Skip to comments.Iran's Elite Military Force Fears Security Threat From Within
Posted on 12/29/2007 5:47:18 AM PST by nuconvert
Iran's Elite Military Force Fears Security Threat From Within
December 28, 2007
The Financial Times
Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran
It has been accused of playing a role in arming Shia militia in Iraq and threatened with being labelled a "terrorist organisation" by the US, but Iran's Revolutionary Guard - the country's elite military force - believes that domestic security threats represent a much greater danger to the country than the international crisis surrounding its nuclear programme.
Mohammad-Ali Jafari, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, said shortly after he took his new job in September: "The main mission of the guards is currently fighting domestic threats and in case there is a foreign threat we will join the [conventional] army."
To that end he has embarked on a so-called "structural reform" in the guards, part of which is to integrate the Basij Resistance Force - the 12.5m-strong volunteer force which had operated as a separate arm of the Guards - more closely into its operations.
Located in 70,000 bases in government organisations, mosques and universities Basij members, the eyes and ears of the Islamic republic, act as custodians of the 1979 revolution. Their influence in the recruitment into the organisations where they are based means they are viewed by some as intimidating forces.
Mr Jafari has taken overall responsibility for the Basij, having removed the former head of the force. He hopes it will almost double in strength to 20m members in the next decade although analysts say that at the moment just 3m are military-trained.
The 125,000-strong IRGC consist of land, naval and air forces and two separate arms - the Basij unit and Quds Brigade. The latter is comprised of a few thousand well-trained forces involved in overseas operations. But the backbone of the IRGC is its land force.
Supporting a stronger role for the Basij, Kayhan newspaper, a mouthpiece for fundamentalists, last month said: "The biggest threats against the future of the regime from now on have a soft nature in which domestic players have a key role." Hosein Taeb, a deputy head of Basij, lists the threats as "a 'velvet revolution', political invasion and penetration into the ruling system [a clear reference to reformists]".
This year, the regime has arrested hundreds of students, feminists, NGO activists, academics, teachers and labourers for taking part in rallies or for allegedly having links with opponents of the regime outside the country. Many have been released but the arrests have created an intimidating atmosphere.
A greater role for the Revolutionary Guard in the Basij has led some to fear a fresh clampdown on internal dissent. Going under the direct command of Mr Jafari will probably include more training on how to monitor and curb domestic unrest.
Iran also faces separatist moves by Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis and to a lesser extent Azeris in border provinces.
Iran has accused the US of being behind some ethnic unrest.
Warning that threats against the Islamic regime have become "more complicated and extensive than before", Mr Jafari has said that the change in the Basij is backed by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is chief commander of armed forces and has the last say in state affairs.
"[The] supreme leader has concerns for the future of this country, while he doesn't trust urban forces [groups seeking social change], intellectuals and technocrats," said one analyst.
"He has pinned his hopes on two forces: the masses for who he has prescribed social justice and the revolutionary guards who are his means to carry out his policies and foil threats."
Fundamentalists believe some reformists behave as the fifth column for the enemy inside the country and have to be banned from any political activity including forthcoming parliamentary elections in March.
Although the constitution bans armed forces from involvement in politics, many reformists allege Basij forces were mobilised to support President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad when he won the 2005 election, encouraging people to vote for him.
"The meaningful involvement of the IRGC in politics started as of 1997 when [former reformist president Mohammad] Khatami was elected, something [political involvement] didn't exist before or was very weak," said another analyst.
Oh hum, in the meantime, I’ll await the sounds of revolt from the masses that oppose the Mullahcrazy. Hopefully they’ll give the IRGC something to do that is more dangerous than arresting women who don’t wear scarfs, and hanging 16 yr olds.
“Oh hum, in the meantime, Ill await the sounds of revolt from the masses that oppose the Mullahcrazy. Hopefully theyll give the IRGC something to do that is more dangerous than arresting women who dont wear scarfs, and hanging 16 yr olds.”
DOn’t forget the gays.
Ahmacrazyraghed is living on borrowed time. The masses will want Freedom and an overthrow is coming.
Pray for W and Our Freedom Fightesr
Stop teasing me, kids. Get ‘er done!
Iran’s Elite Military Force Fears Security Threat From Within
Let’s all pitch in and send them T-shirts with D’OH! printed on them.
The past several years would indicate that “elite” is an Arabic word for “about to get its ass kicked”.
The Worthy Oriental Gentlemen of this area do not operate as close to the surface of any situation as we westerners. The most duplicitous of our diplomats wouldn't last 30 seconds trading carpets or selling beans in any souk in the ME.
Even their languages are impenetrable because they avoid any definitive meaning for anything. They are allegorical, metaphorical, allusional, contextual, and almost totally useless in conveying information between cultures. As a practical matter, The Worthy Oriental Gentlemen are either at your feet or at your throat. Shoot the high one, kick the low one.
New Year’s movie for you Ahmadinejad.
(Hint: We know your secrets.)