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Trump’s actions deliberately hostile, confrontational

Tehran, A US retired commander described US President Donald Trump's actions as deliberately hostile and confrontational, saying that he is consistently ramping up the rhetoric and escalating tension.

In an interview in New York on Tuesday, Leah Bolger warned that the Trump administration has made this designation in order to provide a justification for armed conflict.

Full text of the interview reads as follow:

1 The US has designated Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, in an unprecedented step aimed at escalating Washington's campaign of maximum pressure. Do you think this is a move with any significant consequences on the ground? Or do you see this as part of the Trump administration's psychological warfare against Tehran?

One of Trump's first acts was to withdraw from the Nuclear Deal, which makes absolutely no sense if the intent is to maintain peaceful, diplomatic relations. He is consistently ramping up the rhetoric and escalating tension. Trump's actions seem to be deliberately hostile and confrontational, and I fear that the Trump administration has made this designation in order to provide a justification for armed conflict.

2 According to news sources, Pentagon and CIA officials have reportedly cautioned against this move, fearing that it could lead to backlash against US forces stationed in the Middle East. How do you see the position of Pentagon and American generals concerning the Trump administration's move to label the Revolutionary Guards as a terror organization? What do you think about the consequences for the US troops in the region?

From the day Donald Trump was inaugurated he has either ignored the advice of experts and career professionals, or has fired those who disagree with him (Secretary of Defense, General Mattis, for example) and replaced them with yes men. In this case, the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization was pushed by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor Bolton, two extreme right wing war hawks. This designation serves no positive purpose; it is a provocation and has already led to an increase in tension between the two nations. In quick response, Iran designated US military forces as a terrorist entity.

3 Do you think that the US next step could be targeting the Revolutionary Guards forces and commanders in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria?

Unfortunately, this seems highly likely to me. The US already has combat forces in these countries, and since the IRGC have been deemed terrorists, they could now be considered fair game.

4 On Wednesday, during a Senate hearing, Senator Rand Paul asked Pompeo if the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which allowed for U.S. troops to fight entities responsible for the 9/11 attacks and associated forces, included Iran. Pompeo declined to directly answer the question, but he claimed that there is no doubt there's a connection between the Iranian government and alQaeda'. How do you read Pompeo's evasive response to Senator Rand Paul's question? Why is he claiming the link between alQaeda and Iran?

The 2001 AUMF, approved just 7 days after the 9/11 attacks, was illegal from the beginning because it authorized war on an ideology, not an enemy state. In the 17.5 years since, has been used to illegally authorize war in Afghanistan, Syria, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, UAE and Yemen, killing up to 4 million Muslims.* It is obvious that the Trump administration is connecting Iran, alQaeda and terrorist, in order to portray Iran as an enemy, and to justify further punitive measures, perhaps even war.

* Leah Bolger retired in 2000 from the US Navy at the rank of Commander after twenty years of active duty service. Her career included duty stations in Iceland, Bermuda, Japan and Tunisia and in 1997, was chosen to be the Navy Military Fellow at the MIT Security Studies program. Leah received an MA in National Security and Strategic Affairs from the Naval War College in 1994. After retirement, she became very active in Veterans For Peace, including election as the first woman national president in 2012. Later that year, she was part of a 20person delegation to Pakistan to meet with the victims of US drones strikes. She is the creator and coordinator of the Drones Quilt Project, a traveling exhibit which serves to educate the public, and recognize the victims of US combat drones. In 2013 she was selected to present the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Memorial Peace Lecture at Oregon State University. Currently she serves as the Chair of the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA

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