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This week's announcement of the US-sponsored and UN-backed Sanctions Amendment to the 1996 Sanctions act, toughened the US stance against Iran's petroleum industry, focused on the Revolutionary Guard's financial interests, began proceedings to watch Iran's Central Bank for disbursements to terrorist organizations and weapons buys, and on a n important side note, formally associated Hezbollah part and parcel with Iran.
While all of this may be good and true, as evidenced by Iran's outraged reaction, it will only further polarize an already tense situation. You simply don't put pressure on the RG by pressuring them on paper and in their pocket books.
While it is common knowledge that the RG controls everything in Iran from food distribution, to commercial construction, to the oil and gas industry, and on and on, the main question no one seems to be smart enough to ask, is WHY?
We know the WHAT, but WHY? Why is the RG allowed to be so involved in the Iranian economy?
The RG is a para-military force designed specifically to protect Iran's ruling elite from a military coup. To now be involved in the choicest industries in Iran, and to be managing so much of the country's annual output and income begs the simplest question, WHY?
These latest US sanctions against the RG are obviously designed to hurt the RG's income balance sheet. Which would be a good corporate raiding strategy, but although the RG's financial influence on Iran's economic activities is significant, these masters of Iran's juiciest industries don't operate on a solely self preservationist traditional corporate motive. These aren't Gordon Geckos. This is the Revolutionary Guard!
To understand the RG, you have to deconstruct it. The RG is not the Immortal Guard of the Shah era. The RG are not the thug blind followers of the Basiji ilk. Although the Basijis report to the RG.
The RG is a smart, computer and internet savvy ruling machine. Part Pirate, Part Mafia, they are collectively smarter than even the ruling elite. According to Reza Aslan's relatives inside Iran, the RG not only pulls more than a few strings behind the Supreme Leader's back, they have a permanent proctological probe back there as well, and if you take the smallest hop toward faith and believe any of this, the RG is the one that affected the outcome of the recent election. Telling, is how badly managed this was. Further telling, that this might have been the first signs of division and infighting within the RG.
The RG's primary directive however, and ultimate point of unity is to remain in power in Iran. At all and any cost. Losing power is far worse even than losing a million, a billion, or a trillion that the sanctions might cause. To lose power is to lose everything. The recent amendment to these US sanctions addresses the lesser secondary interest, namely lining their pockets while they maintain power. Big Deal! While admittedly identifying and targeting the RG's source of financial gain might make sense from a capitalist outside, not understanding that this is far secondary to them, is what makes this plan particularly useless.
Exactly who is advising Obama on Iran these days? Toyota's Product Safety Department?
These days in Tehran, the streets are efficiently quiet. Cement roadblocks have been placed strategically around the city to prevent demonstrators from gathering, and Basijis are everywhere looking and itching for the slightest evidence of any grouping of young or old people that so much as look like they might be intending to march. Consequences are immediate with instant removal off the streets, and if you even make it that far, your arrest and indefinite detention process occurs at the station.
Part of what makes the RG so good at their job, is how well they know the prey, the Iranian people, and better how to turn them against each other and to deflect the slightest attempts at resistance. The "spy on thy neighbor" tactics have been highly effective at weeding out any opposing dissent, which is why there isn't any dissent in Iran. To qualify that, there is the desire to dissent to be sure, but no outright evidence of it beyond your average enlightened Iranian's night-sweaty dreams. Mention it out loud however, and your dream very quickly turns into a nightmare.
For sanctions to work, you would need to disconnect the RG Matrix that they have successfully plumbed into the back of every Iranian's head. Including those of us who live abroad. We are that afraid of the RG and it's long poisonous tentacles. Rumors abound as to the extent of their reach, even lending themselves to stories about how the RG even owns International Calling Cards in order to listen in on Iranian-abroad to Iranian-in-Iran conversations. Facebook? The RG loves Facebook even more than the Russian sleeper spies!
For any kind of sanctions to work, it would have to enable Iranians to somehow collectively reject all the power that the RG holds over them. This requires Iranians to stop being afraid, and take back the power they took from the Shah, and unfortunately gave to the RG in 1979.
And that requires 2 things to occur at one time, courage to awaken in the Iranian people one more time, and for the RG to blink and lose their nerve.
Unfortunately none of this can be done by US Sanctions. Which is precisely why they never ever work.
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