By Taha A. Lemkhir
The thirty minutes statement given by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month, in which he designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its ancillary Quds force as terrorist organizations has granted it the appellation of “Trump-Doctrine” by some commentators, which indicates the degree of firmness and determination similar to Jimmy Carter’s Doctrine aimed at the time to deter the Soviet Union from any attempt to gain control of the Persian Gulf region. It was a comprehensive and detailed account of the real criminal nature and function of the IRGC, stressing that no one should be “fooled” by the Corps’ legal posture as a legitimate military organization.
The decision to raise the IRGC to a terrorist organization rather than the lower-level of “support of terrorism” stripped the Mullahs of the deniability card and sent unequivocal message to Iran that it will be held accountable for any potential attacks on US troops and interests by its proxies which are commanded by the IRGC. That move, although long overdue, came after the realization that the death tolls that Iran has inflicted on the United States since the outbreak of the Islamic revolution in 1979, (including the killing of 603 US servicemen in Iraq only) are only going to escalate in the future as emboldened Iran has nurtured through the years a feeling of impunity and a firm belief that the best way to deter and neutralize the US is through conducting deadly attacks against its troops and interests.
In that statement one is able to see clearly that the US administration is putting in place an entirely new foreign policy with respect to the Iranian regime, after realizing the impossibility of a stable, peaceful Middle East without weakening the IRGC. The US officials had not only gathered a full and precise knowledge about the intrinsically destabilizing force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its prominent figures, its economical corruption and political role inside Iran, the entities that are dealing with it, and its training and funding of an enormous terrorist network of militant groups deployed in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen—but also and more importantly a deep understanding of its ideological impulses and its mystical background. Reconsidering the long-forgotten dogmatic elements upon which Ayatollah Khomaenie founded its theocratic empire provide a broader outlook into the regime’s dynamics, its mechanism of recruitment, and its fundamental mission.
The US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook made some interesting references to General Qasem Soleimani (the notorious commander of Quds force) who was quoted as saying in March 2009 “the battlefield is mankind’s lost paradise,” to indicate what he called the “death cult” that those barbaric trigger-happy generals of the IRGC cherish as their ultimate aspirations and highest wishes in life, adding that Soleimani while decorated by the Supreme Leader of Iran, the latter wished for him to drink the “sweet syrup of martyrdom.”
While writing this, I am hoping for a similar statement concerning the Muslim Brotherhood fate, which the US administration is not very far from designating it as a terrorist organization, too. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is structurally, socially, and politically more complex; they move in multiple directions and enjoy broader relations with major Western players at the international level, while having a well-established connections within the Western political and social system, in addition to the abundant financial and political support of some wealthy gulf countries—which may demand more time from the US administration to work its way through the internal process.
However, we now know that the US came to the conclusion that a groundbreaking approach to the Middle East must be implemented as the previous policy proved itself unworthy, if not counterproductive. Mr. Hook also acknowledged that the world for the last forty years was playing by the house (Iran) rules, adding that “when you play under house rules, the house always wins.”
Ending Iran’s reign of terror is the logical requirement to uproot terrorism by tackling the flashpoint from where it all began forty years ago with the outbreak of the Islamic revolution in 1979, and with it the constant thrive of Islamism (with its two versions—Sunni and Shiite) around the world. The Iranian regime was the first to use suicide attack as a weapon followed by the Muslim Brotherhood. The world will undoubtedly be much better place without those two entities.
It is also a significant blow to the think tank and research centers, lobbies groups, and media outlooks funded by Qatar and other patrons of Islamism whose propaganda efforts and charm offensives —that have been targeting prominent politicians “inside the Beltway” and academia— might have indeed failed to influence the White House decision or fool its leadership with fake and dishonest advises and analyses.
Any war with Iran cannot be compared to the Iraq invasion of 2003 as Mr. Javad Zarif is trying to convey in his nice-seeming interviews. While some are indulging themselves in the art of forging an abstract image of a group of hard-liners or in Mr. Zarif words “B group” to assimilate them with the Bush advisers in the run up to Iraq invasion, in Iran’s case they find in the National Security Adviser John Bolton the perfect scapegoat. Others, idiotically, took Trump’s pre-election pledge not to make “stupid wars” as carte blanche to rogue states to cause as much damage to the US interests without having to face any consequences.
Iran have indeed the unarguable capability and resolution to develop a nuclear weapon in a very short time; it conducts terrorist operations worldwide, promises the annihilation of Israel, sends assassins after dissidents in Europe and kills US citizens randomly. This is a far cry from what Saddam Hussein used to do.
Taha Lemkhir is a Moroccan writer and photographer. Degree in Arabic literature and Islamic studies. Critic of Islamism. languages: Arabic, English and Spanish. He Lived part of his life as an Islamist— until enlightenment flashed through his heart.