The Rise of the Pasdaran: Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

The Rise of the Pasdaran: Assessing the Domestic Roles of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780833046208
Publisher: RAND Corporation
Publication date: 02/16/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 154
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Jerrold D. Green (PhD, Political Science, University of Chicago) is director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy and a senior political scientist. His research interests include U.S. foreign policy, Middle East politics, sociopolitical change in developing countries, terrorism and political violence, and Mediterranean security..

Table of Contents

Preface iii

Figures ix

Summary xi

Acknowledgments xix

Abbreviations xxi

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Chapter 2 The IRGC in Context: Iran's Security and Political Landscape 7

The IRGC in Iran's Security Hierarchy 8

Iran's Factional Landscape 13

Chapter 3 The IRGC's Diverse Domestic Roles: Origins and Evolution 19

Postrevolutionary Developments: Consolidating Internal Control 20

The Sacred Defense: The IRGC in the Iran-Iraq War 23

"Popularizing" the IRGC: The Development of the Basij Resistance Force 25

The Guardians of the Revolution: The IRGC's Domestic Intelligence and Security Roles 29

The Merger of Basij and IRGC: A Sign of the Regime's Growing Entrenchment 32

Chapter 4 Militarizing Civil Society: The IRGC's Indoctrination, Training, and Media Activities 35

The IRGC's Ideological Activism: Origins and Development 35

The IRGC Presence in Iran's Education System 38

The "Ten-Million-Man Army": The IRGC's Role in Popular Paramilitary Training 44

Increasing the Basij's Capability to Conduct Asymmetric Homeland Defense 45

Disaster-Relief Training 47

Protection Against Soft Coups 47

Additional Cultural Education 48

The IRGC Media Apparatus: Formal and Informal Influences 49

Censorship of Independent Media Outlets 53

Chapter 5 Economic Expansion: The IRGC's Business Conglomerate and Public Works 55

Origins of the IRGC's Economic Activities 56

Foundations (Bonyads) 57

Construction, Engineering, and Manufacturing Companies 59

Illicit and Black Market Activities 64

Public Works 66

The Dilemmas of Economic Expansion 70

Chapter 6 The IRGC in Politics 77

The Origins of the IRGC as aPolitical Force 77

Ideological Factionalism Inside the IRGC 81

Possible Future Scenarios for the IRGC 89

Scenario 1: The Evolving Role of the Supreme Leader and the Eventual Succession to Khamenei 89

Scenario 2: The "Muslim Reza Khan" 90

Scenario 3: The Religious Turkish Option, or a "Coup by Memorandum" 91

Chapter 7 Conclusion: Toward a More Strategic Understanding of the IRGC 93

The Utility of a Comparative Approach: Pakistan and China 94


A Business Organizations Affiliated with the IRGC or Influenced by IRGC Personnel 99

B Current and Former IRGC Personnel 103

C Evolution of the Islamic Republic and the IRGC 109

D Provincial Map of Iran 113

E Glossary of Persian Terms 115

Bibliography 117

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In reviewing, “Iran: The Rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps,” (IRGC), a 2017 book, it is important to place it in the context of a prior publication by the same authors: National Council of Resistance of Iran U.S. Office (NCRI-US). The 2016 book is “How Iran Fuels Syria War.” That manuscript provides specifics on the IRGC, the Guardians of the 1979 Revolution in Iran. Chapter 6 in the 2016 book depicts financial investment of a humongous amount of money drained from the Iranian domestic economy. Such funding illustrates the commitment Tehran makes to keep the regime of Assad of Syria in power. By 2017, the Syrian Civil War was in its sixth year, having begun in the spring of 2011, with the other Arab popular revolts that occurred in countries like Egypt and Tunisia. With this perspective of the prior book is mind, consider “The Rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.” The 2017 book takes a deep dive into the NCRI sources to show the role of the IRGC in dominating the Iranian economy. Indeed, the new work demonstrates how the entire Iranian economic system has been corrupted by the IRGC. This manuscript examines some vital factors and trends, including the overwhelming and accelerating influence since 2005 of the Supreme Leader and the IRGC. The book takes off on Chapter Six of the prior volume—financial investment of money drained from the Iranian domestic economic by the IRGC. In July 2006, the Supreme Leader issued an order clarifying, “the general policies of developing various nongovernmental sectors,” and organizing the country’s economy around the IRGC and related entities. The main policy implication of both books is the need for any U.S. administration to designate the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. Doing so would reassure our allies in the Gulf that we stand with them and weaken the IRGC in Iran. Diminishing the IRGC would occur from providing evidence to the population that the IRGC has covertly pilfered funds; falsely engaged in private self-aggrandizement, supposedly in the name of God; and used the money to finance terrorist operations abroad. The bottom line: The two books are riveting accounts of the role of Tehran in fueling and funding the Syrian Civil War with stolen funds from the Iranian people. I read each in one sitting and strongly recommend them as “must reads” for students, policymakers, and the general public alike.