



Toby Dodge

Toby Dodge


Dina Esfandiary

Dina Esfandiary


Patrick Porter

Patrick Porter

University of Birmingham


Ghoncheh Tazmini

Ghoncheh Tazmini

LSE Middle East Centre

 soleimani muhandis 2000x1300

This event will explore the fallout of the recent murders of Qasim Soleimani, Commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the senior commander of al-Hashd al-Shaabi and the founder of Kata'ib Hezbollah.

The assassination, on 2 January 2020, of Qasim Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis has thrown Iraqi and wider regional politics into turmoil. Soleimani was one of the most senior figures controlling Iranian foreign policy. Al-Muhandis, as the senior military commander in al-Hashd al-Shaabi, wielded as much if not more influence in Iraq than any other government figure.

The speakers will discuss the likely regional and Iraqi fallout from their murders, how Soleimani’s death will influence Iranian power projection across the region, what retaliatory moves Iran is likely to undertake, the ramifications for Iraqi politics and security and how the ongoing protest movement will be affected.

Toby Dodge is Kuwait Professor and Director of the Kuwait Programme at the LSE Middle East Centre. He is also Professor in the Department of International Relations. Toby currently serves as Iraq Research Director for the DFID-funded Conflict Research Programme (CRP). From 2013–18, Toby was Director of the Middle East Centre. He has been visiting, researching and writing about Iraq for over twenty years and his main areas of research include the comparative politics and historical sociology of the Middle East, the politics of intervention, the evolution of the Iraqi state, state-society dynamics and political identities in Iraq.

Dina Esfandiary is a Director at Herminius and a Fellow in the Middle East department of The Century Foundation (TCF). Previously, she was an International Security Program Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and an Adjunct Fellow in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Middle East Program. Prior to this, she worked at the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) in the War Studies Department at King’s College London from February 2015, and in the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament programme of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London from October 2009. Dina is the co-author of Triple-Axis: Iran’s Relations with Russia and China, and Living on the Edge: Iran and the Practice of Nuclear Hedging. She is completing her PhD in the War Studies department at King’s College London.

Patrick Porter is Professor of International Security and Strategy at the University of Birmingham. He is also Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, London. His research interests are great power politics, US/UK foreign and defence policy, and the interaction of power and ideas in the making of them. His book Blunder: Britain's War in Iraq (Oxford University Press, 2018) was shortlisted for the British Army Military Book of the Year Prize, 2019. He has appeared as an expert witness before the parliamentary Defence Select Committee, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, and the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.

Ghoncheh Tazmini is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre. Formerly an Associate Member at the Centre for Iranian Studies at SOAS, where she was Iran Heritage Foundation Fellow, Ghoncheh conducts research on Iran-related themes as a British Academy grant-holder. She is currently researching Iranian-Russian alignment in the Middle East.

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Image: ©AP Photo/Nasser Nasser