Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Passes

Kyl-Lieberman Amendment passed today with a vote of 76 to 22.

Senators who voted against the resolution were Senators Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Brown, Byrd, Cantwell, Dodd, Feingold, Hagel, Harkin, Inouye, Kennedy, Kerry, Klobuchar, Leahy, Lincoln, Lugar, McCaskill, Sanders, Tester, Webb and Wyden.

Senators Obama and McCain did not vote on the resolution. Click here for the full Roll Call vote.

Senators Lieberman and Kyl dropped paragraphs 3 and 4 under Section (b), the Sense of Senate section, in attempts to alleviate concerns that the resolution might be taken as an authorization for the use of force against Iran.

Senator Webb stood up once again to oppose the bill, noting that if the administration proceeds as recommended in the resolution, it would be the first time that the US has designated an entire military as a terrorist organization and this could be taken as a defacto authorization for use of force. Mr. Webb again noted that there has not been one hearing on this matter and that the amendment should be withdrawn and considered in the appropriate committees.

Designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization will only undermine US security interests, including hampering talks with Iran over Iraq security.

The IRGC is both a political and military force in Iran and its members are deeply embedded in the country’s political and economic structure. It is not clear who controls the force, though they are under the nominal control of the Supreme Leader. They act as self-appointed guardians of the revolution and they operate as a vast and nebulous network that usually does not act in unison or take a single position. The IRGC is it is very much a reflection of the disparities in Iran now. There are those who want increased engagement and openness and those who do not.

If the US designates the IRGC a terrorist organization, it will likely undermine any proponents of reform and moderation inside Iran. The designation is also likely to undermine proponents of engagement with the US and the West. The designation of the IRGC on the terrorist list could also bring a backlash against Iranian citizens working for democracy and reform.

The members of the IRGC who are responsible for their expansion into the economic arena, espcially the oil and gas sector are badly affected by the economic isolation and sanctions because they need external expertise and support. On the other hand, members of the IRGC who are involved in nefarious activities, including oil smuggling and other clandestine activities have no interest in increased engagement. For them the isolation is a boon.

US policies that encourage isolation will only play directly into the hands of those who want isolation in Iran and undermine the moderates and middle ground.


mezamashii said...

I see you labeled this "War drums"
How apt.

John Shreffler said...

This puts the IRGC firmly under the 2001 AUMF. Bombs away!