THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS' ROLE IN IRANIAN POLITICS
By Ali Alfoneh
Within the Islamic Republic, the debate over the IRGC's political role is essentially a legal question. On December 4, 1979, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini formally created the IRGC by decree, although it had existed in some form for several months before.  The statute of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps provided the earliest legal framework for the organization's operations. According to Payam-e Enghelab, the IRGC's official organ, the statute was prepared by "some brothers from the Guards" and ratified by the Council of the Revolution,  the de facto highest governing body, in the months after Khomeini returned to Iran. 
The Islamic Republic had ratified its first Constitution the day before, on December 3, 1979. Article 150 declared:
A strict reading of Article 150 shows that the Guards' intervention in politics is not constitutionally mandated, yet, at the same, time such behavior is not legally prohibited. Nowhere does the Constitution define the "enemies" against which the IRGC is obliged to guard the revolution. It is even unclear whether the IRGC's primary role will be defense against external threats, in which case it should act as an army, or internal threats, in which it might act as a police force.
Again, the Guards provided their own guidance on these issues. On March 19, 1980, "Obligations of the Guards" appeared in Payam-e Enghelab.  In it, the IRGC stated:
The July 25, 1981, issue of Payam-e Enghelab defined "the two main tasks of the Guards" as "guarding the principle of government by the Supreme Jurist and the principle of Jihad." Therefore, the article concluded, "the Guards cannot be robbed of a political dimension or ideological beliefs." 
The statute of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, passed by Parliament on September 6, 1982, enshrined these principles in law,  but differentiated between individual and institutional activities. The statute prohibited individual guardsmen from political activity and made "non-membership in political parties, groupings, and institutions … [a] condition of being a member of the Revolutionary Guards,"  but enabled ample avenues for the Guards to intervene as a whole. Indeed, the statute's first chapter charged the Guards, under the Supreme Leader's direction, to "realize the divine ideology and expand the rule of God through the legislation of the Islamic Republic of Iran," and, in the second chapter, enabled the IRGC to "reinforce the defense body of the Islamic Republic through cooperation with other armed forces and military training and organization of popular forces." 
From its very start, therefore, Islamic Republic law made the Revolutionary Guards not only a military organization deterring foreign threats, but also a political-military organization tasked with fighting domestic opposition. Article 2 of the statute's second chapter defined an IRGC role as the "legal fight against elements or movements who aim at sabotaging or dismantlement of the Islamic Republic or act against the Islamic Revolution of Iran," and Article 3 stressed the IRGC's mission also as a "legal fight against elements waging an armed struggle to nullify the authority of the laws of the Islamic Republic."  Today, many proponents of the Guards' expansionist role cite this legal framework to justify IRGC interventions. 
Here, the Mehdi Hashemi affair is particularly illustrative. Seyyed Mehdi Hashemi was Director of the Bureau of Assistance to the Islamic Liberation Movements in the World, an organization within the greater Revolutionary Guards framework charged with exporting the revolution. As the brother of the son-in-law of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Khomeini's designated successor, he was also well-connected politically.
In the mid-1980s, the Iranian leadership felt it important to project an impression of pragmatism in its foreign relations. The government tried to rein in extra-governmental bodies such as Hashemi's and reach out to former adversaries, including the United States. Hashemi and his followers grew frustrated with what they saw as the Iranian leadership's betrayal of its hardline principles. To retaliate, they leaked word of the secret contacts between the Reagan administration and Rafsanjani, an episode that developed into the Iran-Contra affair.  Arrested by Iranian security in 1986 after the leak, Hashemi and forty followers each "confessed" to a long list of crimes. On September 28, 1987, Hashemi was executed. While Mehdi Hashemi's execution was an integral part of a plot to bring down Ayatollah Montazeri by Khomeini's son, Ahmad, and then-Parliamentary Speaker, Rafsanjani,  the case also demonstrates the reassertion of civilian supremacy against armed extra-governmental agencies. 
