Since Jimmy Carter gave Iran to the radical Shiite Ayatollahs in 1979, the US and the West has faced a constant threat from State (Iran) sponsored terrorism. Why is this unique? Most radical nations do not overtly sponsor terrorism as it would be “easy” for the world to take them out as they are easily identifiable with borders, government, and armies. But, the West has ignored much of Iran’s aggression thinking it would be a counter balance against radical Sunni Muslims.
During the past 40 years, Iran has stood up its elite military and terrorism force called the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The IRG has created “proxies” such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others to “shield” Iran’s direct involvement in Syria, Jordan, Israel, Yemen, and in Iraq where hundreds of US soldiers were maimed by Iranian weaponry.
So, is the bombing of 6 oil tankers and the shooting down of US drones an act of war by the Islamic Republic of Iran or by its IRG, without the blessing of the Ayatollahs? A key question is “why would the Ayatollahs attack a Japanesse tanker while the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down with the Ayatollahs trying to negotiate a deescalation of tensions”?
Either way, the actions cannot and will not go without a response from the US and the Allies in the Middle East. Russia may stand with the Iranians in the short term but this will be a hollow alliance. Why, Russia knows that Iran would have no reluctance to stir up terrorism in southern Russia in areas where there are high concentrations of Muslims
Assuming that the IRG is acting as its own proxy, does this change our response? Would the US and its allies be allied with the Ayatollahs against the IRG or would we respond the same regardless?
If the Ayatollahs are not part of the current hostilities, it would prove that the leadership in the IRG is now a separate government within Iran. Remember, the Trump sanctions against the Iranian Government as reduced its revenues by over 80%. Many in the IRG have not been paid and have not received needed cash to keep their terrorism activities afloat! The IRG is not a happy group and while they know that the threat to their existence is due to US sanctions, they may believe that they have no option but to strike at US allied interest in the region in order to survive. If US Sanctions succeed in the overthrow of the Ayatollah regime, they are history! They believe that military actions against the US and its allies in the region would serve to stalemate members of the EU into not support any US allied military action. THINK AGAIN!
In either event, it is very possible that the US and the Allies coordinate a counter-strike against the IRG specifically and not attack Iranian infrastructure. It is the belief of this author that the response will be multi-national with Saudi Arabia and Israel taking leading roles. (Trump’s Middle East policy is to stand up Middle Eastern countries to police the Middle East themselves) The US may even take logistic support role rather than a direct military role. But, since our drones were targeted, it is doubtful that President Trump will allow this to go unanswered. IRG targets in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and in Iran itself will be strategically hit and hit hard. The survival of the IRG itself is doubtful.
In the aftermath, it will remain to be seen if the Ayatollahs themselves were responsible for deploying the IRG against US allied targets. Even if the Ayatollahs were not directy responsible, without the IRG, the hold on Iran by the Ayatollahs will have been seriously weakened and the potential for an internal overthrow of their regime may be eminent. Stay Tuned!