It seems the Bush administration is finally willing to push back against Iran:
The United States has decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a "specially designated global terrorist," according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances.Iran's Revolutionary Guard isn't a normal military operation. In a way, they hold the country hostage through massive amounts of business interests.
The Bush administration has chosen to move against the Revolutionary Guard Corps because of what U.S. officials have described as its growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East, the sources said. The decision follows congressional pressure on the administration to toughen its stance against Tehran, as well as U.S. frustration with the ineffectiveness of U.N. resolutions against Iran's nuclear program, officials said.
"They are heavily involved in everything from pharmaceuticals to telecommunications and pipelines -- even the new Imam Khomeini Airport and a great deal of smuggling," said Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations. "Many of the front companies engaged in procuring nuclear technology are owned and run by the Revolutionary Guards. They're developing along the lines of the Chinese military, which is involved in many business enterprises. It's a huge business conglomeration."Its an interesting model for a country's military to take. The Revolutionary Guard's forces are nearly as big as Iran's true army. When you combine that with political clout (Ahmadinejad gained power by rising up their ranks) and massive amounts of money, you've got a pretty good way to ensure a stranglehold on a nation.
The Revolutionary Guard Corps -- with its own navy, air force, ground forces and special forces units -- is a rival to Iran's conventional troops. Its naval forces abducted 15 British sailors and marines this spring, sparking an international crisis, and its special forces armed Lebanon's Hezbollah with missiles used against Israel in the 2006 war. The corps also plays a key role in Iran's military industries, including the attempted acquisition of nuclear weapons and surface-to-surface missiles, according to Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Fortunately, these same aspects make them particularly vulnerable to what we can do without making an international incident: financial warfare.
I wonder how long it will be before we begin seeing an embargo-like effect in Iran itself due to this tag on one of their biggest "corporations".