Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Commentary: 'Is Trump Trying to Goad Iran Into War with the US?' by Robert Wenzel

On Monday President Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.

Mainstream media is playing it up as an escalation of economic pressures on the country.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes

The designation should deepen Iran’s international isolation, another step in the maximum pressure campaign against the regime for its nuclear program. Anyone who provides material support to the group can now be prosecuted more easily and IRGC members are blocked from entering the U.S. IRGC officials will also risk arrest and extradition while traveling.
Don't believe for a minute this is the half of it.

This is the first time ever that the United States government has named a part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.

What does it mean?


Labeling any group a foreign terrorist organization allows that group to be targeted by the U.S. government by means of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, writes:

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 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.
Former Under-Secretary of State and lead Iran negotiator, Wendy Sherman, told Reuters 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.”

Reuters further notes:

IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari warned in 2017 that if Trump went ahead with the move “then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world.”
Such threats are particularly ominous for U.S. forces in places such as Iraq, where Iran-aligned Shi’ite militia are located in close proximity to U.S. troops.
But the neocon warhawks are giddy with Trump's declaration.

According to The Wall Street Journal, national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed for the declaration.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse said the move would be an important step in America’s maximum pressure campaign against Tehran. “A formal designation and its consequences may be new, but these IRGC butchers have been terrorists for a long time,” Sasse said in a statement.

Step one of a response from Tehran has occurred.

Iran has designated U.S. forces in the Middle East as a terrorist group in response.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said the terror designation for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), “was in response to the illegal and unwise move from the U.S.,” according to the state-run news agency IRNA.

Let us hope that things don't escalate beyond this but it doesn't look good.


Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomicsand on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here. 

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Target Liberty and has been rerun with permission of its author. 


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