Israel’s Struggle: Designating the IRGC

The American flip-flop on the removal of an Iranian organization from the terrorism list, alongside actions on the ground against Tehran, will end in a painful crash. Israel must continue to fight against the Islamic Republic in order to thwart and deter it.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday drew a clear line regarding future relations with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. His statement that Israel will continue to operate against the organization without regard to the American decision to remove it from the list of terrorist organizations is not only an open criticism of the administration and its intentions, but also a public declaration that the covert and overt war between the two sides will continue and even escalate in the foreseeable future.

Regarding the American decision, it is a waste of time to say much. It is a troubling mixture of naivete, shortsightedness, a lack of understanding of the region and trusting in those who should not be trusted. It is even more troubling that these things are happening in opposition to the stance of every professional official in the United States — the American army and all the intelligence agencies are well aware of Iranian actions and plans, and see them as the source of evil in the region. Over the weekend, outgoing Central Command Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. even described Iran as “the biggest problem for the U.S. Army in the Middle East,” in his last press briefing at the Pentagon.

The United States Is Tired of the Middle East

American readiness to remove Iran from the list is additional evidence of its fatigue over what is done in the Middle East and its intention to withdraw from it as a continuation of fleeing from Afghanistan. No less bad is the continued gallop by the Biden administration toward a revised nuclear agreement, at any price. From the lofty wording of an agreement that will be “longer and stronger,” the original agreement remains. However, the current circumstances are much worse than in 2015; only a very short time remains until the agreement expires, so Iran will have a direct path to the bomb, with the world’s blessing.

Words Are 1 Thing; Actions, Another

The Americans, in their outspoken statements, firmly claim that they will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power. With all the desire to believe them, this is a commitment that has not stood the practical test. The actions by the Iranians, in contrast to this, stand up to the day-by-day test: from their systematic and callous violations of the previous agreement to the terrorism they propagate by the same Revolutionary Guard, via its Quds Force arm, throughout the Middle East and beyond.

On more than one occasion, the Americans were the primary target of this terrorism. This happens primarily in Iraq by Shiite militias paid, armed and set in place by the Iranians. At times, this occurs with the Iranians openly taking responsibility. At times, the intelligence apparatus knows the source of terrorism, but the bottom line remains identical and also the greater target — to make the lives of the Americans miserable and cause them to leave the region so they do not interfere with Iran’s efforts at expansion and control.

Washington, as was said, is well aware of these things. It has participated more than once in efforts to thwart Iranian terrorism through operational and intelligence cooperation with a number of allies in the region, led by Israel. The readiness to continue to do this in the future while at the same time defining the perpetrators of terrorism as not terrorists, is a verbal flip-flop that will end with a painful crash on its own head.

Israel did well in announcing that it will not participate in this carnival of masks. Unlike the nuclear deal, where the Iranians have every reason to adhere to an agreement with a huge final prize, they will not forsake their terrorist actions for even a second.

History teaches that the Iranians’ word is worthless in this regard. Directly or by through proxies, Iran will continue to make life miserable for their rivals in the region, led by Israel (and the United States).

This will require Israel to intensify the war already being waged against the Revolutionary Guard in a number of places and by a number of means and methods. It is quite possible the Americans will not like Israeli actions (which at times endanger them, as McKenzie said over the weekend), but Israel must make its own accounting, alone. Because the Iranians are busy 24/7 trying to make life miserable for Israelis, Israel is left with only one choice — to preempt them militarily, and with force, in order to thwart and also to deter.

About this publication

About Charles Railey 61 Articles
I recently retired from the federal government, having worked for many years on Middle East issues and regional media. My fascination with the region has never changed and this is one reason why the work of Watching America caught my eye. I live in the DC area with my wife, two grown children, and three cats.

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