IN THE MEDIA
Brutal attack upon Israel not possible without Iran backing
Oct 18, 2023 | Oved Lobel
Canberra Times – 18 October 2023
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are two of the six Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “armies outside [Iran’s] borders that work for it,” said Major General Gholam Ali Rashid in September 2021, citing the late commander of the IRGC Qods Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
On October 7, these two “armies” and their sister organisations, also entirely reliant on the IRGC for weapons, training and funding, invaded Israel from land, sea and air and perpetrated the worst terrorist atrocity in recent memory – in Israel or anywhere else – slaughtering at least 1200 Israeli men, women and children and kidnapping more than 150, in an orgy of systematic slaughter reminiscent of the worst Islamic State massacres.
If any further evidence were needed, and it wasn’t, that the IRGC is at root a murderous terrorist organisation at the head of a network of other murderous terrorist organisations, this is it. Senior Hamas and Hezbollah officials told the Wall Street Journal that the IRGC was involved in planning the attack at every stage and signed off on it in Beirut.
For now, in order to try to keep Iran out of the war, Israel and the United States have not yet explicitly blamed Iran for directing the attack, although clearly such an attack would not be possible without IRGC training, weapons and funds, as both have noted. However, for anyone who knows how the IRGC’s so-called “resistance axis” operates, it is self-evident that the IRGC was directly involved and shares responsibility for the attacks.
It defies all logic that Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah, three organisations that are wholly dependent upon and beholden to – and in the case of the latter two, essentially branches of – the IRGC, should be listed under Australia’s Criminal Code while the IRGC itself escapes listing. This is before one even mentions the IRGC’s long-standing and deep relationship with Al-Qaeda.
The legal basis for the Government’s refusal to list the IRGC under the Criminal Code relies on a highly dubious interpretation of a single paragraph in a judgement by the Supreme Court of South Australia in the case of Islamic State operative Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif: “A nation or its government is not a body corporate… Nor is a nation, or its population, treated as an unincorporated association under Australian statutes or the common law.”
However, the IRGC is neither a nation nor the government or population of a nation. It is not even the armed forces of a nation. Iran has a regular military. This is completely separate from the IRGC, which is not directly under the authority of the government and parliament of Iran, only the Supreme Leader. So this court decision has no obvious relationship to listing the organisation as a terrorist group.
Even if it did, however, legislation is not gospel and can be changed, something the Senate report released on February 1 based on an inquiry last year into “the human rights implications of recent violence in Iran” noted when it recommended the listing of the IRGC. Labor has rejected making any of the allegedly necessary legislative changes.
The IRGC very clearly meets all legislative and non-legislative criteria for listing under the Criminal Code, so the Government’s determination to avoid listing it is hard to comprehend.
Also hard to understand is this Government’s refusal to coordinate with partners and allies both rhetorically and practically against the Islamic Republic over the past year. While many of our allies have imposed ten or more rounds of sanctions on the regime, including targeting its increasing military aid to Russia, the Australian Government has imposed far fewer sanctions packages, far more slowly and on far fewer individuals and entities. It has imposed none over Iranian involvement in Russia’s war against Ukraine since March.
The Government has also demonstrated apparent disinterest towards Iran and Iranians when, in what seems like a reprehensible redux of Mahsa Amini’s murder last September, 16-year-old Iranian girl Armita Garavand fell into a coma after allegedly being assaulted by female “morality police” on the Tehran metro on October 1 for not wearing her hijab. She has been under heavy guard at a military hospital in Tehran and it was recently reported that she has been declared brain dead.
Many Western officials were quick to express shock and condemnation, including US deputy special envoy for Iran Abram Paley, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly. Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Nasser Kanaani also attacked the UK Government for its remarks on the case.
Australia’s Government, as usual, has failed to comment on Garavand.
In Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, the Palestinian Territories, Israel and Ukraine, the IRGC has overseen and abetted mass slaughter, displacement, oppression, kidnapping and terrorism. The American State Department recently called on every country to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, but even without such a public call, it clearly belongs on the list.