Eyes On The Revolutionary Guard
3:35 PM, Jun 15, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
A few days ago, before the Iranian presidential elections, the political head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Yadollah Javani, issued an unambiguous warning to Mousavi and his supporters. Javani compared Mousavi's campaign to Czechoslovakia's "velvet revolution" and the 1989 downfall of the communist government there. Referring to the green paraphernalia worn by Mousavi's supporters, Javani said "some extremist (reformist) groups, have designed a colorful revolution ... using a specific color for the first time in an election."
Javani said this colorful revolution was a "sign of kicking off a velvet revolution project in the presidential elections." Javani promised that any "attempt for velvet revolution will be nipped in the bud."
One of the most pressing questions from here on out is this: If the protests continue, what will the IRGC do?
Thus far, the IRGC's basij militia has been responsible for suppressing opposition, to the extent that it can. The Basij, which helped Ahmadinejad win the 2005 election, reportedly shot and killed one protester today. Several others were seriously wounded in the attack. The Basij has arrested and beaten untold numbers of the regime's opposition and, along with other IRGC members, closed down press shops and other voices of dissent.
If Mousavi's supporters don't back down, what will the IRGC and its various arms do? Will the organization resort to even more violence? If it does, what will the reaction of the Iranian people be? Do they have enough power to truly fight back? Or, will they be steamrolled by the guards? And if they are, what will America say or do in response, if anything?