The Islamic Revolution and Iran’s efforts to participate actively in the region through the Revolutionary Guards
The Iranian revolution was always the source of major changes in the Middle East. One of the main goals of this revolution and its leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, was to spread this revolution across other Middle Eastern countries, with the purpose of establishing other Islamic and non-dictatorial regimes in the region.
A goal, which formed the basis for inviting the Iraqi people and army to revolt against Saddam Hussein. Thus, not only did it spark fears in the Middle East, Arab countries and their oligarchic governments, but it also persuaded them to equip themselves against a potential insurgency of their people against their own governments and the newly established Islamic State in Iran.
One of their actions was aimed at gaining a closer approach to the United States, which, following the Iran hostage crisis, it was now fully in line with the Arab dictatorial regimes in confronting the Iranian regime. By enabling the US to have many military bases across their territories, they provided the conditions for a wider US military presence in the region. Meanwhile, Iran was also expanding its influence across some countries of the region, using the potential of the Shiite populations and Pro-revolutionary groups.
The emergence of serious regional tensions of the IRGC with the Americans
The starting point of the game, being Iran opposing the presence of the Americans in the Middle East, ultimately led to regional tensions between Iran and the United States, therefore, IRGC, in addition to the task of guarding the achievements of the Islamic Revolution and, of course, the destruction of the State of Israel, was now obliged to export that revolution to other countries in the region and to be at the forefront of confronting US forces.
For instance, the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings, which killed more than 200 officers and soldiers from the US and French military forces, were believed to be an attack traceable to Hezbollah, according to the Americans, which is a militant and political group originated in Lebanon in 1982 and established by IRGC.
Other examples include the establishment, political, financial and logistical support of groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestine Liberation Organization, Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Popular Mobilization Forces, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Badr Organization, Liwa Fatemiyoun, Liwa Zainebiyoun and etc., which operate in Iraq and Syria and act against the US and its allies in the region, as well as the confrontation of the IRGC’s speedboats with the American warships in the Persian Gulf. It is worth remembering the 2016 U.S. – Iran naval incident. These confrontations, forty years after the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the establishment of the IRGC, were not always hostile. There have been numerous instances of secret relations with the Americans, namely, the Iran-Contra affair, Indirect cooperation with the Americans in support of Bosnian Muslims in the Bosnian war between 1992 and 1995, direct cooperation during the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, Indirect cooperation in Iraq against ISIS, especially in the Battle of Mosul (2016-2017), etc., all appearing in the work of this revolutionary institution.
Designating IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO)
Given all of the above, as well as the changing political situation in the region, especially during the post-ISIS era, which we are currently witnessing with the defeat of radical Sunni Islamist groups as ISIS; it is understandably challenging for America and its regional allies to tolerate and accept a radical Shiite force that wants to control all Middle Eastern developments, supporter of Shiite movements in the Sunni kingdoms of the region, creator of several political-military groups in the latter, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc., provider of political, financial and logistical support, and sensitive to the presence of the United States and its western allies in the region, and for this purpose, if necessary, even cooperates with the Taliban and al-Qaeda and assassins leaders of internal opposition groups outside Iran, as the Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders of the PDKI, assassinated at the Mykonos Greek restaurant in Berlin (The Mykonos restaurant assassinations). Therefore, United States for the first time, by designating the name of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the list of foreign terrorist organizations, in addition to ignoring the sovereignty of the Iranian regime, it is trying to convey the message that the Iranian government and its military arm abroad (Quds Force), are actively involved in terrorist activities.
Increasing the risk of occurrence of war in the region
What is your first anticipation of a confrontation between the two enemy troops regarding each other as a terrorist? Truth, it is likely to be a direct or proxy war, particularly in those areas where we are able to witness a military presence of both countries and no communication channels have been considered for preventing a war. No doubt, the prediction of war is not so simple, as, in previous years, Iran has always preferred silence to retaliation and counterattack against Israeli bombings across its bases in Syria. Tehran’s leaders may go to the extent of using this strategic silence against any potential American attacks. The reason for this would be the very low social capital of the Iranian regime inside the country. However, no government can fight both the foreign enemy and its people. However, it can be argued that if Tehran wants to counteract it, it has several options in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf. For example, if Tehran decides to have a military response to this designation, thousands of the United States military forces in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria, near the militias organized by the IRGC or its main personnel, could be targeted. At the same time, it is likely that the US will reciprocate. For the reason already mentioned, it is very difficult to control a cycle of action without any communication channels.