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Thursday, 22 February 2024
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  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its vast network of proxies have emerged as a formidable force in the Middle East

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its vast network of proxies have emerged as a formidable force in the Middle East
Michael Arizanti

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its vast network of proxies have emerged as a formidable force in the Middle East, casting a long shadow of instability and violence across the region. Their relentless pursuit of regional hegemony, coupled with their unwavering support for extremist groups, poses a grave threat to international security and the very foundations of global order. The time has come for decisive action to dismantle this insidious network and safeguard the stability of the Middle East.

A Destabilizing Force

The IRGC's malign influence permeates every corner of the Middle East, fueling conflicts, sowing discord, and undermining legitimate governments. Their unwavering support for non-state actors like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis has prolonged protracted conflicts, exacerbating regional tensions and causing immense suffering among civilian populations. The IRGC's actions have transformed the Middle East into a tinderbox, primed for further unrest and violence.

A Threat to International Security

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces responsible for protecting the Islamic Republic of Iran's ideology and revolution. The IRGC has its own ground, naval, and air forces, and is considered to be the most powerful military force in Iran. The IRGC also has a significant presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen, where it supports proxy groups that are fighting against governments and other groups opposed to Iran.

The IRGC and its proxies have been accused of being a threat to international security for several reasons. First, the IRGC has been linked to many terrorist attacks, including the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. Second, the IRGC has been accused of providing support to terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Third, the IRGC has developed a ballistic missile program that is capable of reaching Israel and other parts of Europe. The IRGC's activities have had a destabilizing effect on the Middle East, and have led to increased tensions between Iran and its neighbors. In addition, the IRGC's support for terrorism has made it a target for U.S. and other counterterrorism efforts.

Iran has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States since 1984. The U.S. government accuses Iran of providing financial and material support to many terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Iran has also been accused of being involved in a number of terrorist attacks, including the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.

Iran has denied that it is a state sponsor of terrorism, but the U.S. government has continued to accuse Iran of supporting terrorism. In 2017, the Trump administration designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. The designation was a major escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran.

The IRGC and its proxies pose a significant threat to international security. The IRGC's support for terrorism has made it a target for U.S. and other counterterrorism efforts. In addition, the IRGC's development of a ballistic missile program has led to increased tensions between Iran and its neighbors. The IRGC's activities have had a destabilizing effect on the Middle East, and could lead to a wider conflict in the region.

The international community must take action to address the threat posed by the IRGC and its proxies. The U.S. and other countries should continue to pressure Iran to end its support for terrorism. The international community should also work to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In addition, the international community should provide support to countries in the Middle East that are facing threats from the IRGC and its proxies.

A Bastion of Human Rights Abuses: The Reign of Terror by the IRGC and Its Proxies

The shadow of oppression and human rights abuses looms large over the Middle East, cast by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its vast network of proxies. Their ruthless pursuit of power and control has subjected countless innocent civilians to a litany of atrocities, silencing dissent, undermining the rule of law, and creating a climate of fear that stifles any semblance of freedom.

The IRGC's Trail of Tears

The IRGC's reign of terror extends beyond geopolitical maneuvering and military operations, encompassing a systematic pattern of human rights abuses that have shocked the conscience of humanity. Their forces have been implicated in a litany of heinous acts, including:

Arbitrary Detentions: The IRGC has repeatedly engaged in arbitrary arrests and detentions, often targeting individuals who express dissent or challenge the regime's authority. These detainees are often held without charge or access to legal counsel, subjected to prolonged periods of solitary confinement, and denied basic necessities.

Torture and Extrajudicial Killings: The IRGC's use of torture is well-documented, with victims subjected to beatings, electric shocks, and other forms of physical and psychological abuse. Extrajudicial killings, often carried out under the guise of "security operations," have claimed countless lives, silencing critics and instilling fear among the populace.

Suppression of Dissent: The IRGC's grip on power extends to the suppression of any form of dissent, whether it be peaceful protests, critical journalism, or online activism. They have cracked down on peaceful gatherings, detained journalists, and blocked online communication channels, creating a chilling atmosphere where dissent is met with swift and severe consequences.

Human Rights Violations Under Hamas Rule

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas, a Palestinian militant organization designated as a terrorist group by the United States and other countries, has established a de facto government marked by human rights abuses. Their rule is characterized by:

Crackdown on Dissent: Hamas has repeatedly suppressed dissent, silencing opposition voices, and detaining and torturing critics. They have also restricted media freedom and curtailed peaceful protests, creating a climate of fear and intimidation.