After Khomeini's death in 1989, the Iranian political elite feared resurgent IRGC political intervention, and so they presented both the public and the Guards with Khomeini's "Political and Divine Testament," which read:
"And, as the revolution belongs to all the nation, its preservation is also the duty of all. Therefore, the government, the nation, the Defense Council, and the Islamic Consultative Assembly are all charged with the religious and national responsibility to oppose, from the very beginning, any interference in politics or any action against the interests of Islam and the country by the armed forces, regardless of category, class, branch, and rank. Such involvement will surely corrupt and pervert them. It is incumbent on the Leader and the Leadership Council to prevent such involvement of the armed forces by decisive action so that no harm may beset the country." 
While Khomeini was clear on the IRGC's noninvolvement in politics, some guardsmen believed that the noninterference between the political and military spheres should be mutual. In 1991, as the Pentagon deployed tens of thousands of troops to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in preparation for Kuwait's liberation, mutinous units of the Revolutionary Guards, allegedly with the blessing of Ahmad Khomeini, attempted to launch missile attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces in Saudi Arabia to trigger an armed conflict between Iran and the United States. Regular Iranian army forces and Guards members under the command of IRGC Chief Mohsen Rezai, then a Rafsanjani loyalist, rushed to the missile battery at Khorramshahr to prevent the missiles' firing.  After this incident, Ahmad Khomeini lived an isolated life, until he died under mysterious circumstances in March, 1995.
During his Presidency, Rafsanjani continued his policy of depoliticizing the armed forces. But in so doing, he may have created new problems. To dissuade the IRGC from political involvement, he effectively bribed them, funding a central role for the IRGC in postwar reconstruction schemes.  This placated many IRGC commanders, but not all of them. A year before Khatami's victory, for example, Rezai warned an assembly of anti-riot force commanders in Tehran that "the cancerous tumor of liberalism is spreading in some corners of our country."  Throughout May, 1996, Guards commanders made public statements against "liberals," a reference to Rafsanjani and his technocratic elite. The IRGC and its allies — the paramilitary Basij and vigilante group Ansar-e Hezbollah  — used force to back the commander's words, attacking cinemas and universities. Rezai defended the Basij actions: "The duty of the Basij Force is not only security and protection, but … challenging the counterrevolutionary forces."  As the civil-military tension continued, however, the civilians won another battle. On May 23, 1997, Khatami won a landslide election. On September 9, 1997, a month after Khatami's inauguration, Khamenei replaced Rezai. The longtime commander of the IRGC had paid for his opposition to "liberals" such as Rafsanjani and Khatami.
Yahya Rahim Safavi, who owed his appointment as IRGC Chief to his moderate and noninterventionist views, became a radical opponent of the reform movement. Speaking to senior IRGC navy commanders on April 27, 1998, he asked:
He then trained his sights on Ataollah Mohajerani, the reformist Minister of Islamic Guidance and Culture:
Then, turning on the universities, he complained:
Soon after, the IRGC's Public Relations Department warned about "newspapers and poisoned and suspicious pens which have taken advantage of the free atmosphere in the country and the meekness and patience of revolutionary forces to inculcate sick ideas and debased thoughts in order to distract public opinion from the conspiracies and enmities of the sworn enemies of Islamic Iran."  Safavi continued attacking Khatami and mobilized the Basij to counter the student movement. 
Tensions erupted in July, 1999, when paramilitary forces attacked a student dormitory after the students held a peaceful demonstration against the closure of a reformist daily. Within days, student protests spread nationwide and threatened to spin out of control. Khamenei and the IRGC commanders considered the protests as a threat to the regime's foundations. On July 12, twenty-four top IRGC commanders sent Khatami a letter demanding immediate action, declaring, "Our patience has run out. We cannot tolerate this situation any longer."  Khatami stood aside as they suppressed the uprising.
