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Iranian Ayatollah Creates 'Private' Militia

Iran's top leader has established a new security force personally loyal to him. He's feeling vulnerable, says the Stratfor intel group.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 8/18/2009, 3:49 PM

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Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has established a new security force personally loyal to him. The organization, called Haydaryan, is a small, elite militia dedicated to preserving the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader.

News of the Haydaryan militia was reported by Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor), an independent intelligence firm, on August 17, 2009. However, Stratfor analysts said, members of the force were involved in the violent suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations following Iran's elections in June.

The Haydaryan is modeled on the well-known Basij paramilitary militia, which is generally recognized as fanatically loyal to the Islamist regime in Tehran. Some of "the more zealous members from the Basij" have been drafted into Haydaryan ranks, according to Stratfor.

The decision to establish a "royal guard" of sorts is an indication that Khamenei "is feeling vulnerable," the analysts explained. "Khamenei realizes that his position has been weakened" in the aftermath of the elections, and he "will need to increasingly rely on the use of force to maintain his position at the apex of the complex Iranian political system."

According to Iranian dissidents, the military forces seemed least willing to carry out orders to violently attack or confront protesters. Instead, the Islamic regime reportedly imported thousands of Arab terrorists from Hamas and Hizbullah to act as muscle in the street. Without ethnic, familial or national sympathies, and with a debt to repay to the Iranian government for ongoing support, the Arab terrorist hired guns were reportedly unquestioningly brutal to enemies of the Islamist regime.

The Arab mercenaries, the police, the secret police of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Iran (VEVAK), the regular military, the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, the Basij, and now the Haydaryan are all competing forces within the totalitarian regime of Iran.