Discriminatory Policies: Hamas has implemented discriminatory policies against women and minorities, limiting their freedom of movement, expression, and assembly. Women face restrictions in education and employment, while minority groups are subjected to religious discrimination and marginalization.

Arbitrary Detentions and Torture: Hamas forces have engaged in arbitrary arrests and detentions, often targeting political opponents and journalists. Detainees are often held without charge or access to legal counsel and subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

Hezbollah-Controlled Areas in Syria

In Lebanon and Syria, Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia militant group, has established a strong presence, particularly in the Bekaa Valley and parts of Syria. Their areas of control are characterized by:

Suppression of Political Opposition: Hezbollah has effectively silenced political opposition in areas under its control, intimidating critics and using violence to suppress dissent. They have also infiltrated government institutions, exerting undue influence over political and economic affairs.

Restriction of Freedom of Expression: Hezbollah has imposed severe restrictions on freedom of expression, limiting media freedom and curtailing peaceful protests. They have also intimidated and attacked journalists who criticize their actions or policies.

Arbitrary Detentions and Abuse: Hezbollah forces have been accused of arbitrary detentions, torture, and other forms of abuse against individuals perceived as threats to their authority. Detainees are often held without charge or access to legal counsel and subjected to harsh conditions of confinement.

PMU-Controlled Areas in Iraq

In Iraq, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), an umbrella organization of IRGC militias, have established control over significant territories, particularly in the north and east. Their areas of control are marred by:

Extrajudicial Killings: PMU forces have been implicated in extrajudicial killings, targeting civilians and individuals perceived as threats to their authority. These killings often go unpunished, fueling a sense of impunity and fear among the populace.

Sectarian Violence: PMUs have been accused of engaging in sectarian violence, targeting Sunni Arabs and other minority groups. Their actions have exacerbated sectarian tensions and contributed to the destabilization of Iraq.

Arbitrary Detentions and Abuse: PMU forces have been accused of arbitrary detentions, torture, and other forms of abuse against individuals perceived as opponents. Detainees are often held without charge or access to legal counsel and subjected to harsh conditions of confinement.

A Patron of Terrorism

The IRGC's links to terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Hamas are deeply troubling. Their financial and logistical support to these groups has fueled the spread of terrorism and violence, wreaking havoc across the Middle East and beyond. The IRGC's actions have directly contributed to the loss of countless lives and the destruction of communities.

Financial Support: Fueling Terror:  The IRGC's financial support for terrorist groups is a major concern. The IRGC has provided millions of dollars to al-Qaeda and Hamas, funding their operations and allowing them to acquire weapons and equipment. This financial assistance has been crucial in enabling these groups to plan and execute attacks. Logistical Support: Facilitating Terror: In addition to financial support, the IRGC has also provided logistical assistance to terrorist groups. This assistance has included providing training, safe havens, and transportation. The IRGC has also helped these groups to acquire passports and other documentation that facilitate their travel and operations. Military Support: Enabling Violence: In many cases, the IRGC has even provided direct military support to terrorist groups. This support has included providing weapons, training, and even fighters. The IRGC's military assistance has been particularly significant in the Syrian Civil War, where it has helped to prop up the Assad regime and combat rebel forces.

The IRGC's support for terrorist groups has had devastating consequences. The attacks that these groups have carried out have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people and the destruction of communities. The IRGC's actions have also destabilized the Middle East and contributed to the spread of violence and terrorism.

The international community has taken steps to address the IRGC's support for terrorist groups. The United States, for example, has designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. This designation imposes sanctions on the IRGC and its members, making it difficult for them to operate and access funds. Despite the international response, more needs to be done to address the IRGC's support for terrorist groups. The international community must continue to exert pressure on the IRGC and hold it accountable for its actions. Only by taking decisive action can we hope to disrupt the IRGC's support for terrorism and prevent further violence, blood, and destruction.

The Imperative for Action

The time for complacency is over. The IRGC and its proxies pose a clear and present danger to international security and regional stability. Their actions have caused immense suffering, fueled conflicts, and undermined the rule of law. The international community must act decisively to dismantle this network of terror and safeguard the future of the Middle East.

Eliminating the IRGC and its proxies is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one. The consequences of inaction are far too dire to contemplate. The world must stand united against this threat to peace and stability, and work together to dismantle this network of terror. Only then can we hope to build a more peaceful and just Middle East.

BY: Michael Arizanti