8 April 2019   Leave a comment

The Trump Administration has designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran as a foreign terrorist organization. The designation carries a number of penalties as defined by the US State Department:

“1. It is unlawful for a person in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to a designated FTO. (The term “material support or resources” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(1) as ” any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who maybe or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(2) provides that for these purposes “the term ‘training’ means instruction or teaching designed to impart a specific skill, as opposed to general knowledge.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b)(3) further provides that for these purposes the term ‘expert advice or assistance’ means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge.’’

“2. Representatives and members of a designated FTO, if they are aliens, are inadmissible to and, in certain circumstances, removable from the United States (see 8 U.S.C. §§ 1182 (a)(3)(B)(i)(IV)-(V), 1227 (a)(1)(A)).

“3. Any U.S. financial institution that becomes aware that it has possession of or control over funds in which a designated FTO or its agent has an interest must retain possession of or control over the funds and report the funds to the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”

The designation of the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is unprecedented since the Guard is officially part of the Iranian government and not a group without sovereign sanction. Iran responded forcefully. According to the Washington Post:

“Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, responded on Twitter.
‘A(nother) misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu. A(nother) dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region,’ Zarif wrote in English.

“IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari issued an implied threat against U.S. forces in the Middle East.

“’With this stupidity, the American army and security forces will no longer have today’s calm in the west Asia region,’ the IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

“The Supreme National Security Council of Iran responded Monday by branding ‘the government of the United States as a supporter of terrorism and Central Command, also known as Centcom, and all of its affiliated forces, as terrorist groups,’ state news agency IRNA reported.”

The strategic or tactical advantage for the US of the designation is not evident to me. The US already maintains sanctions on the government of Iran. The designation may make it more difficult for the US to deal with other countries in the Middle East, such as Iraq, who are aligned with Iran.

Turkey is nearing completion of an arms sale with Russia for the purchase of its S-400 missile defense system. The deal complicates Turkey’s relationship with NATO since the system is not compatible with other NATO weapons systems. The S-400 system is highly regarded and it could pose a serious threat to the F-35 fighter jet which is the most advanced jet in the US/NATO arsenal. The Turkish decision complicates the US-Turkish relationship which is already strained because of disagreements over the civil war in Syria. It is remarkable that US influence seems to be waning in many parts of the world, but none of those relationships are as important as the US-NATO alliance.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has issued a report on the state of poverty in the United States. The report “concluded 40 million people in the United States live in poverty — and more than half of those live in ‘extreme’ or ‘absolute’ poverty.” The US ranks last among all the developed countries in its rate of poverty.

Poverty in the US

Posted April 8, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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