Safavi continued his interventions after the restoration of calm. A constant theme of Safavi's justification was the need to defend against U.S. plots, although these were more imaginary than real. In May, 2002, he accused "uninformed people, traitors, and internal political factions" of aiding the United States by creating suspicion among the people; undermining the nation's resistance against America's domination; changing some articles, if not the entire constitution; attacking fundaments of revolution; separating the government from its religious and revolutionary aspect; and creating doubts and hesitation in the principles of the order of the Islamic Republic and the government's ability to overcome the country's difficulties. 
Speaking in Mashhad, Safavi warned against "the suspicious acts and behavior of some people siding with the U.S. policies and interests in the country," and added that some of these might even be working in governmental organizations.  He subsequently sent a letter to Parliamentary Speaker Mehdi Karrubi, asking him to control the "extreme behavior of some Majlis deputies" and reminding him that taking legal action against elements and movements involved in sabotaging the Islamic Revolution remained a core IRGC mission.  Indeed, the IRGC soon began using special courts to harass and intimidate opponents. It lodged criminal complaints against dissenting clergy, such as Asadollah Bayat, summoned to a Special Clerical Court in Qom, after he criticized Safavi's remarks in a press interview. 
The IRGC also used the courts to silence the media. On July 12, 2000, the IRGC filed a complaint against the weekly Omid-e Zanjan at Branch 1408 of Tehran's Public Court for insulting the IRGC and its commander in an article criticizing their interference in politics.  Safavi also condemned the student publication Mowj for "insulting the Lord of the Age," the socalled Hidden Imam.  Mowj was only one of several dozen newspapers and magazines banned during the Khatami Presidency.  Despite his criticism and intimidation of the Khatami administration, Safavi drew a fine line between legal interference and treason. Speaking at the Fada'iyan-e Emam combat camp, he said that the IRGC and Basij supported the Khatami government, but hoped to strengthen it, though he added that "intellectuals and writers must respect the sanctity and honor of the forces which are defending the revolution, the system, the government, and the people." 
IRGC intervention in internal Iranian politics has peaked under Ahmadinejad. While the presence of former IRGC officers in the Cabinet is not a new phenomenon, their numbers under Ahmadinejad — they occupy nine of the twenty-one ministry portfolios — are unprecedented. Nor do these commanders-turned-ministers only occupy secondary posts. The Ministers of Energy, Welfare and Social Security, Industries and Mines, Justice, Culture and Islamic Guidance, Petroleum, Defense, Commerce, and Cooperatives are all war veterans and former IRGC or Basij officers.
Ahmadinejad has continued this takeover with appointments of Governors and Deputy Governors to Iran's thirty provinces. He systematically swept provincial Governorships of Rafsanjani and Khatami supporters, replacing them with officials recruited from the ranks of the IRGC, the Basij, and the Islamic Republic Prison Administration. The Governors of Kerman, West Azerbaijan, Khuzestan, Hamadan, and Ilam are all IRGC veterans, while the Governors of Zanjan, Lorestan, Isfahan, and South Khorasan are veterans of the Prison Administration. To head the administration of West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, Hormozgan, and Khorasan Razavi, Ahmadinejad tapped associates from his time as Tehran Mayor. These lists are not comprehensive, but, rather, depend upon available biographical materials of appointees. It is possible that the IRGC and security presence is even higher.
The significance of such appointments is great. As journalist Kasra Naji's discussion of Ahmadinejad's tenure as Governor of Ardebil demonstrates, Governors exert considerable influence on presidential elections both by diverting public funds to candidates and by transferring income from trans-border smuggling operations to campaigns. Naji writes that Ahmadinejad was engaged in such activities to support Parliamentary Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, the hardline front-runner in the 1997 campaign, which Khatami ultimately won.  By appointing his old comrades as Governors of the thirty provinces of Iran, Ahmadinejad expects the same support in the 2009 presidential campaign.
