Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

NCRI - While ISIS’s gruesome activities have engrossed the Western news media, with horrific beheadings, stabbings, vehicular homicides, shootings, and bombings, perpetrated in both Europe and the United States, a more dangerous terror threat, Iran’s IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is being overlooked.

Often misidentified in Western press as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) overshadows ISIS by both in terms of size and power.

ISIS has little more than about 30,000 fighters, who are equipped with mostly with small arms, and have little access to high-tech weaponry.

In contrast, the IRGC boasts approximately 125,000 fighters including an army, navy, and Special Forces. The IRGC Army has 100,000 troops in 20 infantry divisions. The IRGC Navy has 20,000 sailors, including 5,000 Marines. Members of the IRGC Special Forces, called the “Quds” Force number 5,000. In addition, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps also has reservists called the Basij Militia,who are paramilitary volunteers numbering 90,000 but who are capable of potentially mobilizing an estimated 300,000 to 1 million fighters.

The IRGC was founded after the Iranian Revolution. Iran’s regular military was constitutionally mandated to defend Iran's borders and maintain internal order, but the IRGC was mandated to protect the country's Islamic nature. The establishment of the IRGC served notice to both the population and the regular armed forces that the Khomeini government was developing its own enforcement body to bring a new order to Iran. Today, the IRGC rivals the police and the judiciary in regards to its functions. It can even challenge the performance of the regular armed forces.

Since it was originated as an ideologically driven militia, the IRGC has a role in virtually every aspect of Iranian society. Its social, political, military, and economic role has expanded and it is now responsible for internal and border security, law enforcement, and also Iran's missile forces.The IRGC is said to be in control of smuggling, control of the Strait of Hormuz, and resistance operations. Its naval forces are now the primary forces tasked with operational control of the Persian Gulf, where it has engaged in several acts of aggression with US Naval Forces.