Ringing the bell when Iran is on the ropes

An American Enterprise Institute monograph published in November, 2008 described how the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps began reorganizing itself to meet internal threats late last year. The change was significant, because for the first time since it was formed, the IRGC reoriented its mission from meeting external threats to suppressing internal threats. (Hat tip: Doug) The IRGC is normally called the “Revolutionary Guards” in the media. It is a state within a state. “The IRG is separate from, and parallel to, the other arm of the Iran’s military, which is called Artesh (another Persian word for army). The IRG is a combined arms force with its own ground forces, navy, air force, intelligence, and special forces. It also controls Basij force, which has a potential strength of eleven million, although Basij is a volunteer-based force, and consists of 90,000 regular soldiers and 300,000 reservists.”…

The reorientation of the IRGC mission to face internal threats is a tacit admission of political weakness. Contrary to the narrative that Iran has been strengthened by the events of recent years, it is strongly suggestive that the opposite is true. And now that the internal threat has actually materialized, the Obama administration should ask itself whether it is wise public policy to throw a regime racked by internal dissention and possibly collapsing upon itself the lifeline of “engagement”; whether it is opportune to give it international legitimacy and remove the sanctions at a time when it is beating itself up. In others words, the administration must ask whether it makes any sense to ring the bell just as Teheran is on the ropes.