"The Iranian navy has the ability to launch the most rapid and crushing strike on the enemies," Commander of Iran's First Naval District Rear Admiral Fariborz Qaderpanah said today in Tehran [Fars News Agency].
"To ensure security and defend the borders in the Persian Gulf, the naval forces of the IRGC and Military [Artesh] are in full harmony when conducting operations," he said.
The Artesh, Iran’s regular military, conducted wide-scale military parades on Saturday to mark the country’s Military Day. IRGC and Artesh have parallel naval, air and ground forces.
Admiral Qaderpanah also said the navy has deployed necessary weapons and equipment in different parts of the Persian Gulf in a bid to utilize them “in case of emergencies.”
Feel-good pronouncements such as this cannot obscure the fact that Iran cannot move forward as a regional power until the state has full control over all the armed services. If the IRGC were only a special-operations directorate, that would be troubling enough. But their ambitions are much larger and a successful major power needs a strong, unified, fully professional military, not a bunch of cowboys looking for a rodeo.
Historically, every successful state has started with an inventive, energetic militia that eventually had to sublimated into a professional military. This process is incomplete in Iran and the persistence and success of the IRGC in siphoning funds and missions from the regular military is an indication of fundamental divisions and weaknesses in the central government.
Until the IRGC is dramatically reduced in size and the Regulars regain control over the reserves and the major combat elements, including missiles and aircraft, state consolidation in Iran will be more theoretical than real. There are Iranians who believe that the IRGC gives Iran indirect military and political options but, in truth, it only disperses state power and leaves the government vulnerable to arguments over tactics and strategy right at moments that they need to be focusing on their adversary. Iran needs to move beyond ad hoc revolutionary arrangements and become a cohesive state in order to achieve its goals and I believe the IRGC is standing in the way of that.
Well put. Great analysis.
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