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Why Is Trump Designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps As Foreign Terrorist Organization?

Published: April 8, 2019
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Source: moon of alabama

designated the Quds Force for its "support of terrorism". It also sanctioned several enterprises that are connected to the IRGC. It is totally unclear what the designation of the IRCG as a whole is supposed to achieve. It could be a symbolic move or, as some assume, a step towards a war on Iran:

Former Under-Secretary of State and lead Iran negotiator, Wendy Sherman, said she worried about implications for U.S. forces.

“One might even suggest, since it’s hard to see why this is in our interest, if the president isn’t looking for a basis for a conflict,” said Sherman, who is director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. “The IRGC is already fully sanctioned and this escalation absolutely endangers our troops in the region.”

Mohammad al Shabani lists additional reasons:

Mohammad Ali Shabani @mashabani - 14:36 utc - 8 Apr 2019

THREAD. Usual suspects pushed Trump to designate #IRGC as FTO. Why?
- Constrain Trump’s deal-making instincts
- Box in next US president on Iran (Dems say will rejoin JCPOA)
- Force Lebanon/Iraq into picking between Iran/US
- Force Europe to further cut whatever meager outreach
- provoke Iran to scrap JCPOA 
- and, ideally, initiate military confrontation

Colonel Pat Lang likewise presumes that the move is an attempt to provoke a war:

The AUMF on terrorism has been used far and wide as a hunting license to attack any armed group that could even distantly be thought a terrorist enemy. The anti-terrorism AUMF makes such attacks legal under US law.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) is a law passed after the 9/11 attack that allows the president:

to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.

In an October 2017 speech President Trump accused Iran of having supported and harbored al-Qaeda:

Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and two years later, killing 224 people, and wounding more than 4,000 others.

The regime harbored high-level terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden’s son. In Iraq and Afghanistan, groups supported by Iran have killed hundreds of American military personnel.

Trump's accusations agaimst Iran are false. Iran had nothing to do with the bombing in Kenya. After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan some family members of al-Qaeda leaders fled to Iran. They were put under house arrests and were held as hostages to prevent al-Qaeda operations against Iran.

But the facts will not matter. The designation of the IRGC as "foreign terrorist" will likely make the AUMF relevant, at least under U.S. law.

Pat Lang continues:

The official designation as "terrorist" of the IRGC which is a 125000 man army with its own navy and air force makes it legal for the US Armed Forces to attack the IRGC and its people wherever they are found and under any circumstances that may occur. It is a declaration of war.

The neocon nitwits (Pompeo, Bolton, Hannah, etc.) may think that Iran's reaction to this declaration of war will be submission to their will but IMO that is very unlikely. IMO it is more likely that the IRGC will absorb the new reality and will prepare for war with the US.

Iran and its military have long prepared for war with the United States. There will be no change in anything that its military will do.

The first and probably only retaliatory step Iran will take is to designate the U.S. military as a terrorist entity:

"If the Revolutionary Guards are placed on America's list of terrorist groups, we will put that country's military on the terror blacklist next to Daesh (Islamic State)," Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, head of parliament's national security committee, said on Twitter.

Iran has so far shown restraint whenever the U.S. tried to goad it into a fight. It has left U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq untouched even while the U.S. and Israel attacked Iranian elements. It will not react militarily to Trump's latest provocation.

The designation of the IRGC and the counterdesignation of the U.S. military might have some tricky legal consequences. Will sailors of a U.S. Navy ship that unintentionally enters Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf and gets caught be held as terrorists? Will former conscripts of the IRGC who want to travel to the States receive a visa?

Should the U.S. attack IRGC forces abroad, Iran will likely respond by asking its foreign proxy forces, like the Hashd al-Shahbi militias in Iraq, to attack U.S. forces abroad.

Should the U.S. attack IRGC forces within Iran's borders then all bets are off. There are plenty of U.S. bases and installations in the Middle East that can be reached by Iranian missiles.

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