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Vanguard of the ImamReligion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards$
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Afshon Ostovar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199387892

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199387892.001.0001

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The Imposed War

The Imposed War

(p.62) 4 The Imposed War
Vanguard of the Imam

Afshon Ostovar

Oxford University Press

This chapter covers the first period of the Iran-Iraq war, from Saddam’s invasion in September 1980 to the spring offenses of 1982. The IRGC had little training or resources when the war began. Its limited capabilities forced the IRGC to develop unique approaches to warfare. In Tehran, political infighting stalled Iran’s war effort and led to the downfall of President Bani-Sadr and his supporters from the left. Armed conflict erupted on the streets of Iran and the IRGC crushed what remained of the Mojahedin-e Khalq and Marxist opposition to Khomeini. With Khomeinists in firm control of the war, the IRGC began to play a bigger role in the fighting. The IRGC used mass infantry assaults, known as human wave attacks, to great effect on the battlefield. Iran’s forces gained the upper hand and through offenses in 1982 liberated the city of Khorramshahr and pushed Saddam’s forces back into Iraq.

Keywords:   Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC, Basij, Iran-Iraq war, Shi`ism, Shiite Islam, modern Middle East history, armed forces, modern Iranian history

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