London, 4 Jan – The US should not be debating whether to tweet support for the protesters in Iran or just keep quiet until it all blows over. The US needs to take direct action and fast.
When the US was removing Saddam Hussein from Iraq and looking for the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for planning 9/11 (who were as it turns out be sheltered by the Iranian Regime), the Iranian Regime did not simply express its disapproval via the internet: it killed a lot of American troops.
The US Central Command states that 500 US personnel in Iraq (roughly 10% of US casualties) were killed by Iranian actors like Hezbollah and the Quds Force. Roughly 300 of these troops were killed through the use of explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) that were introduced into the war by Iran.
EFPs are improvised explosive devices that can penetrate even the most elaborate armour and thousands more were injured because of them. They are very effective against well-armoured troops, particularly if the person deploying them does not have such armour, and can destroy morale if used against carefully selected targets.
Stewart A. Baker, former first Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security and former general counsel of the National Security Agency, wrote an op-ed for Lawfare Blog advising that the US might consider supplying the Iranian protesters with these weapons.
He wrote: “If anyone in the world deserves to understand just how devastating [EFPs are], it’s the folks who have used their monopoly on guns and tanks to kill protesters, especially since they’re the same folks who brought EFPs to the streets of the Middle East.”
He continued: “I’m sure there are plenty of pearl-clutching reasons to think twice before we provide EFPs and related technology to Iran’s protesters. It might crater the nuclear deal. It could lead to revenge attacks on American forces or leaders elsewhere in the world. It may violate some law professor’s idea of what the law of armed conflict permits. Perhaps the Iranian opposition isn’t ready, organizationally or psychologically, to use EFPs yet. Maybe so.
But to tell the truth, right now, all I really want is for the Iranian government and its murderous stooges to know that sending a few of Iran’s EFPs back home is on our list of options.”
This op-ed attracted a response from Lawfare editor Benjamin Wittes, who criticised it for treating the issue with little sobriety and providing no legal analysis.
Baker responded by stating that his post only had one point; to remember how the Regime treated US soldiers and to support those who rally against the murderers.