The 2008 parliamentary elections solidified the IRGC's political infiltration and demonstrated that the Supreme Leader supports the IRGC's growing role. According to the Minister of Interior, 7,168 candidates registered for the elections,  of whom 31.5 percent were veterans of the Iran-Iraq war. By January 22, 2008, the Council of Guardians had approved the candidacy of about five thousand candidates, or 69 percent of the registrants. Of the 31 percent whose candidacy was not approved, two-thirds were simply disqualified, and the remaining one-third were members of the outgoing Parliament who had approval of their credentials revoked.  The Ministry of Interior provided a number of excuses to those who failed to qualify: 69 candidates had missed the deadline to file paperwork; 131 had a record of treason, fraud, or embezzlement; and 329 persons had a bad reputation in their neighborhood. In addition, 188 individuals were deemed to have deficient educational background or lacked five years of senior professional experience.  The bulk of those disqualified, the Ministry explained, had lost their right to candidacy for narcotics addiction or involvement in drug-smuggling, connections to the Shah's pre-revolutionary government, lack of belief in or insufficient practice of Islam, being "against" the Islamic Republic, or having connections to foreign intelligence services.  If such measures were not enough to bar undesired candidates from winning the parliamentary elections, Khamenei also appointed former IRGC commander Ali-Reza Afshar to oversee the elections. Another IRGC veteran, Ezzatollah Zarghami, who now heads Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), refused to air remarks by reformist candidates.
While not all biographies of incoming parliamentarians are available, the list is dominated by the Comprehensive Principalist Alliance led by Rezai, by former Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani, and by Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf, former IRGC commander and current Tehran Mayor. The winning candidates are a veritable who's who of IRGC veterans.
Not surprisingly, the IRGC Commander in Chief, Safavi, embraced the Ahmadinejad government. Speaking to trainees participating in the Velayat Programme of the Student Basij, Safavi defended the regime:
Several months later, as criticism of Ahmadinejad intensified, Safavi warned:
But Safavi's expression of loyalty towards Ahmadinejad was not enough to secure him the position, and by September 1, 2007, Major-General Mohammad Ali Ja'fari succeeded Safavi as the Commander in Chief of the IRGC.
Ja'fari's appointment is an important development in the structural dynamics of the Guards. In a September, 2007, speech, he confirmed the IRGC's new role:
Ja'fari later described the IRGC as not "solely a military organization," but also a "political and ideological organization." 
Mohammad Kowsari, another IRGC commander, said the Guards' intervention in politics has been "successful" since those who left school to fight at the Iraq-Iran war front can now enter "a new scene" to preserve the "Islamic nature of the regime." Indeed, the Supreme Leader's representative to the organization urged the officer corps to take an active role in parliamentary politics. 
Khamenei's decision to mobilize the IRGC officer corps has not gone unchallenged. Seyyed Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi, a former member of the Assembly of Experts and former Prosecutor-General of the Islamic Republic, protested against what he called "a military takeover" ahead of the latest round of parliamentary elections in Iran.  Former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, currently Chair of both the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, protested against the Guards' intervention in politics. Speaking in his capacity as the leader of Friday prayers in Tehran, Rafsanjani warned, "No one should allow himself to monopolize such forces [the IRGC and the Basij], since such an act would be an act of treason against them [the armed forces] and against the country."  Ayatollah Yusuf Sane'i declared military intervention "opposed to democracy." Most dramatically, Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, also criticized the IRGC's growing involvement in politics,  provoking a storm of attacks against him and the Khomeini household. 
After the March 14, 2008 elections, the Islamic Republic's reformist faction complained that the Ministry of Interior, the election's organizer, had been transformed into a "military base."  Mehdi Karrubi, a former parliamentary speaker and an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2005, was more refined, asking rhetorically, "Does it mean that if two individuals are engaged in a rivalry during elections, this force [the IRGC] should engage supporting one of the two?"  Karrubi may have meant his question to be rhetorical, but, within the Islamic Republic today, it has no easy answer.
