Iran's Terrorist Hydra
Little wonder then that President Bush wants to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization -- because I've just described their structure.
Kim Murphy writes in today's LATimes:
Iran's Revolutionary Guard has quietly become one of the most significant political and economic powers in the Islamic Republic, with ties to more than 100 companies, which by some estimates control more than $12 billion in business and construction, economists and Iranian political analysts say.The Bush administration's possible naming of the Guard a terrorist organization therefore would have a much more profound effect on Iran than, say, naming Hezbollah a terrorist organization would have on Syria or Lebanon. Hamas in Palestine, on a much grander scale, is a more on-target comparison.
The Guard was created in 1979 as a military and intelligence force to protect the ideals of Iran's Islamic Revolution. But the 125,000-strong force has used the massive military engineering capability it developed rebuilding the country after the 1980-88 war with Iraq to take over the strategic highlands of the Iranian economy.
The legendary people's army now has its hand in a broad and diverse variety of activities, such as dentistry and travel, and has become the dominant player in public construction projects across the country, say businessmen and economists in Tehran and analysts abroad.
Under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guard commander, the force also has extended its reach in the Cabinet: 14 of 21 members are former Guard commanders. Former officers also hold 80 of the 290 seats in the parliament and a host of local mayorships and local council seats. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, is a former Guardsman.
The Guard has the contract to build Tehran's subway, and the contract to build Iran's nuclear facilities. It has a partnership with Mazda to build cars in Iran, and it runs Tehran's hospitals.
It also ships arms into Iraq and trains jihadists there, making it responsible for the deaths of scores of U.S. troops.
It is, in short, a unique Hydra of Islam, its arms reaching everywhere in the Islamic Republic, with no care as to whether its actions are legal or moral; it cares only about consolidating its power and furthering (now globally) the Islamic Revolution that created and sustains it.
Exactly how we can treated it like other run-of-the-mill terrorist organizations is unclear; that we would avoid attempting to do so is unfathomable.