13 June 2010

Ahmadinejad pays blood money Revolutionary Guards

In the same way that he sanctions the utmost viciousness against dissent Ahmadinejad is a man who rewards loyalty. In return for beating, raping , torturing and murdering protestors he has signed away a chunk of the Iranian economy in the form of lucrative oil and gas deals to Guards-owned front companies.

According to the Telegraph the deal will hugely boost the power of the group, a paramilitary outfit that sees itself as the ultimate defenders of the country's Islamic revolution, and lessens the chances of any kind of compromise with Iran's reformist challengers.

As the most loyal and formidable of the armed forces serving the Islamic regime, the Guards have played a prominent role in the last 12 months in striking fear into supporters of the opposition movement. Prior to last year protests, the head of the Guards' political bureau, General Yadollah Javani, famously warned that any attempts at a "soft revolution" would be vigorously crushed. Human rights groups claim he subsequently sanctioned the use of violence against arrested demonstrators, whom the Guards assumed a lead role in interrogating.

Mr Ahmadinejad is understood to have been hugely grateful for the Guards' support, which did not seem guaranteed at the time because of the way his presidency had bitterly divided the population.

The Guards' reward has been contracts that will not only channel huge funds into their operations but will also line the pockets of its senior most figures, buying future loyalty to Mr Ahmadinejad.

Among the contracts is an $850 million pipeline deal which has been awarded to GHORB, an engineering company affiliated to the Guards, and a $7 billion project in the huge South Pars oil and gas field that became vacant after a Turkish consortium withdrew.

After his re-election last year, Mr Ahmadinejad handed former Guards commanders and their allies in the Basij militia a total of 13 of 21 Cabinet posts. Their increased influence in government has important ramifications for the West in its quest to stop Iran's disputed nuclear programme.

Unlike the country's urbane diplomats and technocrats, Guard commanders are predominantly working-class "tough guys" who came of age during the bloody Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. They outwardly embrace privation and hardship, and feel the rest of country should too - a stance which means Western-imposed sanctions carry little real threat.

Besides which, if sanctions do really start to bite, the most senior Guardsmen will not have to worry. Despite their facade of a simple, pious existence, many already have huge private wealth from their control of lucrative smuggling rackets, operated through Guards-controlled airfields and seaports: one former Guards commander, Sadeq Mahsouli, is said to own mansions worth £10 million alone.

Guards front companies already have slices of many other big public projects, such as roadbuilding, telecommunications, and running Tehran airport.

Nonetheless, US intelligence believes that their new venture into the oil business could ultimately backfire on Mr Ahmadinejad. "If we want sanctions to cripple the
Iranian energy sector and squeeze the lifeblood out of the economy, then increased role of the Revolutionary Guards is actually a good thing," said Mr Dubowitz who advises the US government as head of the Iran Energy Project at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies policy institute.. "They don't have the expertise to run the sector and Ahmadinejad is doing us all a favour by firing competent technocrats and replacing them with Revolutionary Guards loyalists."

The Revolutionary Guard are a bunch of evil thugs who now have their blood-soaked hands on a significant part of the Iranian economy. I wonder when they will overthrow him and set up a regime that is even more vicious...


Pagan Sphinx said...

And my government tolerates him, if not supports him. I get a sick feeling in the pit of my tummy when I think about it all. :-(

jams o donnell said...

I'm not sure what we can do about it in the West. Perhaps just tosupport the protests when they start again