Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is very active in the United States and “the FBI and our nation’s policy of watching but not disrupting is going to haunt us in the future,” author Steven O’Hern tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
“There’s a great deal of representation by Hezbollah, its chief proxy in the United States,” O’Hern, a retired Air Force colonel, tells Newsmax. “Hezbollah operatives have been found in several large cities, as well as smaller areas.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
“The most prevalent, the most well-known cell is probably the Charlotte, North Carolina, cell – which the perpetrators there were convicted after being detected smuggling cigarettes, but then the FBI also discovered they were carrying out military training and providing funds to Hezbollah and to Lebanon.
“The FBI has focused a lot of its efforts through joint terrorism task forces that operate in major cities throughout the nation,” O’Hern added. “These are combinations of FBI agents and other federal agents as well as local law enforcement officers.
“But the problem that we face now is that there are so many Hezbollah operatives, and the FBI and our nation’s policy of watching but not disrupting is going to haunt us in the future.”
O’Hern, who served 30 years in the Air Force, is the author of the book, “Iran's Revolutionary Guard: The Threat That Grows While America Sleeps.
” The Kansas attorney also wrote 2008’s “Intelligence Wars: Lessons from Baghdad,” based on his service in Iraq in 2005 as a senior intelligence officer.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, more formally known as the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, was founded after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Though charged with protecting the country's Islamic system, the Guard has taken on a more aggressive role under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – and the autonomous terror group has conducted numerous attacks against Americans.
These include the 1983 attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 241, and the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996 that killed 19 American servicemen and one Saudi soldier. The Group also has struck in Paris, Buenos Aires, among other cities.
“It’s very prevalent in Africa and Europe, but people would probably be more scared because it’s not only present in Latin America, but throughout South America and Central America,” O’Hern tells Newsmax. “The Revolutionary Guard is unique in that it has pursued a policy of non-attribution since the early 1990s. It also has evolved from a force that was designed to protect the clerics who were in charge of the Islamic regime to essentially being the true power in Islamic regime.
“They not only provide the security and the military force, they are the decision-makers and they control much of the economy, they are very involved in the politics of Iran,” he added. “So you have a force that has never really been retaliated against who, essentially, has the levers and controls of a nuclear program now, not just terrorism, in their hands. There’s an additional aspect of that.
“They have shown a surprising ability to act in what we would consider not a rational manner. And these are the same people who came up with the human wave attacks that they used against Iraqi forces. And they’re always happy to send others to their death.
“They’ve talked openly in the Iranian press about what acceptable losses are, which means millions of Iranian deaths,” O’Hern said. “And they see that as an acceptable exchange if a nuclear exchange were to happen between them and Israel, or them and the United States.”
The Guard has a major role in the current Mideast conflict.
“The IRGC is the main conduit for the weapons in Gaza that both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been using against Israel,” O’Hern said. “The technology that Iran claims was provided is more than technology. It’s actually boots on the ground, advisers.
“It’s providing them with longer-range rockets, which were used this time as opposed to some shorter-range rockets that they’ve provided in the past. And they are constantly attempting to, and succeeding in, supplying that technology to Hamas, especially in Gaza.”
And despite worldwide condemnation of Ahmadinejad and Iran’s current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the hope that they will be swept from power anytime soon is futile, O’Hern said.
“It would mean a lot if could occur, but the Revolutionary Guard exists explicitly to prevent such an event. The difference between the Revolutionary Guard and the way Egypt handled the Arab Spring is that in Egypt, they were unwilling to kill hundreds – perhaps thousands, perhaps tens of thousands – of their citizens.
“The Revolutionary Guard shows no such compunction,” O’Hern added. “They will stay in power – and use any means possible to do that.”
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