Ahmadinejad and Khamenei do not intend the IRGC's and Basij's insertion into politics to be temporary. On April 30, 2007, two decades after the Basij's nominal independence from the Guards, Ja'fari again imposed formal IRGC control over the Basij in order better to fight "internal enemies."  Sobh-e Sadeqh weekly, successor to Payam-e Enghelab as mouthpiece of the IRGC, addressed the apprehension of civilian politicians in a long piece meant to assuage those worried by the Guards' new role. But, far from choosing a conciliatory tone towards the critics of the Guards, Yadollah Javani, head of the Political Bureau of the IRGC's Joint Command Council, explained:
 Hamshahri (Tehran), Sept. 29, 2007.
 Kenneth Katzman, The Warriors of Islam. Iran's Revolutionary Guard (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993), pp. 30-4, 51, 81-2; Mohsen Rafiqdoust, Khaterat-e Mohsen Rafiqdoust (Tehran: Markaz-e Asnad-e Enghelab-e Eslami, 2004), pp. 131-7.
 Payam-e Enghelab (Tehran), Feb. 16, 1981.
 Majid Sa'eli Kordeh-Deh, Showra-ye Enghelab-e Eslami-ye Iran (Tehran: Markaz-e Asnad-e Enghelab-e Eslami, 2005), pp, 20-40.
 "The Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran," Sec. Three.
 Payam-e Enghelab, Mar. 19, 1980.
 Payam-e Enghelab, July 25, 1981.
 "Asasnameh-ye Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami," Islamic Republic of Iran, at Tooba Islamic Research Center, Tehran, accessed June 30, 2008.
 "Asasnameh-ye Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami," Madeh-ye 34 Dal, Islamic Republic of Iran, at Tooba Islamic Research Center, accessed June 30, 2008.
 "Asasnameh-ye Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami," Islamic Republic of Iran.
 "Nirou-ha-ye Mossalah; Voroud ya Adam-e Voroud – Barresi-ye Mabani-ye Jorm-Engari-ye Fa'aliyat-e Siyasi-ye Nirou-ha-ye Mossalah," Sobh-e Sadeqh (Tehran), Dec. 31, 2006.
 Payam-e Enghelab, Mar. 19, 1980.
 Payam-e Enghelab, Jan. 31, 1981.
 David Menashri, Iran: A Decade of War and Revolution (New York: Holmes and Meir, 1990), pp. 280-3.
 Katzman, The Warriors of Islam, pp. 51-2.
 Nehzat-e Azadi-ye Iran (Iran Freedom Movement), June 14, 1981.
 Payam-e Enghelab, Jan. 31, 1981.
 Payam-e Enghelab, Jan. 31, 1981.
 Payam-e Enghelab, Feb. 28, 1981.
 Payam-e Enghelab, Apr. 4, 1981.
 Katzman, The Warriors of Islam, pp. 53-7.
 "Nameh-ye Agha-ye Bani-Sadr be Agha-ye Khomeini, 25 Khordad 1359" in Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, Nameh-ha az agha-ye Bani-Sadr be Agha-ye Khomeini va digaran, Firouzeh Bani-Sadr, ed. (Frankfurt: Entesharat-e Enqelab-e Eslami, 2006), pp. 54-8.
 Payam-e Enghelab, June 13, 1981. For Bani-Sadr's account of the IRGC opposition to his presidency, see Bani-sadr, Nameh-ha az agha-ye Bani-Sadr be Agha-ye Khomeini va digaran, pp. 60-2.
 Payam-e Enghelab, June 27, 1981.
 Payam-e Enghelab, July 11, 1981.
 Report of the President's Special Review Board (Tower Commission Report), The White House, Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 1987.
 Hossein-Ali Montazeri, "Khaterat-e faqih va marja'e ‘alighadr, hazrat-e ayatollah-'ozma Montazeri," pp. 600-19, accessed June 30, 2008.
 Babak Ganji, Civil-Military Relations, State Strategies and Presidential Elections in Iran (Wilts, U.K.: Conflict Studies Research Center, 2005), p. 5.
 Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khomeini, "The Last Message. The Political and Divine Will of His Holiness Imam Khomeini," Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA, Tehran), Feb. 15, 1983.
 The Independent (London), Feb. 3, 1991.
