Gatestone Institute: US Policy on Iran Heading in the Right Direction

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-born scholar, political scientist, and foreign policy expert, has written an article over at the Gatestone Institute in which he says that President’s Trump forceful stance on Iran is the right policy for checking the dangerous regime.

Gatestone Institute: Thanks to the President, U.S. Policy Heading in the Right Direction

The critics of President Trump’s Iran policy have been proven wrong once again: Not only have the US sanctions imposed significant pressure on the ruling mullahs of Iran and their ability to fund their terror groups, but in addition, President Trump recently ordered a game-changing military attack that killed both Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near the Baghdad airport.

According to the US Department of Defense, Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

The unexpected death of Soleimani should be regarded as a severe blow to the ruling mullahs. When it comes to authority in the Islamic Republic, Soleimani was considered Iran’s second man after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A staunchly loyal confidante to Khamenei, Soleimani enjoyed enormous influence over dictating the Iranian regime’s foreign policy. Soleimani was not bragging when he wrote in a message to US Gen. David Petraeus:

“… you should know that I, Qassem Suleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan. And indeed, the ambassador in Baghdad is a Quds Force member. The individual who’s going to replace him is a Quds Force member.”

Soleimani was appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader to be the head of the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), almost two decades ago. The Quds Force is tasked with exporting Iran’s ideological, religious and revolutionary principles beyond the country’s borders.

As the leader of the Quds Force, Soleimani was in charge of extraterritorial operations, including organizing, supporting, training, arming and financing predominantly Shiite militia groups; launching wars directly or indirectly via these proxies; fomenting unrest in other nations to advance Iran’s ideological and hegemonic interests; attacking and invading cities and countries; and assassinating foreign political figures and powerful Iranian dissidents worldwide.

The Quds Force fomented unrest in Iraq by providing deadly, sophisticated bombs, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that killed many civilians and non-civilians, including Iraqis and Americans.

Under his leadership, the Quds Force was also accused of failed plans to bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in the US, and to assassinate then-Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir. An investigation revealed that the Quds Force was also behind the assassination of Lebanon’s Sunni Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri…

Click here to read the entire article at Gatestone Institute.

Foreign Policy: The Coming Crime Wars

Foreign Policy recently published an article about future conflicts called The Coming Crime Wars. The article discusses how the number of non-state armed groups (that is, not an official army of a recognized country, but rather some other sort of armed group) is multiplying in civil conflicts around the world. Soldiers in these conflicts are with “drug cartels, mafia groups, criminal gangs, militias, and terrorist organizations” as well as official armies or rebel groups. So far governments are confused about how to deal with this complication.

In the classical view, criminal groups (such as mafias, gangs, and cartels) are not political actors formally capable of waging war. This means they can’t be treated as enemy combatants, nor can they be tried for war crimes. Yet, increasingly, such groups do advance tangible political objectives, from the election of corrupted politicians to the creation of autonomous religious states. What is more, they routinely govern, control territory, provide aid and social goods, and tax and extort money from the populations under their control. They also often collude with corrupt soldiers, police, prison guards, and customs officials to expand their rule. Put succinctly, cartels and gangs may not necessarily aim to displace recognized governments, but the net result of their activities is that they do.

Further, whereas the human cost of typical gang or mafia activity may be contained, the death and destruction that result from today’s crime wars are not. Millions of refugees and internally displaced persons have fled these gray-zone conflicts. But many of those who are dislocated are stuck in limbo, with most of them having been refused asylum, which—as codified in international refugee law, international humanitarian law, and by the International Criminal Court—is typically granted to people fleeing international and civil wars. Governments have typically been reluctant to recognize the dislocated as war refugees, because it would grant legitimacy to the crime wars. Yet with all the civilians killed and maimed, mayors and journalists attacked, families forced to flee genocide and disappearances, the violence generated by crime wars is indistinguishable from that generated by traditional war.

Crime wars are not going away…

This article echoes previous writings of authors like David Kilcullen who in Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla discusses some of the same issues. If you’ve done an area study for your location, you probably tried to identify local criminal groups or cartel activity. If this type of activity is having in civil disturbances around the globe, you can count on it coming to the US — if it isn’t already here.

The Pentagon made a video to highlight some of these issues as well, though it mostly discusses the difficulties in megacities.