Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Publish date: October 03 • Printable version    

Iran Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia merger

Iranian dailies report of imminent plans to merge the Basij Resistance force with the land force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Etemad daily reports that the assimilation of the paramilitary organization of Basij into the Revolutionary Guards will form a new force called the “Land Resistance Force of the Revolutionary Guards.”

Mehr news agency announced that the Revolutionary Guards are once more in the process of re-structuring their organization. “Greater coordination” has been cited as the aim of the Basij and the Guards merger. The command system of Basij and the Revolutionary Guards also merged last year. Mohammad Ali Jafari, Revolutionary Guards chief commander, claimed the merger was a first step in preparation for “confrontation with internal threats.”

The Revolutionary Guards are the major military force in Iran and their main objective is the protection of the Islamic Republic regime. However, in the past years, several political movements have protested the force’s interference in political matters. Commanders of the Revolutionary Guards maintain that to protect the ideals of the Islamic Republic they will “do what it takes.”

Political analysts have also warned about the expanding economic power of the Revolutionary Guards through their business acquisitions. Since Iran’s current establishment is highly favourable to supporting the financial interests of the Revolutionary Guards, their crackdown on recent protesters of the election outcome and the challengers of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory (a former Revolutionary Guard himself) takes on a more ominous significance.

The Revolutionary Guards and their Basij militia were instrumental in confronting the recent protests causing tens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. The Revolutionary Guards commanders claim they saved the regime from the brink of a downfall since the election protests were, according to them, a “soft coup” aiming to topple the government.

Protest leaders have denied the veracity of this so-called “coup” claiming that they intend to pursue their election protests in the framework of constitutional law.

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