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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Iran's Revolutionary Guards

This is a brief account of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Notice that they are under the control of Khamenei not the president of Iran. There is a considerable amount of privatisation going on in Iraq. Much of it is really devolving former state assets to the Revolutionary Guards. The US branding them a terrorist group and forbidding financial dealings with them will just strengthen their dealings with institutions not happy with these restrictions in China, Russia, and elsewhere. This material is from Google.

A Look at Iran's Revolutionary Guards
By The Associated Press – Oct 25, 2007

A look at Iran's Revolutionary Guards:

HISTORY

The Guards are an elite branch of Iran's military, created in 1979 in the wake of the country's Islamic revolution to provide a counterweight to the then U.S.-trained military. At the time, Iran's new Islamic leaders worried the army might remain loyal to the deposed shah.

The Guards won widespread admiration and even reverence among Iranians in the 1980s when they defended the country from Saddam Hussein's regime during the Iran-Iraq war.

ECONOMIC REACH

The group's reach in recent years has extended into the economy, and it is now believed to own large chunks of major firms in the defense, oil and gas, construction, farming, telecommunications and even car-manufacturing industries. Many of its business deals remain murky, however.

Former Guards members are also thought to control large sectors of the economy, including media firms.

CHAIN OF COMMAND

The group reports directly to the country's supreme leader, now Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Because Khamenei rarely speaks outside Iran and has ultimate authority, his directions to the group are shrouded in mystery. The United States accuses the Guards, especially its smaller Quds Force wing, of sending fighters and deadly roadside bombs, mortars and rockets to kill American troops in Iraq in recent years — allegations that Iran denies.

MISSION

The Guards are tasked with protecting Iran's revolutionary values and thus the government's Islamic nature. When Iran elected a reformist president in the 1990s, the Guards publicly warned him at times not to veer too far from Islamic values.

On a practical level, the Guards handle internal security. Since taking office two years ago, hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appointed allies who are former Guards to head many government ministries and other institutions, significantly increasing their influence.

The Quds Force is believed to operate overseas, helping to create the militant Hezbollah group in 1982 in Lebanon and to arm Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan wars.

MAKEUP

The Guards are thought to number about 125,000. The Quds Force wing is thought to have no more than 2,000 members and perhaps fewer.

Some Iranian political analysts say the group has some moderate, and even reformist, members. But hard-liners in the Guards have forged a strong alliance with Ahmadinejad.

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