Thought Archive

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Revolutionary Guards?

Thse who lead

Their military role was established in the course of the Iran-Iraq War when the Revolutionary Guards—originally a ragtag collection of earnest but untrained volunteers—gradually shouldered aside the professional military. Unlike the professional military, which had always abjured a political role in Iran, the Revolutionary Guards were recognized from the start as the protectors of the Islamic republic. They have gone on to acquire an active and pervasive presence at all levels of the political structure, particularly under President Ahmadinejad, who has appointed his fellow guardsmen to positions throughout the bureaucracy.

The economic role of the Revolutionary Guards has been much remarked on in recent years. The Guards themselves and companies run by the Guards have won major contracts in every corner of the economy, from airport construction to telecommunications to auto manufacturing. They have also allied themselves with some of the most conservative clerics, who view the revolutionary government not as an alliance of Islam and the people but as divinely ordained rule by a philosopher king who is to be regarded as absolute in his judgments—political as well as theological.

These elements combine to form an impenetrable core that arrogates to itself all authority in the Islamic republic. Needless to say, it also provides tangible benefits to very specific groups: the leader himself, who is thus promoted to a position not simply as first among equals but as the equivalent of an absolute monarch; the top leadership of the Revolutionary Guards, whose profitable dominance of all aspects of the government’s operations is guaranteed; and the conservative, politically minded clergy, who want a true theocracy with no meddling by those who are not properly anointed. The objective, quite simply, was to remove the “republic” from the Islamic republic.

This is a formula for the kind of militarized and nationalist corporate state under a single controlling ideology that is not dissimilar to fascist rule in an earlier day. Like fascism, it defines itself not only in terms of its own objectives but even moreso by what it opposes: liberalism, individualism, unfettered capitalism, etc. There is no need to push the definition too far, since fascism tended to be specific to a particular time and set of historical circumstances. But the resemblance in nature and practice seems to justify use of the term


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Anonymous said...

It is very interesting for me to read the article. Thank you for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

A.J. said...


Stumbled upon your blog coincidentally. Good blog. I have heard from some Iranian friends that people in Iran are afraid of revolutionary guards. It seems they have power not to obey anything but their wit and do whatever they want. I don't know whether it is true or not, but my Iranian friends in the US hate these revolutionary guards.
Anyhow...good post. Keep it up.
Sizə uğurlar. Gələcəkdə də baş çəkərəm.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Thanks - good to hear that you ar einterested. More interesting news from iran are coming out now.

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