Bush is Alienating the Population in Iran

The upon news that the Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran may be designated as a terrorist organization:

Labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization — as the State Department now proposes — is another distraction when what the Bush administration needs to be doing is opening comprehensive negotiations with Tehran, backed by increasing international economic pressure…Designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist group would trigger automatic American economic penalties against the guard leaders and companies dealing with them. But Iran does little direct business with the United States, so those penalties would cause minimal pain. That suggests that the State Department’s real audience isn’t Tehran, but conflict-obsessed administration hawks, who are lobbying for military strikes, and conflict-averse European allies, who have resisted more far-reaching multilateral economic sanctions.

Let me add something else though. There’s one other issue with this designation that just makes it stupid. Iran’s success and ability to defend against Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq war was primarily a result of of the IRGC. In fact, one of the turning points in the war was when a large Iraqi contingent was repelled by a small IRGC force in Abadan, a city located on the Iran-Iraq border. As noted by the the Global Security Organization:

Iran may have prevented a quick Iraqi victory by a rapid mobilization of volunteers and deployment of loyal Pasdaran forces to the front.

While many Iranians in the Diaspora and elite despite the IRGC because of their relationship with the clerical regime in Iran and the basij (a organization of Iranians who enforce strict social and moral codes in Iran), the IRGC is still a very popular and potent force in Iran. For example, both the parliamentary and municipal council elections, in 2003 and 2004 respectively, were dominated by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a conservative party which dominated the recent parliamentarian elections by winning almost all of Tehran’s seats and whose candidates almost all hail from the IRGC. Similarly, in the recent presidential elections, this organization favored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who ended up becoming President, despite the fact that Western journalists believed that Iranians favored Reformist candidates. As a result, the Bush administration is once again doing more to alienate the US from the Iranian population, then doing anything to ferment democratic change in Iran. By targeting a popular force in Iran, the Bush administration once again has stifled its own policy objectives.

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