Friday, August 31, 2007


IRGC: Iran’s Old Dogs

David Johnson - 8/30/2007

You can’t teach old dogs new tricks; so the saying goes. This tired cliché’seems to fit the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) very well. The organization, scorned by majority of Iranians as the “rabid dogs of ayatollahs”, has been unwilling to be domesticated, no matter how delicious the incentive.

The IRGC’s top commander, Rahim Safavi, has repeatedly threatened the United States, Israel , Arab and Muslim states, andinternational shipping lanes with violence. Increased, tangible interference in Iraq ’s affairs has been repeatedly and consistently attributed totheIRGC by the United States Army and the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

As aresult,reports indicate the Administration of the President of the UnitedStatesintends to designate the IRGC a Specially Designated Global Terrorist(SDGT)organization.

Also known as the Pasdaran-e Enqelab, meaning the Guardians ofRevolution,the IRGC was established May 5, 1979 . Its purpose remains the same. It is an organization created to protect the Iranian Revolution, which in reality is meant to shield the theocratic regime first and foremost from domestic opponents.

Inside Iran and out, the IRGC wrote the book on terror tactics. Experienced in hunting down dissidents at home, assassinating dissidents on foreign soil, organizing insurgencies across the Middle East and recruiting suicide bombers to murder United Nation’s peace keepers, the IRGC is master of asymmetric warfare.

It would be naïve to pretend the IRGC achieved so much skill in their craft without practice. Preceding the Iran-Iraq War, a war in which many brave Iranian school children and teen-agers were senselessly slaughtered in human wave attacks by the suicidal orders of IRGC leaders,the IRGC conducted a thorough purge of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian detractors.

From its very inception the IRGC has ambitiously murdered its opposition lowering the bar to guarantee the clerics always stay on top.

The way to understand the IRGC is to see them through the lens of what the organization has done since 1979. Looking at them that way, policy makers can see the old dogs of the IRGC are an effect of the Iran ’s ruling theocracy, not the cause of it. The entire notion of the Iranian Revolution as an Islamic Revolution did not gain its momentum until just several months before the revolution succeeded.

The IRGC does not support a single tenet of the Iranian Revolution; popular sovereignty and freedom. The Islamic component was made a permanent feature shortly after Khomeini’s usurped the revolution with a brutal consolidation of power.

The “government of the oppressed and the poor” was making a killing, literarily, fulfilling its claim when in 1992 and 1993 unleashed the full might of the Revolutionary Guards and its paramilitary offshoot, the Bassij, to crush a series of riots by poverty stricken residents of many cities in Iran .

In August 1994, the Economist reported that the clerical regime responded to the four-day long riots in northern town of Qazvin by pounding the city mercilessly by air and land.

The 1995 riot in of Islamshar, an impoverished suburb in south of Tehran , was similarly put down where locals reported the IRGC and Bassij had killed nearly 100 of the residents. Since then popular riots and uprising have met a similar response from the regime and its Guardians, the IRGC.

In the midst of student-led uprising in 1999 which shook the clerical regime to its foundations, 24 senior commanders of the IRGC threatened to take matters into their own hands. “Our patience is at an end. We do not feel itis our duty to show any more tolerance,” they wrote in a letter, declaring their readiness to completely crush the students and thousands of ordinary people who had joined them.

A day later, Khatami abided by the IRGC’sdemandand completed the crackdown of protestors.

The IRGC have muscled their way into power using religion as one of many weapons in their expanding arsenal. Islam and Allah, to the IRGC, are about recruiting and maintaining organizational cohesion.

In so doing, they have taken Allah hostage. The IRGC have made Allah their slave here on earth. Ithas been said that Iran ’s President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, a former commanderof the IRGC, appears to “worship the bomb more than he’s worshipping God in heaven”.

It is wrong to categorize institutionalized religious hegemony as worship. With their suicidal tendencies, blatant lies and ruthless tactics Mahmood Ahmadinejad and the IRGC corrupt the concept of spiritual faith for all religions including Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The IRGC is an Iranian junta which is key to survival of the theocratic government of Iran . Adding the IRGC to the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations is an important step in the campaign for Middle East stability. Designating the IRGC terrorist will accomplish three important goals.

First, it will demonstrate to the IRGC and people of Iran that the United States sees the former as an enemy and the latter as an ally. Second,it will authorize the United States to take economic action against the IRGC. Third, it is an essential step to protect Iraqi sovereignty in the near and long term, as the IRGC are the most likely and most able organization in the region to interfere with all levels of Iraqi

A)religious expression,

B) security operations and

C) government policy.

In some ways, designating the IRGC terrorist is even more effective than branding the Iranian regime a member of “axis of evil” since this designation triggers specific and practical financial, political, and legal measures against the primary operator and spine of Tehran ’s rogue regime. It is time to put Iran ’s Revolutionary Guard dogs on a short leash.

David Johnson currently serves as the Director of Operations of the U.S.Alliance for Democratic Iran. He has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Front Page Magazine, Intellectual Conservative and AmericanDaily.

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