Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Iran and Terrorism (part II)

This is, in many ways, a follow-up to my post on Iran, though somewhat dictated by current events.

So now Iran's biggest military unit is a terrorist organization. Setting aside the triviality of such a labeling process, we would do well to remember what that designation entitles the U.S. government to do. Executive Order 13224 is concerned mostly with financial support for "terrorist organizations," but it also comes with some "Other Effects:"

Other Effects

  1. Deters donations or contributions to designated individuals or entities.
  1. Heightens public awareness and knowledge of individuals or entities linked to terrorism.
  1. Alerts other governments to U.S. concerns about individuals or entities aiding terrorism, and promotes due diligence by such governments and private sector entities operating within their territories to avoid associations with terrorists.
  1. Disrupts terrorist networks, thereby cutting off access to financial and other resources from sympathizers.
  1. Encourages designated entities to get out of the terrorism business.
I certainly hope that the IRGC considers itself sufficiently "encouraged to get out of the terrorism business" (fun imperialism fact of the day: the document listing organizations considered terrorist pursuant to E.O. 13224 is 113 pages long, and available here).

With approval ratings for the war at all-time lows and Democrats falling over each other to propose the right way to deal with the naked exposure of U.S. imperialism, we might do well to examine why the IRGC was labeled terrorist, and for what purpose.

The Washington Post, in the above-linked article, has this to say:
The Bush administration has chosen to move against the Revolutionary Guard Corps because of what U.S. officials have described as its growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East, the sources said. The decision follows congressional pressure on the administration to toughen its stance against Tehran, as well as U.S. frustration with the ineffectiveness of U.N. resolutions against Iran's nuclear program, officials said.
And even though we've not given them a penny, the NYT offers its thoughts:
In taking aim at the guard, the administration is also trying to divide Iran’s population. During his news conference on Thursday, President Bush addressed the Iranian people directly. “My message to the Iranian people is, ‘You can do better than this current government,’ ” Mr. Bush said. “ ‘You don’t have to be isolated. You don’t have to be in a position where you can’t realize your full economic potential.’ "
Apparently, now Bush is for democratic revolution in Iran. Of course, this is the case only insofar as the Iranians choose to realize their "full economic potential" as U.S. allies, I would wager.

There are several things worth mentioning here:
  1. My earlier post showed that the Bush Administration can't be serious about having proof of direct material support from Iran for the Iraqi Resistance. Therefore, this move has to be seen as political in the extreme, and not a reaction to the increased use of roadside bombs supposedly shipped from Iran.
  2. When the U.S. government wants to divide a people, the situation doesn't look like Iran's military being labeled a terrorist organization, but instead, the situation looks like Iraq or (better yet) Kosovo in the wake of Clinton's "humanitarian intervention." If the bourgeoisie of Iran decides to side with Washington, all the better for Bush, but don't count on it being the raison d'etre of the declaration.
  3. Congressional pressure on the Bush administration to toughen its stance against Iran IS up. So much for the Dems taking us out of war.
So what are we left with? In the midst of too much discussion about the ills of capitalism and the war in general, the Bush Administration, abandoned by the U.N. and overstretched by its engagements in Iraq, makes the only logical move: unilateral economic action little stronger than rhetoric. But just don't expect the Democrats to oppose it.

NB: Logic Fun! The IRGC was labeled such because of "its growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East."

U.S. Army in Iraq - Check.
U.S. Army in Afghanistan - Check.
U.S. Army weapons sold to Israel - Check.

Oh, wait...