US & Regional Partners Pressure Iran’s Quds Force to “abandon its destructive role in the region”

 by Azita Carlson

Recently, Iran’s Quds Force fired some 20 rockets from the Syrian Golan heights at Israeli military outposts. Most of the rockets were intercepted. Israel responded by attacking dozens of Iranian targets across Syria in what the military called the most extensive strike in the in decades.

During the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) the Quds Force was established to undertake secret operations inside Iraq, according to Manish Rai, a columnist for Middle-East and Af-Pak region and Editor of geo-political news agency, in his article for Ekurd Daily. He writes, “But now after almost three decades of its establishment QF is considered as one of the most powerful security agencies in the Middle East. The Quds Force is one of the five branches of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and often refer as IRGC-QF. QF can be best described as a hybrid organisation which perform the task of an intelligence agency and a special force both. The IRGC-QF is the Iranian mullah regime primary foreign action arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist organizations and extremist groups around the region.”

The Quds force protects Iranian interests and safeguards its country, but Rai claims, “it’s primary motive is to push Iranian regimes agenda in the region. QF is always in search of an opportunity where it can destabilize a fragile state to make it an Iranian satellite like it did in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. The Quds Force is the secretive spearhead of Iran’s push for hegemony in the Middle East.”

It is believed that the Quds Force has been training and equipping terrorist groups around the Middle East for decades, and is responsible for terrorist acts around the world. It is also accused of providing military and financial support to Islamist opposition organizations in Muslim countries, organizing operations against the Iranian opposition in exile, and the infiltration of foreign political parties, social groups and religious organizations.

Rai writes, “Its agents also engage in the surveillance of foreign government officials, religious officials and speakers to spot sympathizers which can be used either directly or as deep assets.”

In Lebanon and Iraq, the Quds Force is accused of exploiting the democratic process — using it to enhance the status of the the militias supported by Iran. This allows Iran to put pressure on the political leadership of these countries to accept Iran hegemony. Reportedly, Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Suleimani reports directly to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. QF has offices in many Iranian embassies around the world.

In 2007, the United States Treasury Department designated the Quds force as a material supporter of terrorism. Rai believes that the US administration should go much further. He wants the Quds force along with its parent organization, the IRGC, to be put on the US State Department’s list of designated terrorist organizations.

He writes, “(the) United States along with its regional strategic partners like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the other Sunni Arab states that share a common interest in countering Iran’s threatening ambitions should carve out an effective strategy to contain this Iranian agency. The should be a joint and coordinated efforts to put pressure on Quds Force to abandon its destructive role in the region.”