 Ali Alfoneh, "How Intertwined Are the Revolutionary Guards in Iran's Economy?" Middle Eastern Outlook, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2007.
 The Iran Brief (Middle East Data Project, Bethesda, Md.), June 3, 1996.
 Michael Rubin, Into the Shadows: Radical Vigilantes in Khatami's Iran (Washington D.C.: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001), pp. 44-88.
 The Iran Brief, June 3, 1996.
 The Iran Brief, May 4, 1998.
 IRNA, May 3, 1998, in BBC Monitoring Middle East: Political, May 4, 1998.
 IRNA, June 2, 1998, in BBC Monitoring Middle East: Political, June 3, 1998.
 Jomhuri-ye Eslami (Tehran), July 19, 1999.
 Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA, Tehran), May 21, 2002, in BBC Monitoring Middle East: Political, May 21, 2002.
 IRNA, May 23, 2003, in BBC Monitoring Middle East: Political, May 23, 2003.
 IRNA, Nov. 12, 2003, in BBC Monitoring International Reports, Nov. 12, 2003.
 Aftab-e Yazd (Tehran), Dec. 3, 2000, in BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Dec. 5, 2000.
 IRNA, July 12, 2000, in BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, July 14, 2000.
 Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Tehran), Sept. 27, 1999, in BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Sept. 29, 1999; for an annotated version of Mowj, see Michael Rubin, "Iran's ‘Blasphemous' Play," Middle East Quarterly, Dec. 1999, pp. 83-6.
 Iran Report, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline, May 1, 2000.
 Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Network 1 (Tehran), July 31, 1999.
 For biographical information on Ahmadinejad's social background, see Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2007), pp. 1-20; Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), pp. 1-57.
 Ali Alfoneh, "Iran's Parliamentary Elections and the Revolutionary Guards' Creeping Coup d'Etat," AEI Middle Eastern Outlook (Washington, D.C.), Feb. 21, 2008.
 Naji, Ahmadinejad, pp. 36-40.
 "Ettela'iyeh shomareh-ye 8 setad-e entekhabat-e keshvar adar khosous-e amar-e qat'i-ye sabt-e-nam-shodeh-gan-e entekhabat-e majles-e hashtom," Islamic Republic of Iran Ministry of Interior, accessed Feb. 12, 2008.
 "Ettela'iyeh shomareh-ye 10 Setad-e Entekhabat-e Keshvar," Islamic Republic of Iran Ministry of Interior, accessed Feb. 12, 2008.
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 "Ettela'iyeh shomareh-ye 10 Setad-e Entekhabat-e Keshvar," accessed Feb. 12, 2008.
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 Fars News Agency (Tehran), Jan. 16, 2006, in BBC Monitoring Middle East Political, Jan. 16, 2006.
 Hamshahri, Sept. 29, 2007.
 Agahsazi (Tehran), Feb. 29, 2008.
 Agahsazi, Mar. 9, 2008.
 Sobh-e Sadeqh, Mar. 3, 2008.
 E'temad (Tehran), Nov. 24, 2007.
 Entekhab (Tehran), Nov. 30, 2007.
 Emrooz (Tehran), Feb. 23, 2008.
 Tabnak (Tehran), Feb. 9, 2008.
 Nowsazi (Tehran), Feb. 12, 2008; Ansar News (Tehran), Feb. 19, 2008; Agahsazi, Feb. 20, 2008.
 Baharestan-e Iran (Tehran), Mar. 14, 2008.
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American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
International Politics & World Disorder:
War, Peace, & Geopolitics in the Real World:
Foreign Affairs & U.S. National Security
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Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
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Constitutionalism: The First Essential Ingredient
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Representative Democracy: The Second Essential Ingredient
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Summary & Conclusion
Ali Alfoneh is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, and Visiting Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He thanks the Royal Danish Defence College for their support and Mohsen Sazegara, Co-Founder of the Revolutionary Guards, for his advice.
The foregoing article by Ali Alfoneh was originally published in the Middle East Quarterly, Fall, 2008, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (Article URL: http://www.meforum.org/article/1979)
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