The International Crisis Group (ICG) is an organization that was established in 1995 to study violent conflicts and propose solutions for them. It presents itself as an independent and impartial think tank on the global stage, providing advice to governments and institutions like the UN, the World Bank, and the EU by offering them information and analysis. Its main headquarters are in Brussels, and it has representative offices in various locations, such as Washington, New York, Bangkok, Tripoli, Beirut, Cairo, Dakar, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Kabul, London, Mexico City, and Seoul.
All the members of the board of trustees of this organization are influential politicians and capitalists with strong connections within the governmental structures of the US and other Western nations. They have significant access to influential policy circles. The track record of some members suggests that this organization cooperates closely with the US government and its Western allies. Currently, George Soros and his son Alexander Soros are listed on the International Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees. Robert Malley, the former Special Representative for Iran in the US, has been the President and CEO of this group. Federica Mogherini, the former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Meghan O’Sullivan, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan in the US, Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO, Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, are also members of this organization.
According to the texts of reports presented by experts from this organization, impartiality is merely a means to legitimize actions aimed at infiltrating the social and political structures of targeted countries, primarily led by the US targeted countries are either considered enemies of the US or are evaluated as undesirable for Washington’s national interests. These countries include China, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, North Korea, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.
The primary objective of the Crisis Group is to foment a crisis
Contrary to its stated purpose of managing crises and providing solutions, this organization’s actual activities and reports seem to aim at destabilization as one of its main goals. It exploits crisis indicators to further its agenda and has actively tried to spread these crises across the country, especially during critical moments like recent protests.
For example, the organization has focused on turning natural disparities in Iran into social fault lines, a topic that national security services consistently monitor. Consequently, the studies and recommendations produced predominantly cater to espionage and information services, aiming to undermine the existing order in these regions. This shows that their real objective is not just to address crises, but rather to identify potential crises that help create a cognitive warfare infrastructure supported by Western-sponsored media.
One of their reports, titled “Iran’s Khuzestan: Thirst and Turmoil,” thoroughly examines the situation in Khuzestan. It not only provides a detailed account of the challenges faced by the province, but also presents a somewhat biased portrayal of these issues. The report specifically emphasizes the difficulties that the Islamic Republic of Iran encounters in resolving these problems and highlights the issue of Iranian ethnicities, including Arabs and other ethnic groups.
A careful analysis of anti-Iranian media, backed by the US and its allies, in recent years clearly demonstrates that one of the central strategies to advance the agenda of regime change or fragmentation in Iran is to exacerbate ethnic and religious divisions within the country. These reports actively contribute to this agenda, employing various tools and techniques. These perspectives have been expressed before in other American think tanks and institutions like FDD, and the only discernible approach is to fuel discord and exploit existing differences.
In alignment with US policies regarding the JCPOA
The Crisis Group managed to play a significant role in the negotiations leading to the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, between Iran and the P5+1. This group engaged with both Western powers and Iran through consultative efforts, using constructive and impartial proposals as a pretext to address areas of disagreement. However, the release of a document titled “Solving the Nuclear Rubik’s Cube” several months before the signing of the JCPOA by the International Crisis Group raised suspicions that the group’s involvement was meticulously orchestrated by the White House, serving its interests. Furthermore, the recommendations outlined in the nuclear negotiations reports consistently urged Iran to make concessions.
For instance, as a sample, Iran was suggested to open up its monitoring processes and provide access as requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a move seen by some as a result of manipulation and pretextual maneuvers by the Zionist regime. This recommendation essentially aimed to grant the IAEA broader oversight, in line with the agency’s demands.
Furthermore, in the early stages of the JCPOA negotiations in 2013, the report “ Spider Web: The Making and Unmaking of Iran Sanctions” attempted to convey the idea that American sanctions against Iran were used as a tool for altering Iran’s behavior. It stated: “For now, the priority is devising a menu of meaningful, realistic sanctions relief to match meaningful, realistic nuclear concessions.”
In another context, despite former US president Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, it is suggested that Iran is perceived as the party responsible for the JCPOA violation by the US. Iran is expected to return to the JCPOA while the US takes no immediate action: “Iran developing a timetable, in consultation with the JCPOA’s Joint Commission and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to completely reverse its breaches of the nuclear deal within two to three months. Tehran will need to dismantle excess centrifuges and blend down or ship out the enriched uranium stockpiles that go beyond what the deal allows.”
Another clear example that underscores the interventionist methods aligned with the foreign policy objectives of this country is the report titled “On Thin Ice: The Iran Nuclear Deal at Three,” issued in December 2018. This report advises Iran to move towards regional alignment within the framework of the JCPOA and reminds Tehran of the White House’s extrajudicial demands, stating:
“Iran should not test the JCPOA’s boundaries or escalate regional tensions…Arguably the most likely place to start is Yemen, where UN-sponsored talks offer a genuine hope for de-escalation and potential resolution of the four-year-long conflict… Iran’s regional discussions with the E4 (the E3 plus Italy) should be deepened and broadened to other security issues of common interest beyond Yemen.”
This is while Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State under the Biden administration, needs to explicitly outline his and Biden’s stance on Iran, which ultimately may not lead to the lifting of sanctions, considering their implications for regional and missile negotiations.
Another notable aspect observed in the content of these reports is the deliberate undermining of national security and territorial integrity of target countries, including Iran. Portraying internal conflicts and challenges within a country and simultaneously attempting to highlight the government’s inability to address them based on skewed analyses is a recurring method in the written reports by this group. This approach relies on creating an incongruity between the social fabric, either among the people themselves or between the people and the government. By identifying contentious issues, it provides valuable fodder for Western intelligence services and the Zionist regime to exploit in their efforts to foment violent crises in target countries, primarily for their interests and ultimately for the US as the principal orchestrator. This strategy aims not to resolve rifts but to exacerbate tensions and identify capacities for destabilization against the ruling authority.
Furthermore, it explicitly addresses security threats posed by the US and Israel against Iran, with an attempt to coerce Iran into backtracking from its positions. The International Crisis Group has issued a warning that if Iran and the global powers involved in the JCPOA revival negotiations do not make “significant progress” soon, the JCPOA could reach a “point of no return” and that the US and its allies may resort to “coercive diplomacy” or even “military actions” within a few weeks.
Earlier, during the visit of Israel’s Foreign Minister to the US, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, stated that if diplomatic efforts with Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons fail, “we are prepared to take other (military) options, as the Israeli Foreign Minister has said.”