Beyond Borders: The Expansionist Ideology of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

(Tony Blair Institute for Global Change) Kasra Aarabi - Unlike the Iranian army that protects Iran's borders, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is mandated to pursue "an ideological mission of jihad in God's way; that is extending sovereignty of God's law throughout the world." Since its inception in 1979, the Guard has emerged as the principal organization driving the Iranian regime's revolutionary Shia Islamist ideology, within and beyond the regime's borders. It has been linked to terrorist attacks, hostage-takings, maritime piracy, political assassinations, human rights violations and the crushing of domestic dissent across Iran, most recently with the bloodshed in November 2019, leaving 1,500 people dead in less than two weeks. The IRGC is providing arms, training and funding to sustain Hizbullah's hostile presence against Israel and its grip on Lebanese society. Modeled on its support for Hizbullah, the IRGC has prepared an estimated 200,000 fighters - from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan - to support a cause that is built on hostility towards global powers and their allies. The IRGC trains recruits and Shia militias in an expansionist and divisive worldview, encouraging them to give their lives in favor of a cause that seeks to correct injustice towards Muslims beyond Iran's borders. It identifies enemies - from the West, to Christians and Jews, to Iranians who oppose the regime - and advocates jihad in the name of exporting Iran's Islamic Revolution. In April 2019, the U.S. designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. This places the Guard on a list alongside groups such as Hizbullah, Hamas, ISIS, and al-Qaeda. The uncovering of an Iranian-linked London bomb factory in 2019 and a chain of IRGC terror plots across European cities from 2017 and 2018 suggests the Guard's footprint and interests extend far beyond the Middle East.

2020-02-06 00:00:00

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