By Javad Heirannia

Iran well respond by naming CENTCOM as terrorist organization: Askari

April 10, 2019

TEHRAN – Professor Hossein Askari, an expert on Saudi Arabia who also teaches international business at the George Washington University, believes that “Iran might well respond by naming the U.S. Central Command as a terrorist organization operating in the Persian Gulf and in the greater Middle East, the Navy Seals, the CIA and on and on.”

“To the Trump administration the word terror is fungible. If Saudi Arabia commits an act of indisputable terror, Washington is not quite sure who is behind that particular act of terror but though they say they don’t know who did it, they are sure it is Iran or some other ‘Islamists.’,” Hossein Askari, who served as special advisor to Saudi finance minister, tells the Tehran Times.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is the U.S. basis for declaring the IRGC a terrorist organization? Do you agree with it?

A: The reason is unclear to me. I think it is because Netanyahu and Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have an obsession with Iran and they see the IRGC as a potent force. That is the real reason. These two along with Kushner are hoping to engineer regime change in Iran by inciting a war that draws in the United States. I know it sounds farfetched but to me this is what’s behind all this.  

How they justify it in public is different. They argue that the IRGC is aligned with Hezbollah which they declare a terrorist entity say that the IRGC has killed American soldiers in Iraq. Yet when the U.S. or its allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, kill innocent people, they call it self-defense.

As an aside, I should point out that Trump was okay with the IRGC when he was doing business with IRGC’s associates, as reported in Vanity Fair. Now, managed by the triumvirate of Kushner, Netanyahu and MBS, Trump is taking impetuous steps, which could endanger the Middle East and the world.

Q: Do you consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization?

A: Absolutely not. They are a legitimate part of the Lebanese government. They have defended Lebanon against Israel. They provide social services for the poor and needy. Yes, they have defended Assad in Syria. I don’t personally like the Assad regime but they were invited into Syria by its legitimate government. Others engage in covert operations and kill innocent people, and not invited by a legitimate government, but they are not called terrorists. This is all a game of double standards and smoking mirrors.

Q: What about Saudi Arabia’s killing of Khashoggi in Turkey? Wasn’t this an act of terror?

A: Absolutely. But to the Trump administration the word terror is fungible. If Saudi Arabia commits an act of indisputable terror, Washington is not quite sure who is behind that particular act of terror but though they say they don’t know who did it, they are sure it is Iran or some other ‘Islamists.’ This is a charade. How can America get Muslim support around the world when it supports such horrific acts and rulers who torture and kill their own people and expect to be believed when it accuses the IRGC and by association Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah, possibly the most admired Muslim leader in the Muslim world?

Q: So if Khashoggi’s killing was an act of terror, is the U.S. a party to terror for protecting MBS and his murderous henchmen?

A: You mean guilt by association? To me the U.S. is rapidly losing all credibility in the Middle East. Yes, of course if the U.S. supports MBS and the Al-Sauds Washington must take some responsibility for their horrendous policies.

Q: Can Iran categorize many U.S. entities as sponsors of terror—uninvited covert operations, drone attacks, support of Saudi terrorist acts in Yemen and elsewhere and so on?

A: I believe that now that the U.S. has taken the step of naming the IRGC a terrorist outfit, then Iran can name many branches of the U.S. armed forces that conduct covert operations, drone attacks and kill innocent civilians as terrorist organizations and deal with them as the U.S. deals with the IRGC. Iran might well respond by naming the U.S. Central Command as a terrorist organization operating in the Persian Gulf and in the greater Middle East, the Navy Seals, the CIA and on and on.

Q: Can Iran attack U.S. entities it considers acting in terror?

A: If the U.S. adopts such a policy, then Iran has every right to do the same and reciprocate.

Q: Where was the U.S when Iran was invaded by Iraq? 

A: The U.S. said and did nothing when Saddam Hussain invaded Iran. The U.S. in fact made sure that the United Nations did nothing. Even worse, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia led the global effort to isolate Iran.

Q: Who supplied Iraq with internationally banned chemical weapons? Was this an act of terror?

A: This was a truly shameful episode in U.S. and Western history. U.S. and Europeans facilitated the transfer of internationally outlawed chemical weapons to Saddam Hussain as the best way he could defend Iraq after the Iranians pushed his forces back. The number of Iranians gassed, with thousands killed and even more severely disabled and relegated to oxygen tanks, is a constant reminder of the hypocrisy in international rule of law and the pretensions of the sanctimonious Western powers.

Q: Who defended Iran?

A: The IRGC. It was the IRGC that kept Iran together in the face of foreign onslaught. They are an integral part of the Iranian armed forces. Iranians respect what they did during the war. If you call them terrorists, then the armies of the greater powers are super terrorists.

Q: How could all this affect the U.S. position and its future in the Middle East?

A: I think that the Trump administration has sowed the seeds for the expulsion of the U.S. from the Middle East by continuing to back illegitimate Muslim dictators and going all in with Israel to rob Arabs of their political and human rights and in turn their dignity. Everyone has a limit. Arabs will soon reach that limit if Netanyahu is reelected, if Israel continues with its declaration of sovereignty over the Golan Heights, if it annexes and declares sovereignty over the West Bank, takes over the Temple Mount and annexes the Haram esh-Sharif and the rest of the Al Aqsa compound. In this eventuality, the Muslim World, two billion strong, will turn its anger against Israel, the U.S. and against their rulers who serve Western interests. Needless to say, the U.S. is no longer seen as an honest broker in the Middle East.

Eventually Muslims will resist the oppression they face. There is the Prophetic saying that on the Day of Reckoning the oppressor, the oppressed, and the person(s) who stood by and observed the oppression will be called upon to answer: the oppressor for oppression, the oppressed for not resisting the oppression, and the bystander for not assisting the oppressed.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

A: Yes. It is indeed ironic that the Persian King, Cyrus the Great, saved the Jews from extinction, and now Netanyahu wants to do all he can to destroy the Persians. Mr. Netanyahu should put on his thinking cap and recall an evident fact. Iran or Persia will be where it is long after he has departed this world. He should study the tragedies that Jews have faced throughout their history and not initiate something that Jews may regret. He and Israel should be aware of the dangers of hubris.
 

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