Dissent in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards

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Almost one-third of the 5,000 police officers in Tehran have been fired because of a tightening budget and opposition to the regime among them. During times of exceptional tension, they are replaced by poor civilians from elsewhere eager to receive money and food. Iranian police officers have told the media of their anger over the violence and arrests of demonstrators, and there are frequent reports of police officers refusing to arrest protestors and even battling away violent members of the Basiji militia. Members of the Basiji often disguise their faces now and the security forces that show up have to be paid handsomely.

The regime’s survival depends upon preventing the accumulation of a mass of protestors that can cause the security forces to dissolve. If the Revolutionary Guards are told to massacre the crowd, the backlash could topple the regime. In 1994, an IRGC unit was told to attack demonstrators in Qazvin. They refused and the opposition to the regime has quickly grown since then. When Reza Kahlili was asked by FrontPage what would happen if the Revolutionary Guards were ordered to put down a mass uprising, he said it could spell the end of the regime.

“If they use the regular [IRGC] forces, many will not carry out the orders and it could result in mass desertion or even joining the people. I believe if it comes anything close to a massacre, the regime will collapse,” Kahlili said. He said the regime would have to use the Al-Quds Force of the IRGC, known for its role in international terrorism, to violently put down an uprising. Foreign fighters and Basiji members would have to be used.

He said the regime actually came “very close” to falling during demonstrations in December. At that time, a senior IRGC commander in Tehran actually came out and said that his forces would greet protestors with flowers.

“The assessment from various Guard commanders was that if it had continued a few more days and if the uprising had picked up a bit more the Islamic government would have been overthrown,” he said.

The unmistakable signs of fear among the regime’s officials substantiate the words of Kahlili and the four former IRGC members featured in the documentary. On June 9, a top IRGC strategist, Hassan Abbasi, openly complained that “we cannot count on many of the establishment’s own who were blessed by Khomeini and senior officials because sometimes their hands might actually be joined with the enemy’s.”

The IRGC defector, Muhammed Hussein Torkaman, said that Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad had a plane on alert to fly them to Syria during last summer’s enormous protests. Another report claimed that the plane was to go to Russia, but that is beside the point. Torkaman says that Khamenei has formed his own intelligence unit to spy on the top security services and he is rumored to be switching his bodyguards every single day.

One member of the security forces plainly told The Los Angeles Times that he and many others at his base would refuse to follow orders to attack protestors during an uprising. “I would never do it. Maybe someone would, but I would never fire on any of these people myself,” he said.

The strength of the Iranian regime must not be overestimated. If the Revolutionary Guards cannot be replied upon, then causing the regime’s collapse is a viable policy option. Immediate action must be taken to weaken the elements of the Revolutionary Guards, specifically the Al-Quds Force and Basiji militia that are the last defenders of the regime. The regime’s legs are shaking, and the West cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

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  • david

    so if obama had shown any support for the uprising it may have been enough to push it over the edge

    • dave

      the opposite is true, American support for the uprising would shore up support for the gov't, and discredit the uprising as being supported by western imperialistic forces (that's middle eastern logic)

  • USMCSniper

    Muslims always fight amongst themselves. Last time I checked the recolutionary guard was still rounding up dissdents, raping the women, and torturing them and killing them.

    • dave

      just replace the word "Muslims" with "religious peoples" and you got that right

      • USMCSniper

        What about the Quakers?

      • gcr

        ……..or atheistis like Stalin, Hitler, Lennin………..

  • gene willis

    it sounds like whats happening in washington.the right cant hadle the left and the left just left us all hanging.the united states as it was once called is immulating policies from any radical country.what is happening there is sure happening here as well.

  • cochavi1

    Ledeen says the regime is ripe to fall. Mauro agrees with him. Fuad Ajami says it is strong and the Basij reflect its support among lower-middle classes. We will see. Iranians would save themselves lots of anguished moments should they succeed in its removal. Of course, some would die and be tortured, and it is not for us to order other individuals to do that. They must decide.

  • 9-11 Infidel

    Irrespective of dissent in the ranks, the regime in Tehran, was able to murder, rape and torture many Green Revolutionaries and put down the protests. Now the revolution has turned to the Internet to continue its protests because of that effective crackdown.

    I didn't see the Iranian military anywhere when Neda was murdered.

    This is wishful thinking. The only way that the Mahdists will be overthrown is with help from the outside. Maybe in 2012, that help might arrive, but not during this administartion.

  • Nick

    The quickest way to topple the fraudulant regime is a general strike and/or depriving the regime from its petrolium revenues. Of course, Mullahs will kill a lot of the strikers in the process….

  • Iranian Dissident

    IRGC, always an evil force
    Islamic Revolutionary Guard defectors lie when they claim "people joined it to fight saddam", because they want to clean their own evil past. IRGC was established to kill and destroy domestic opposition from the beginning, long before Saddam attacked Iran. The Iranian constitution assigns the task of "Global Jihad" to the IRGC. Defectors like A.Ganji were involved in the violent suppression of Kurds and other anti regime forces in 1979-1980 period when thousands were killed and hundreds were executed, arrested and tortured. Sazegara, an IRGC founder, is also wrongly honored by Mr.Mauro as an opposition leader… he is NO such thing. he is only a commentator on VOA where almost ALL anti regime Iranians have been banned from participation since 2009.
    The IRGC has had its share of objectors during the uprising last year- mainly due to internal regime conflicts- but it is still intact and its genocidal nature is unchanged.

  • SAM000

    You are absolutly right on all the TOPICS;
    About sazegara, he is always connected to his base, he is representing the islamic regime's scape gate to the US ADMINISTRATION.

    The Mullahs intelligent services is very well done, it is composed of KGB, STASI, EX-SAVAK, and of course, UK Intelligent SERVICE and Ayatollah BBC. and Sazegara is the result of those mixture to fool up the American politics.

    And AKBAR GANJI was a Passdar and Torturer in EVIN.