Joe Biden, Friend of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
by W. THOMAS SMITH, JR.
August 23, 2008
Sen. Joe Biden – Barack Obama’s eagerly anticipated running mate – should be named an honorary soldier in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). We’re all familiar with the IRGC: Iran’s unique corps of Islamist fighters who have been directly involved in deadly attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq – even Afghanistan – threatening our ships in the Persian Gulf; and organizing, training, equipping, funding, and providing direct operational support to Lebanon-based Hezbollah (perhaps the most dangerous terrorist army on earth). And that’s just for starters.
Also known as the Pasdaran, the IRGC is not Iran’s conventional territorial armed force, but the military force of the Khomeinist-inspired Islamic Revolution. The organization fields an army, a navy, and an air force, as well as an extranational special-operations force known as the Quds (Jerusalem) Force.
Iran, of course, is a “state sponsor of terrorism,” so-designated by the U.S. State Department back in 1984. And the IRGC and its Quds Force were both designated “supporters of terrorism” in October 2007. Though the latter two designations would not have been so had Biden had his way.
On September 26, 2007, Biden voted “Nay” to Senate Amendment 3017 (S. Amdt. 3017) – a piece of legislation amending S. Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585 – “to express the sense of the Senate regarding Iran.”
In a nutshell, S. Amdt. 3017 called on the Senate to: “Support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy … with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.”
And most importantly – for the sake of sanctions and the unequivocal denial of any form of support to terrorists and terrorist supporters – the amendment said, “the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization … and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”
The text of the amendment included Congressional testimony from then-commander of Multi-National-Force Iraq Gen. David Petraeus, who said, “Iran, through the use of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps Quds Force, seeks to turn the Shiia militia extremists into a Hezbollah-like force to serve its interests and fight a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.”
The amendment also included corroborating testimony from U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker; retired Marine Gen. James Jones, who chaired the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq; Defense Department and independent reports; the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq at that time; captured Iranian documents; even the public comments of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who said: “The political power of the occupiers [the United States and allied foreign forces in Iraq] is collapsing rapidly. Soon we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course we are prepared to fill the gap.”
Nevertheless, when it came time to vote on the measure, Biden said, “no.” Instead, he went on – in forthcoming speeches and blustering – to threaten Pres. George Bush with impeachment if the president unilaterally attacked Iran.
According to an article in New Hampshire’s Seacoast Online: “Biden said the best deterrent to prevent pre-emptive military action in Iran is to make it clear, even if it is at the end of his final term, action will be taken against Bush to ensure ‘his legacy will be marred for all time.’”
So Biden threatens a sitting president of the United States with impeachment and the marring of his legacy “for all time.” He warns against striking Iran – a rogue terrorist-sponsoring nation that kills American soldiers, refuses to curb its nuclear development program, serves as the primary benefactor to Hezbollah, and threatens nations with annihilation. And he flatly refuses to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
Obama, who didn’t participate in the vote on S. Amdt. 3017, spoke out against the amendment, calling it “excessively provocative.” But in an attempt to cover himself and appear strong, pointed to his co-sponsorship of the inconclusive Iran Counter-Proliferation Act (March 2007), which calls for the terrorist-designation of the IRGC (There were actually 72 co-sponsors of that bill). Fine. It’s one thing to propose and talk about countering terrorism. It’s quite another to actively and aggressively counter terrorism, pressing actions to conclusion, which Obama failed to do and Biden blatantly refused to do.
Still Biden’s refusal to name the IRGC a terrorist organization had its supporters: Surely, the ayatollahs backed Biden’s “nay” vote. And among Biden’s colleagues was Sen. John Edwards who – in a Nov. 2007 campaign speech – said he applauded Biden’s vote, and in the same breath referred to the IRGC as just “a government-run militia.” That was just a few days after the IRGC and its Quds Force had been designated “supporters of terrorism” by the U.S. State Department.
At any rate, S. Amdt. 3017 passed: No thanks to Biden who – by his rejection of the amendment and threats aimed at a sitting president – clearly provided indirect support to terrorists. Perhaps the word, “indirect,” is letting him off the hook.