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9 Apr, 2019 05:26

‘Major miscalculation’ in Netanyahu’s support: Where can declaring IRGC terrorists push Middle East?

‘Major miscalculation’ in Netanyahu’s support: Where can declaring IRGC terrorists push Middle East?

Seeking to put pressure on Iran, the US might shoot itself in the foot as it sets a dangerous precedent that could imperil the lives of American soldiers in the Middle East and plunge the region into a new big war, analysts warn.

In its overzealous push to force Tehran into compliance with US demands, Washington has found itself one clue short of a potential disaster. However, it appears to disregard the fact that its reckless actions might send the Middle East spiraling out of control at any moment and could lead to disastrous consequences, that would cost the US dearly.

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With its latest decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – an elite unit of the Iranian Armed Forces – as a terrorist organization, Washington has crossed a red line and set a “precedent that has been avoided at all costs up until now,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.

The US decision has theoretically opened the way for any nation to formally designate other countries’ military forces as terrorists – a development that could lead to global chaos. And the US could well turn out to be the first to suffer as its own strategy backfires.

‘Shoot on sight’

Washington has decided to go after the IRGC because it feels that the corps spreads its “terrorist” influence through various groups in other countries it supports. But that is pretty-much what the US itself is doing when it sends its troops to places likes Syria or Iraq, where they lend assistance to various militant groups that could well turn out to be extremists, Maloof explains.

Also on rt.com Tit for tat: Iran’s Supreme Security Council puts US troops on its terrorist groups list

Now, Washington has opened up an avenue for other nations to call out American policies. "It is a slippery slope. It can backfire," he warned.

What happens if Iran or any other country declares the US troops in Syria a terrorist group? That means to shoot on sight.

A response was not long in coming. Hours after US President Donald Trump announced his decision, Iran's Supreme National Security Council designated America's Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist group and called Washington a "terrorist government" in a mirror response.

Maloof warned that now Iran could also encourage its allies in the region to go after American troops.

It puts the US troops in a very precarious position. They can be subjected even to execution if they are captured and brought to trial.

Big war looming?

Trump's decision drastically lowers the threshold for military confrontation and could lead to a major conflict in the Middle East, political analyst Seyyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm believes.

"As soon as Washington's decision is communicated to the US Army, they would target the IRGC on the ground and the IRGC would definitely defend itself," he told RT. "Security consequences will be grave."

As both sides have forces in Syria and Iraq as well as in the Persian Gulf area, the situation could easily "spiral out of control as a result of the slightest mistake or misfire," the analyst warned. "This decision could be a game changer, but not in the way desired by Trump but in terms of escalating tensions between the two sides putting them on the brink of war."

Backing Netanyahu is a 'major miscalculation'

By designating the IRGC a terrorist group right ahead of the Israeli elections, Trump apparently also planned to boost support for his ally and Iran's fiercest opponent, Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces tough competition at home, the analysts believe. While Trump hopes that his adamant support for the current Israeli prime minister would help him win American Jews' votes next year, he might lose more with this bargain than he could possibly gain.

"It is a gift to help Netanyahu in his elections," said Foad Izadi, a political communications professor at the University of Tehran. "The timing has a lot to do with the Israeli elections, in which the US is actually interfering."

However, by cozying up to Tel Aviv, Washington alienates other players in the region and weakens its position globally, Seyed Mohammad Marandi, political analyst and professor at the University of Tehran, believes.

It is a major miscalculation.

A string of openly provocative actions that clearly favor Israel has pushed people in the Middle East away from the US and closer to Iran, at the same time uniting Iranians in their pushback against the US, Marandi explained. Trump's other blunders, like his continued row with Turkey, are also likely to make Ankara friendlier towards Tehran, the analyst believes.

Also on rt.com Trump declaring IRGC terrorists cheered by hawks, slammed as ‘step toward conflict’ by critics

"Designating IRGC as terrorists might make Trump think that he is able to attack Iran without any excuse needed. But he is the only one who thinks so," Izadi noted, adding that even Trump's closest allies might not be as supportive as he'd like. And independent nations like Russia and China are bound to see the US as an increasing threat.

Ultimately, Trump's policies would lead only to greater isolation of Washington as "his behavior both in the US and across the globe is recognized by most people as erratic and unreasonable," Marandi said.

"Trump is eventually hurting the US more than anything else."

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