At least 10 high-ranking officers in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps are reported to have died recently, apparently in violent circumstances.Of course, it is easy to pin this on Israel, along with the explosions in Iran and the murder of Iranian scientists. But though it may seem obvious to blame Israel, there are other issues in play.
But only two of the deaths have been made public, raising suspicions the officers may have been assassinated by Iran's enemies.
The unusually large number of deaths among senior IRGC commanders followed a disclosure by Israel's military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, in April that covert Special Forces operations against "enemy countries" were becoming more intense.
There doesn't appear to be any solid evidence the Israelis were involved in the deaths of the Revolutionary Guard chiefs.
Following attacks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at the end of last year, Michael Ledeen wrote that the Iranians themselves have motives for attacks on the Revolutionary Guard:
These attacks on the Guards — the symbol of the regime’s intensifying repression and slaughter of the Iranian people — are part of a pattern that includes explosions at refineries and pipelines. At the same time, strikes have been spreading (and no wonder; up to 30,000 retired teachers have been waiting for their pensions for many months). In short, people have lost patience, and the smaller of the two explosions at the RG base was aimed at Major General Hasan Tehrani Moghaddam, one of the most brutal of the country’s military leaders.And as the UPI report notes, Israel and the people of Iran are not the only ones with a motive:
Contrary to the inevitable suspicions of the thumb-suckers (the Americans did it! no, the Israelis did it! no, it was an accident!), the operation was planned and carried out by Iranians from the opposition-that-does-not-exist.
They intended to demonstrate that no leader is safe from the people’s wrath (if that base can be penetrated, any place can, and if that man can be assassinated, anyone can), and that the opposition knows its gravediggers.[emphasis added]
Intelligence Online [site] said there was speculation some of the deaths could have resulted from turf wars within the increasingly powerful IRGC over control of sections of the vast economic empire the IRGC has built up in recent years.Whoever is responsible, the fact remains that despite Iran's bragging, things are not as quiet and secure in Iran as the Iranian government would like the world to believe.
The IRGC is reported to operate widespread illegal economic networks, including smuggling, that have made it one of the most crucial economic forces in the country.
This, on top of its growing political power, has raised suggestions both inside and outside Iran that the IRGC, formed by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to protect the 1979 Islamic Revolution, may seek to take control at some point.
That does not mean that Iran will ultimately be prevented from acquiring nuclear capabilities, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that the upper reaches of the Iranian regime are not untouchable.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Iran and Middle East.