It is heartening that the Trump Administration is considering officially designating the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), writes US. Colonel Wes Martin who served as the first senior antiterrorism officer for all Coalition Forces in Iraq.
For several years, a faction of the IRGC, the Qods Force, has held the FTO title, Col. Martin wrote on Tuesday for Forbes.
The Quds Force’s parent organization, he pointed out, has eluded designation by the U.S. State Department, adding that this defies logic, especially considering that Iran’s regime has long since been recognized by the U.S. as the number one nation-state sponsor of terrorism.
“It is high time to reflect this reality in policy; with every day that the U.S. stalls, a sophisticated training corps run by the IRGC churns out a new batch of elite fighters aimed at destabilizing the region and sowing terror worldwide,” Martin wrote.
“This past month, the leading Iranian opposition group, MeK, exposed fourteen terrorist training camps being run in Iran by the IRGC.”
He pointed out that the IRGC shows signs of ramping up full-spectrum terrorist training.
“The curriculum includes religious indoctrination, bomb making and emplacement, suicide bombing, assassination, kidnapping, fundraising, black market opportunities, basic structure-engineering, avoiding detection from law enforcement, sleeper cell operations and everything else possible to destroy western civilization. The IRGC is already benefiting from fifteen years of battle-damage assessments of attacks on and by American forces in Iraq. Furthermore, the Iraqi army has passed on to the IRGC all the training it received from the American military.”
“Unlike typical academia, graduates of the IRGC School of Terrorism will not walk down the aisle, accept their diplomas, and go out on their own into the world to find employment. Their permanent employer will be the government of Iran. Whether they are sent to combat to further enhance their skills or be placed into sleeper status until activation at a later date, only death will release them from their contractual obligations.”
Martin added that the ultimate battlegrounds in the War on Terrorism will be Western Europe and North America.
“Avenues of approach have already been embedded through porous borders and covert extremist plots. Attacks will become more complex, more deadly, and will involve multiple cells attacking several targets at the same time.”
As the senior antiterrorism officer for all coalition forces in Iraq, I witnessed the advanced technology the Qods Force and the IRGC was providing to our Shia and Sunni adversaries. Because Iran totally subscribes to the concept of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” we were on the receiving end of research and development coming out of Iran’s weapons laboratories.
In light of this overwhelming threat, many wonder why the State Department continues to stall on an official terrorist designation for the IRGC. Unfortunately, the Department’s track record shows that its FTO list has become more as a political tool than an accurate portrayal of threats to the United States and its citizens. Case and point is the on-going willful failure to assign terrorist status to Iraqi rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr’s Mahdi Army despite the overwhelming evidence that his organization killed hundreds of American service members in Iraq and pledges to kill more.
State Department finally recognized that Iran was advancing its nuclear weapons development program when Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), the primary resistance organization to Tehran’s religious fundamentalists, exposed the covert operation to the world. Instead of condemning the regime, State Department’s solution was to negotiate. For a promise from Iran to cease the nuclear development operations, the Obama Administration agreed to ease sanctions and release $150-billion in frozen assets.
Lifting of the sanctions was a political victory for Iran. Pressure from the Iranian population was reduced and Tehran proved its ability to out-negotiate Washington. The $150-billion windfall has been quickly put to use. Iran has been able to provide more funding and weapons to the civil wars in Syria and Yemen. The nuclear weapons research has not stopped in Iran any more than it stopped in North Korea following its nuclear weapons negotiations with the Clinton Administration.
Terrorist organizations determine when and where they will attack. They only have to be successful part of the time. As subjects of the attacks, we must continuously keep our defenses up. As proven by previous administration’s failure to properly address the rise of ISIS, denying the intensity of a problem allows it to grow. It is time for President Trump to mandate that the State Department designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, and to treat it accordingly.