Professor Stephen Blank
Strategic Studies Institute
US Army War College
The views expressed here do not represent those of the U.S. Army, Defense Department, or U.S. government.
What Is Cyber Security?
Please see the glossary for an explanation of terms used in this document.
In this section, IranTracker goes beyond the information provided in other areas of the site to present a selection of in-depth, analytical pieces that examine the most relevant issues about the Islamic Republic to present a clearer picture of what is Iran, how it works, and where it is going.
In this section
Between June 13 and July 23, 2014, deployed IRGC forces and advisers, led by Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani continued their efforts to shore up ISF, protect Shi’a shrines, and coordinate activities throughout central Iraq against IS.
This daily publication provides an update on activities in Iran, especially in reference to the Iraq crisis.
The feasibility of cooperation with Iran in Iraq depends in part on how the IRGC sees the problem. This post is the first in a series that will look at the Iraq crisis from the perspective of the IRGC.
This report examines the formal structures that comprise the IRGC’s senior leadership and the informal influence networks that dominate these structures in order to identify and describe the networks that actually control Iran’s most powerful organization.
Iran has conducted an extensive, expensive, and integrated effort to keep President Bashar al Assad in power as long as possible while setting conditions to retain its ability to use Syrian territory and assets to pursue its regional interests should Assad fall.
This assessment examines messaging from senior IRGC officials on issues of critical importance to U.S. national security, including: IRGC response to an attack on Iranian territory; Iran’s involvement in Syria, and; Iran’s nuclear program.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is first and foremost concerned with regime preservation, and its strategic calculus and behavior are deeply influenced by this concern. It is therefore essential that Iran’s global terror campaign is considered within this context.
On February 13, 2013, IRGC Quds Force Brigadier General Hassan Shateri was assassinated in Syria. His death is a serious blow to the Quds Force, and his very presence in northern Syria shows the depth of Iran’s involvement in that conflict.
Iran has been deploying training teams to Syria, drawn from some of its elite regular combat formations, similar in some respects to the advisory units the U.S. has sent to help train Iraqi and Afghan forces.
As Iran's presidential election draws near, it appears there is an effort underway to rekindle a national debate about the regime’s legitimacy, prompting a series of harsh reactions from regime officials.
Understanding the IRGC's formal rank system is an important component of understanding the Iranian regime's power structure and its key players. This slide deck explains the rank structure of the IRGC and the relative degree of formal military authority granted to guardsmen at each rank.
Understanding the IRGC is essential to understanding Iran. Whether it is Iran’s nuclear program, conflict in Syria, international terrorism, or domestic security, the IRGC is a key decision maker. This video and accompanying slide deck assess the IRGC Command Network, its structure, and cohesion.
Since 2008, the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued to pursue a coordinated soft-power strategy throughout its sphere of influence, using political, economic, and military tools to promote its agenda, although not always with success.
American strategies that rely on severe tensions within Iran’s senior leadership or that imagine that Rouhani is somehow seriously at odds with the Supreme Leader and the IRGC on foreign, defense, or nuclear policy are likely to fail. We must reckon, at least for now, with an Iran firmly under the control of the Supreme Leader whose commanders and president are pulling in the same direction—a direction inimical to U.S. interests in the region and the world.
The development of an Iranian nuclear program continues apace. While Iran's true intentions are a mystery, the Bush administration's posture has been inconsistent and lackluster. The administration made little serious effort to upgrade facilities in the region or rally our allies. The absence of a clear strategy to deter Iran will give that nation a free hand in the region to pursue conventional aggression and, what is worse, a nuclear attack.
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