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Iran’s IRGC was always a Terrorist Organization, the Designation Rather Came Late.

On April 8th, the Trump administration announced its intention to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), otherwise known in Iran as the so-called ‘Islamic’ Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a terrorist organization, which led to heated debates on broadcast-media and on social media.

Whether the decision was right and whether it was sensible needs no further consideration. Yet the debate that followed needs to be addressed. Incidents that have taken place in the Middle East have to be considered along with their connection to the IRGC. Syria seems the appropriate conflict zone to start with.

In Syria, in 2011, a 13-year-old boy’s penis was cut off by the brutal Mukhabarat, which is the secret police of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The boy, Hamza Al-Khateeb, was returned to his family with his body mutilated. His head was swollen, purple and disfigured, and his body was a mass of welts, cigarette burns and wounds from bullets fired to injure, not to kill. Kneecaps smashed, neck broken, jaw shattered. The most brutal part of the torture was that, as mentioned earlier, his penis was cut off. After a video of his tortured-body was posted on YouTube, thousands of Syrians rallied and chanted “We Are All Hamza!”

The boy was among hundreds of children and teenagers who faced the same fate in the hands of Assad’s police and army, though it was the boy’s story that attracted more coverage at that the time.

As Iran’s leaders always try to portray themselves as the symbol of moral values against, what the Iranian leaders call, ‘imperialism,’ many in Iran and elsewhere expected them to act, or at least speak, for the slain victims and against the heinous activities of Bashar al-Assad and his loyalists. Iranian leadership instead chose to side with its longtime ally Assad, who was already named, by the people from his own country, the region and the world, as the “butcher.”

What followed was horror, terror, and death. First, the Iranian leadership’s military arm, the IRGC, led the campaign of killing thousands of Sunnis and non-twelver Shias in order to depopulate many Syrian and Iraqi towns. In short, it was genocide.

This fear of being killed for their sectarian identities compelled a portion of the remaining Sunni and non-twelver Shia population to leave their homeland and seek refuge in other countries, particularly neighbouring countries and Europe, so that they could escape the ethnic cleansing.

In Syria, the IRGC carried out the campaign with help from Assad’s army and the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah. In Iraq, the IRGC carried out the campaign with the help of sectarian elements in the Iraqi army, Iran-backed twelver-militias, and Hezbollah.

Everyone with the slightest interest in Middle East affairs is well-informed about the sectarian cleansing that happened in Iraq’s Fallujah Province with the backing of the Iranian leadership and the IRGC. The Iraqi forces and Iran-backed militias killed thousands of innocent Sunnis and non-twelver Shias under the cover of “liberating” the area from ISIS.

All of the killing campaigns were monitored, aided and managed at ground-zero by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which was designated as a ‘terrorist’ organization just the other day.

The IRGC-members themselves engaged in the killing of innocent Sunnis in these two countries, particularly in Syria. For years, the IRGC has been training terrorist proxies inside both Iraq and Syria as well as in other regional countries.

IRGC also helped Bashar al-Assad carry out chemical weapons attacks on innocent civilians in rebel-held areas in Syria. Every mainstream global media outlet published articles or broadcast the footages of the aftermath of these repeated chemical weapons attacks on civilians. The broadcast-footage clearly shows how civilians, especially children, died from these attacks. The worst part is that these children had to go through enormous suffering and pain before ultimately dying.

All the atrocities committed directly or indirectly by the IRGC suggest that if it is wrong to designate the IRGC as a ‘terrorist’ organization, it would also be wrong to designate any other atrocious group as a ‘terrorist’ organization. If it is right to designate any atrocious group, including ISIS, as a ‘terrorist,’ group, it should equally be right to designate IRGC as a ‘terrorist,’ group.

It is worth noting that many have been questioning the Trump administration’s intention behind the designation. They argue that the intention was to help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his tight re-election campaign. However, the ‘reason’ wasn’t connected to Netanyahu’s re-election campaign, but the ‘timing’ was.

According to Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO and founder of Gulf State Analytics, “Trump, to an extent far greater than any of his predecessors, is extremely transactional in his foreign policy agenda, as well as keen to have domestic political interests heavily influence his decision making on the international stage. Without question, Trump is seeking to shore up support from Evangelical voters between now and November 2020. Aligning the US more closely with Israel’s right-wing government is an important part of this strategy. Of course, with Trump making major symbolic moves to help Netanyahu shore up support before this month’s Israeli elections, Netanyahu will likely go to bat for Trump in 2020 as Israel’s current head-of-state has never been shy when it comes to entering America’s political arena.”

“Nonetheless, it is important to remember that this idea of designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization is not new,” Cafiero concluded.