chapter  6
18 Pages

Guard Factionalism

ByKenneth Katzman

The Guard has made significant strides toward cohesiveness, developing from a patchwork of individual militias into a relatively organized force capable of acting as a unit. Several Guard actions have been improperly attributed to factionalism, and actually represented a manifestation of the Guard's ideological commitment and resistance to professionalization. Contrary to the assertions of a number of press reports on the Guard, factionalism within the organization has declined dramatically since the early days of the revolution. The organized guerrilla element of the early Guard also encompassed a faction centered around Ayatollah Montazeri and his relative by marriage, Mehdi Hashemi. In 1988-89, in the wake of its military unraveling in the war, the Guard's unauthorized interference in domestic political affairs became more direct and more violent. If politicization were limited to only small factions within the Guard, the civilian leadership undoubtedly would have perceived a less urgent need to attempt to depoliticize it.