SHAFAQNA | By Leila Yazdani : No one can legally label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces a Terror Group. Despite politically motivated claims, in the legal and proper sense of the term, it is impossible to say the IRGC is a terrorist organization. IRGC is the official conventional armed forces of a sovereign nation and has all the characteristics of a regular army. Moreover it is the victim of all forms of terrorism from all part of Iran to Iraq and Syria so that no time it can consider itself immune. It was Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps that changed the rule of the game in Iraq and Syria, and struggled to establish security, peace and stability in the region.
The Trump administration is designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. This move would mark the first time the US has labelled a branch of the armed forces of a foreign government as a terrorist organisation.
After the events in 1979 and the Islamic Revolution, which took place in Iran by overthrowing the Pahlavi dynasty, the Islamic Republic of Iran was charged with a serious task: maintaining order and preventing a counter-revolution. The survival of the new government was crucial. The most reliable mechanism for achieving this was, of course, military force formation.
The IRGC, is a product of the Islamic Revolution and since then, as a military organization in Iran, it became one of the pillars of the Iranian state, and with Quds Force, it have had an enormous impact on maintaining the Islamic Republic’s government.
After the Iraqi invasion to Iran in September 1980, and during the Iran-Iraq War, the Revolutionary Guard assumed its role as a combat military unit when it was deployed on the front line, and helped defend the country during the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war.
Nor is the fight against ISIS something new for the IRGC. It played an important role in overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan in the months after 9/11.
IRGC’s successful record on counter-terrorism in the region which have led to defeat of the organized terrorism of Daesh (ISIS) is an obvious sign of efforts to establish global security, peace and stability and its willingness to incline towards a world free from aggression and terrorism.
IRGC forces are victims of terror attack
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces are the victims of terror attack, not Terrorist. Three months ago, a number of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces have been killed in a terrorist attack in southeastern Iran.
On Feb. 13, a truck bomb hit members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) travelling by bus on the Khash-Zahedan road in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan and due to this attack 27 IRGC personnel were martyred and 13 other were wounded.
Last September, Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan Province — a region in the southwest that is home to Iran’s Arab minority — witnessed one of the deadliest attacks against the IRGC in a decade, Middle East Institude reported. The armed assault on a military parade killed at least 29 people and injured around 60.
US idea is not new
The idea of designating the IRGC as a terrorist organisation is not new. It was pushed in 2007 by the George W Bush administration, who took a similar view to Iran as the Trump administration. Yet, as then-Senator Jim Webb warned, the designation would have constituted then-Vice President “Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream” because it would have been “read as tantamount to a declaration of war”, trtworld told.
In 2007, the US Treasury Department designated the Quds Force — a Revolutionary Guards unit in charge of foreign operations — as a supporter of “terrorism,” describing it as Iran’s “primary arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups.”
In February 2017 also the Donald Trump administration was considering designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a Foreign Terrorist Organization—only to shelve its plans after encountering opposition in Washington.
This designation is not legally and logically
First, such a designation is not legally and logically. Despite politically motivated claims, the IRGC is not a terrorist organization in the legal and proper sense of the term. Rather, it is the official conventional armed forces of a sovereign nation. It has all the characteristics of a regular army, lobelog told.
For instance, IRGC derives its authority from the Iranian constitution. It has a well-defined command structure and a ratified code of conduct that it is held accountable to according to Iranian law. Its members wear a uniform and have a fixed distinctive and recognizable emblem. Nearly half of the Iranian male population does its military service in the IRGC. And it operates in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and the laws and customs of war.
In fact, as documented by credible international organizations such as the Red Cross, the IRGC has a rather good record of self-restraint and compliance with international humanitarian law, even as it fought an eight-years-long war of attrition against the notoriously aggressive and WMD-using army of Saddam Hussein.
US move neglects security landscape of the Middle East
Second, designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization neglects the realities on the ground and the security landscape of the Middle East. The IRGC has in fact been the most effective force combatting terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) and al-Qaeda in the region.
According to defenseone, The IRGC was key to fighting to oust ISIS from Mosul. Seven months into the battle, the majority of the city has been freed from ISIS control despite the difficulties of urban warfare, a large civilian population, suicide bombers, and an operation that extended through winter.
Trump’s decision would have unintended consequences that may seriously jeopardize regional efforts to fight terrorist organizations like the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and affiliates.
Without the IRGC, terrorist groups that have actually inflicted the most harm to U.S national security so far would have extended their reach far beyond Afghanistan. And ISIS would have already taken over the entire territories of Iraq and Syria, since the IRGC has worked closely with Iraqi, Syrian, and even Russian government forces against ISIS.
US Move disrupts the legal regime governing the conduct of war
Third, officially labeling the conventional army of a High Party to the Geneva Conventions as a terrorist organization introduces the inherently flawed notion of a “terrorist army” into international relations. It confuses and disrupts the legal regime governing the conduct of war, with unintended consequences for the U.S army as well. If this practice becomes the norm and countries begin designating each others’ armies as “terrorist organizations,” U.S service members, commanders, and even veterans could also be tried and treated as “terrorists” if captured in foreign land.
Read more from Shafaqna: