To what extent former Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani’s spectacular demise at the hands of the Americans affected Iranian capabilities to hurt the United States and its allies is still debatable, but not so for the lessons of his fast-fading memory despite the Iranian regime’s efforts to maintain it.
Analyzing the contours of the memory of Soleimani clearly shows that most of the Iranian population is neither interested in his assassination nor in his “revolutionary” legacy.
As the general and mastermind of the most powerful force behind Iran’s export of its revolution and the creation of the Shi’ite crescent of proxy militias in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, his fading memory is clearly a reflection that Iran’s population does not support these policies and most probably the regime behind it.
These indelible and undisputed facts are drawn from an analysis of Google trends that record searches of terms and personalities. Searches on Google are not only a reflection of interest but in the popularity of the terms or personalities being searched.
By far the greatest indication of Soleimani’s scant popularity, dead or alive, lies in the relatively little interest he evokes in Iran itself compared to the arenas within which he operated.
Just over a half a year after Soleimani’s assassination, his bio was searched 50 time more often (relative to the population) in Lebanon than in Iran itself, and nearly 100 times more in Bahrain, where the Shi’ite majority chafes under a Sunni-minority regime backed to a hilt by Iran’s archrival, Saudi Arabia.
Not only does this reflect paltry identification with Soleimani in Iran as a whole, but the pattern of searches within Iran is problematic to the regime.
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