Biggest Winners From Obama's Deals: Cuba's MINFAR and Iran's Revolutionary Guard

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Sadly, the biggest winners in Obama's Cuba and Iran deals are the Castro regime's Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR) and the Mullah's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp. (IRGC).

Obama's new policy of "dictator-down-economics" -- centered on increased travel and trade through the regime's monopolies -- has one overwhelming beneficiary: Castro's MINFAR.

The MINFAR controls practically every hard-currency transaction in Cuba, with travel industry being its bread and butter.

According to Hotels Magazine, Gaviota, S.A., owned by the MINFAR, is the largest hotel conglomerate in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's comparable in size to The Walt Disney Company's hotel room holdings. The head of this conglomerate is General Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, Raul Castro's son-in-law.

McLatchy Newspapers encapsulated the wide extent of this business network as follows, "tourists who sleep in some of Cuba's hotels, drive rental cars, fill up their gas tanks, and even those riding in taxis have something in common: They are contributing to the [Cuban] Revolutionary Armed Forces' bottom line."

This the same MINFAR was recently been caught twice internationally-smuggling heavy weaponry, including the worst sanctions violations ever to North Korea; that oversee the most egregious abuses of human rights in the Western Hemisphere; that are subverting democracy in Venezuela and exporting surveillance systems and technology to other countries in the region; that allow Russian military intelligence ships to dock in their ports; that share intelligence with he world's most dangerous anti-American regimes; and of which three senior Cuban military officers remain indicted in the United States for the murder of four Floridians.

That's why U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) have introduced the Cuban Military Transparency Act, which seeks to curtail Obama's windfall for the MINFAR.

And now, Iran's nefarious IRGC will get its prize.

By Afshon Ostovar in Politico:

Why Iran’s revolutionary guard is happy

The IRGC supported the nuclear deal for a reason. It may only strengthen them.

The nuclear deal was a victory for voices of diplomacy in Iran. It was also a victory for Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC was never outwardly bullish on a deal, but the criticism of its top commanders (with some exceptions) was held to a low murmur. Some pundits will point to that criticism as evidence that the IRGC was against the deal from the start. But that’s incorrect. Because without the support of the IRGC a deal could have never been reached.

Now we should ask ourselves why, and what the IRGC’s game will be going forward. Sanctions hit the IRGC hard and it is unsurprising to see that the organization stands to have many of the sanctions imposed upon it lifted as part of a deal. Beyond sanctions, a deal also fits with the IRGC’s strategic goals. For the IRGC, the nuclear program was first and foremost about establishing a credible deterrent against the United States. The deal essentially takes the option of military action by the United States off the table. With Washington no longer a threat, the IRGC will be free to concentrate its sources on other enemies and strategic concerns, particularly in the region—as even President Obama appeared to acknowledge in his news conference on Wednesday when he said there was a “likelihood” that groups such as Hezbollah would get more Iranian money once it is freed up [...]

[T]he IRGC—like the Iranian people—will have its own high expectations for what should follow a deal. With many of the sanctions removed against it and its commanders, including Qasem Soleimani—who is accused of helping Shiite militias in Iraq kill American soldiers—the IRGC will want to double-down on its activities in the Middle East. More resources, more funding, and more options for procurement, and added legitimacy will help the IRGC both arm itself and support its clients. The organization was already committed to securing its interests in Syria and Iraq, the lifting of nuclear-based sanctions and the opening up of Iran’s economy will undoubtedly strengthen the IRGC’s ability to do so.