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My experience with the IRGC [they get reckless]

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  • My experience with the IRGC [they get reckless]

    My first go round with the IRGC was during their 2006 war with Israel.[1] During the war, I had more success getting al-Manar's website removed from various servers than the Israeli Air Force had in taking out al-Manar's satellite transmitters.[2] The most interesting part of the exercise was watching how the IRGC responded to the pressure.

    In short, they got reckless. People who one would not otherwise have known were IRGC agents were tasked with assisting in the effort to keep al-Manar online. The two gentlemen arrested, tried, and convicted in New York for offering al-Manar to their satellite TV customers are a good example (and pretty much the only example I'm willing to speak about). In addition to making al-Manar available to their customers (something which I believe pre-dated the war), these guys hijacked a server at a datacenter in Texas in order to host al-Manar. When that failed, they actually set up al-Manar on a server in a home in Staten Island, New York.[3]

    That was reckless, and by no means the only example of such behavior during the war.

    In light of that experience, I see nothing out of the ordinary in the recent spate of mostly unsuccessful attacks.[4]

    Those attacks or plots raise another issue: the alleged great skill, stealth, and subtlety of Iranian direct action. Speaking not as an expert, but as one who has received the conventional wisdom regarding IRGC expertise, I can't help but notice a certain disconnect between it and the reality of IRGC operations.

    Perhaps they are not as good as they used to be?

    The revolution was 33 years ago. People of that generation would have either survived in Iran under the Shah, or overseas as part of the diaspora. Either experience would lend itself to covert operations. Most Iranians today were born after the revolution[5], and expertise is not transferred from one generation to the next without effort. Put simply: Just because they were good at being bad in the '80s and '90s doesn't mean that is still the case today.

    Are their efforts suffering from the fracturing of the régime?

    It is hard to ignore the many signs of fracturing in the IRI. And one small part of that has been the battle over control of the Intelligence Ministry. Perhaps the IRGC[6] is striking out on their own, without involving the intelligence service, either out of distrust for the latter and/or resistance from within the Intelligence Ministry to the course Khamenei has charted for Iran. This could explain the seemingly poor tradecraft. Perhaps the A-Team has been sidelined.

    Maybe they were never that good in the first place?

    How much of previous Iranian success in covert/overseas operations had to do with operating in relatively permissive environments (e.g. Lebanon, Argentina, Germany, Iraq)?

    Reckless doesn't mean not dangerous.

    Quite the opposite. They may fail spectacularly, or be wildly successful. One thing I believe we can count on is that they will take risks, act swiftly, and burn as many assets as they have to along the way in order to do what Khamenei wants.

    ---

    [1] Hizballah *is* the IRGC, in Lebanon.

    [2] Worth considering that in wartime satellite communications may be somewhat more resilient than the internet equivalent.

    [3] http://internet-haganah.com/harchives/005711.html

    [4] To include the murder of a Saudi diplomat in Pakistan, the plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington, the murder of the Iranian activist in Texas, and the plots and or attacks in Azerbaijan, India, Georgia, and Thailand.

    [5] http://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/5365

    [6] Here being the IRGC faction close to Khamenei, led by those IRGC generals who have yet to suffer from a mysterious heart attack or stroke.
    Last edited by Aaron; 2012-02-15, 21:26.
    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.

  • #2
    re footnote 6, don't forget unfortunate car accidents and plane crashes.

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    • #3
      Hizbollah TTP

      Name:  77847728cef54afe9d7ae9dda87ef109.pdf
Views: 1
Size:  679.9 KB

      Please see attatchment analyzing Hizb (IRGC-Leb), I think you would find it interesting.

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