The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recently begun to appear strongly on the political, media and social scenes in Iran. Although the IRGC must focus on military activity alongside the Iranian army, it has announced fake devices to combat the corona virus, while its leadership has sought to dominate the Iranian parliament and all its committees, especially after the former IRGC commander Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf was elected parliament speaker on May 28.
Iranian army leaders, in turn, refused to extend the IRGC’s influence to this extent, revealing an upcoming conflict between the mullahs’ military arms.
Mullahs’ battling arms
In this context, on May 31, Iranians shared excerpts from a recorded interview conducted by the official Iranian news agency IRNA with the coordinating deputy of the Iranian army, Habibollah Sayyari. In the interview, which IRNA subsequently deleted, Sayyari made implicit criticisms and insinuations about the IRGC because of its interference in Iran’s politics, economics and media, in addition to the official media’s disregard for the army’s activities.
Sayyari pointed out that the army does not interfere in politics because politicization is harmful to the armed forces, while the military’s entry into economic activities is unacceptable because it is not in its interest to interfere in the economy.
When asked about the army’s absence from the media, Sayyari said that it is not necessary for the army to announce every step it takes to the media, adding, however, that if this is required in Iran, then the army has the potential to revitalize its public relations office and expand its media activities. Rather, he even criticized the media for ignoring the activities of the military compared to others.
Sayyari condemned the media for ignoring the Iranian army’s role in the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-1988, especially in the series of documentary programs on the war produced by the IRGC’s propaganda department.
While the IRGC is a parallel entity to the Iranian army, it has received direct support from Iran’s Supreme Leader since the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The Supreme Leader usually chooses the chief of the armed staff of the IRGC, which confirms that the competition between the IRGC and the army is not new. However, the disagreement between them has not always appeared in public because of the Supreme Leader’s constant support and praise for the IRGC.
Even before Sayyari’s interview in which he indirectly criticized the IRGC, some analysts and experts had pointed to the incident in which an Iranian Konarak ship was hit by a missile launched by an Iranian army Jamaran destroyer that was testing a new anti-ship missile during a maneuver in the Sea of Oman near the Gulf of Hormuz in southern Iran and sank as a result on May 10. They noted that this was not a mistake, but rather was intended by the army to target the IRGC, which indicates the existence of multiple differences between the two sides.
Target the army since ancient times
Mohamed al-Abadi, director of the Giddar Center for Studies and a researcher specializing in Iranian affairs, explained to the Reference that when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established Iran’s mullah regime in 1979, he had dismantled the Shah’s army, intimidating leaders and generals with prison and executions that were carried out by the regime’s first chief justice, Sadegh Khalkhali. The Shah’s generals were forced to flee the country, and the Shah’s army was severely weakened since the beginning of the revolution on the pretext of resisting any military coups by the army’s generals.
With the inauguration of the IRGC, Iran’s Supreme Leader bet on the newly established ideological military force to protect the regime from popular uprisings and foreign subversion, inflating the IRGC at the expense of the Iranian army. This is evident when comparing the budgets approved for the two entities, as the IRGC’s budget is always several times as much as the army’s budget. For example, in 2019, the IRGC was given $6 billion, while the Iranian army received only $1.5 billion.
Those affiliated with the IRGC and the hard-line wing have been accustomed to insulting the Iranian army and its leaders, even on official state television, Abadi, noted, most prominently in a documentary film that showed the weakness of the army, as well as accusations by hard-line IRGC political thinker Hassan Abbasi against the army’s leaders, which at that time necessitated the intervention of current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Source » theportal-center