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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

The Long War

The Long War

(p.80) 5 The Long War
Vanguard of the Imam

Afshon Ostovar

Oxford University Press

After the successful spring 1982 offenses, Iran’s leaders decided to push into Iraq. The counter-invasion of Iraq was a turning point in the war. The IRGC’s influence in the war steadily grew during this period. It continued to advocate for a mass infantry tactical approach that focused on human wave attacks. The Basij militia, and the young boys and teenagers who volunteered to fight within its ranks, became central to the IRGC’s manpower-centered strategy. This approach inflicted high-costs on Iranian forces, but had little success against Iraqi defenses. Though Iranian fighters were driven by revolutionary zeal, international support for Saddam turned the war in his favor. Saddam sought to pressure Iran into ending hostilities by using chemical weapons, attacking its oil industry, and hitting its cities with ballistic missiles. The IRGC stressed religious faith, and used Shiite metaphors to inspire its soldiers in what seemed to be a futile war.

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

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