The Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC)… Czekmate

Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet…

A private letter from Iran on de-escalation. I have to give it to them, they at least made some kind of overture regarding the difficulty of this matter.

photo: Times of Israel

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) rise to domestic prominence in Iran was a counter-revolution within the Iranian “Islamic Revolution”. It was the war veterans of the Iran/Iraq war who felt aggrieved that the clerical establishment, based around Islamic Jurists from the city of Qom, were seen as deriving exclusive authority and benefit of leading Iranian society. That the clerical establishment, the so-called Qomists as a faction maintained power having shouldered less burden. In short, the IRGC usurpation was based on a contemporary historical grievance against this faction in favor of the literal foot soldiers of the revolution.

As with any authoritarian government the ascendant faction must intertwine itself with the organs of state. The result is to make the two indistinguishable to the outsider or the subjugated population of said country. By way of example, this is acutely the case in the People’s Republic of China where one party rules. The primary benefit of this party/state fusion is that confidential party deliberations often become a forum for graft, threats and other assorted thuggery. In the case of Iran, the Qomist structure was effectively supplanted by the IRGC structure. This process began with the rise of former President Ahmadinejad and is effectively accomplished.

The IRGC spread its tentacles having gained ascendancy, and utilizing its significant resources, quickly established it’s shadow economy. In recognition of this, the Trump administration placed the organization under sanction as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). After all, that is manifestly what they are.

It follows that in order for Iran to function fully free of US FTO sanction, the IRGC has a raw choice. Lose prestige at home and swallow the inequity of a deal where they are hobbled as an internal economic force (and thus politically vulnerable to a challenge), or push the FTO de-listing issue to the point of breakdown in talks as a diplomatic impasse.

Chances are excellent that informal diplomacy is being “back channeled”.

Czekmate believes that Barack Obama, Susan Rice and Valerie Jarrett are influencing the direction of events in these discussions. Lead negotiator Robert Malley, appears to enjoy a free hand. However within the National Security Council is the White House lead for the region in the person of one Brett McGurk.

McGurk is a high level Washington functionary having worked in the George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations before joining the Biden Administration. McGurk was involved in the 2015 secret negotiations of the first Iran deal and latter led the counter-ISIS effort in Syria. If skullduggery is afoot from outside the White House with respect to Iran, you can bet that he and Susan Rice are the likeliest interface points for the Obama mafia.

But the heretofore alacrity of the negotiations may be on a collision course with other considerations.

The article in this post implies that cooler heads may be prevailing with regard to the IRGC question. This is attributed to formidable domestic US pressure. However, a wider implication that merits consideration is that of the Ukraine intervention. Given the Russian diplomatic maneuvers over the course of recent weeks in this negotiation, it is clear that the economic damage they may have sustained would benefit substantially by this agreement. It begs the question, is the IRGC FTO decision hostage to the future of Russian combat operations in Ukraine? Or is it vice versa?

With that question in mind, this IRGC decision has added weight. It makes one wonder what is being said in the back channel.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-hasnt-agreed-to-terms-for-irgc-terror-delisting-as-us-gets-cold-feet-report/

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