Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On Iran, And Declaring The IRG and Quds Forces "Terrorists"

Being away from the computer for the last few days has left me in the embarrassing position of playing catch-up with the news. While Thomas alluded to it in passing last night, I had to go in search of it today. Two sources picked up this story. Today, Ralph Peters @ the NY Post noted it, but only in an effort to rub the media's nose int he fact they completely ignored it. Captain Ed Morrissey was the other source, and he provided the link to the WaPo story:

The United States has decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a "specially designated global terrorist," according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances.

The Bush administration has chosen to move against the Revolutionary Guard Corps because of what U.S. officials have described as its growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East, the sources said. The decision follows congressional pressure on the administration to toughen its stance against Tehran, as well as U.S. frustration with the ineffectiveness of U.N. resolutions against Iran's nuclear program, officials said.

The designation of the Revolutionary Guard will be made under Executive Order 13224, which President Bush signed two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to obstruct terrorist funding. It authorizes the United States to identify individuals, businesses, charities and extremist groups engaged in terrorist activities. The Revolutionary Guard would be the first national military branch included on the list, U.S. officials said -- a highly unusual move because it is part of a government, rather than a typical non-state terrorist organization.

The order allows the United States to block the assets of terrorists and to disrupt operations by foreign businesses that "provide support, services or assistance to, or otherwise associate with, terrorists."

While highly unusual, this makes sense. We know that other groups int he region, such as Hezbollah, is a recognized part of Iran's military forces. While they do get training and support from Iran, they also receive help through front-charities that advertise their assistance of "refugees" in the region when in fact the money is being funneled to organizations like Hezbollah.

Does this set a precedent that could be dangerous? Sort of. The Geneva Convention is explicit in the designation of regular and irregular forces. The IRG is a uniformed, formally-recognized military under the direct command of officers supported and recognized by the regime in Tehran. They are not terrorists. However, as this is set in place to befuddle and constrain any sort of business interests the IRG, even fronted by the diplomatic auspice of Iran, may have it is highly unlikely that too many will throw a fit over this. That is, unless you are in Tehran.

This is a tactic in economic warfare. We know that Iran is on the ropes right now with their economy. They are facing gas rationing, and a slow, steady collapse of their economy. The IRG, in pursuing business interests abroad, would bring much-needed currency and investors into Iran. But with this Executive Order, we can throw a roadblock in their path.

Make no mistake, we are at war with Iran, but as of now the only blood shed has been our own. The time will come when the gloves will come off, but if we can bring the Islamic Republic to its knees through economic pressure, it might prove to be enough of a destabilizing effort that could lead to a coup or civil war there. The dissident movement cannot be discounted, and right now they are our greatest asset over there. The wise commander knows when and how to avoid a fight. With this move, I believe the president has done just that.



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