According to Ali Alfoneh at the American Enterprise Institute, Iran has transformed from a Theocracy to a Military Dictatorship under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other top clerics are now under the control of the Guards. The silent power shift was aided by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was the first military veteran to hold the post. His economic policies allowed the IRGC to create the economic leverage necessary to control the nation.
Ayatollah Khamenei is now just a figurehead used to camouflage the IRGC silent coup and keep the populace in line. The IRGC itself is a thugocracy, ruthless in its bid to control the nation. They are the actual power driving the nuclear program of the regime. It is unlikely that they will surrender that program as long it serves their purpose. The IRGC came to power by infiltrating the Republic of Iran’s political, economic, and cultural spheres.
The power play between Ahmadinejad and the clerics may have been resolved with the Ayatollah losing his control. The next President of Iran will be selected by the IRGC and will most likely be a member of their Guard.
Since the revolution 34 years ago, the regime’s ruling class has been made up mainly of clerics. But the shift of power in leadership will result in members of the IRGC taking control.
This is nothing new in the Middle East as the former leadership of Egypt and Libya were part of the nation’s military. The Ayatollah has to be nervous. If he does attempt to challenge the IRGC, he can be replaced with a more willing puppet.
The current IRGC has little respect for the United States and the west. The Revolutionary Guards have no respect for Barack Obama or his Administration. In fact, they consider Obama weak and ineffective. The last President for whom they had respect was the firm and consistent George Bush; they feared him. The IRGC knew that, unlike the current White House resident and that buffoon at State, Bush was a man who didn’t mince words when it came to foreign policy.
Photo Credit: erjkprunczyk (Creative Commons)