Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, January 15, 2010

Government by Revolutionary Guards

Following up on yesterday's post here about the militarization of the judiciary in Iran, comes this analysis from The Washington Post.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard seems to have grown from an elite fighting force to protect the Islamic Republic to a huge economic and political force. Is it replacing the government and/or the regime?

Elite Revolutionary Guard's expanding role in Iran may limit U.S. options
A major expansion in the role played by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is giving the elite force new economic and political clout...

Commanders of the Revolutionary Guard say its growth represents a logical expansion for an organization that is not a military force but a popular movement that protects the ideals of the 1979 Islamic revolution and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard's expanded economic role is mirrored by a greater role in politics and security...

Supporters and opponents alike say the Guard has dramatically expanded its reach into Iran's economy, with vast investments in thousands of companies across a range of sectors...

Constitutionally established as a defender of the Islamic revolution, the Guard was created to work separately from the regular army, which was distrusted by the country's new leaders when they took over in 1979. The religious leadership has used the Guard to take on competing political and ethnic groups. It was also at the forefront of fighting during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s...

The Guard has since grown into one of the most visible power players in the country and is the strongest opponent of the grass-roots movement that has staged protests in several cities...

Key cabinet ministries, such as oil, energy, interior and defense, are led by former Guard commanders. A former energy minister, Parviz Fattah, was appointed deputy commander of the Guard's massive Khatam ol-Anbia construction division, which is at the heart of the organization's business activities. It has 29 branches, called 'Ghorbs,' which build airplanes, dams, and oil and gas installations. Most of the Guard's contracts are with the government...

The Guard's expansion into Iran's economy started in the early 1990s, when then-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani tried to jump-start private enterprise in the state-run economy by allowing state organizations to undertake commercial projects. The political rise of the Guard runs parallel with the ascendancy of the reformists in 1997. The movement called for more personal freedoms, fewer Islamic restrictions and a greater role for democracy. Political hard-liners turned to the Guard for more muscle in combating the reformists; in exchange, the Guard was given more influence in the economy and in politics...

The result has been that the Guard controls a large part of Iran's economy, analysts say. "You can't see a single project above $10 million that is not executed by the Guard or one of their organizations," said Shamsolvaezin, the analyst. He warned that economic power could produce more demands for political power. "Some of our leaders now fear that [the Guard] will take everything into their hands."

See also:
Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed.

Find out What You Need to Know


Labels: , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home