The Islamic Republic of Iran was founded in 1979 under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini. Anciently, the nation was called Persia, but this was changed to Iran in the year 1935. Iran became under military rule in 1942 which was done by the United States as they tried to maintain control of petroleum production. The military forces were withdrawn later after an agreement to allow Iran to remain an independent state. Eventually, through an Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran was able to change its system of government. The Revolution government was protected by the military whose main role was to get rid of all opposition (Ward 19).
Civil-military relations involve the relationship between the military leadership and the civil leadership in a nation. In Iran, the relationship between the civil authority and the military authority was peaceful since some of the military personnel were also in the government. In addition to that, the military had a say in how the civil authorities carried out their duties in national development both economically and politically. The armed forces were well organised in three different ranks all of which had leaders and were run in different ways each with its own mission. In spite of that, they still worked together as the armed forces whose role was to maintain peace and order (Karsten 61).
Patterns of civil-military relations in Iran include the government’s effort to professionalize the army. This is made possible by the militants receiving training in other states. According to research, this is not the most effective way of establishing democratic civil-military patterns. To be effective, the leaders in government are expected to negotiate with military leaders about issues concerning the nation. In addition to that, democratic patterns can also be achieved by improving the military’s image as seen by the society. This can be made possible by educating the public on the roles of the military and their importance. This is according to research done by the USAID program in an effort to promote good civil-military relations (Huntington 47).
In Iran, civil-military relations include the military’s role in political issues. The military in Iran has been incorporated in decision making thus creating a democratic civil-military model. This is because, despite the government’s power, it still seeks guidance from other sources. In addition to that, the military not only plays a role in external security but also in internal security. Sometimes, the military is used to maintain peace and order in the country which is the role of the police in most nations. This contributes in maintaining peace and also good relations of the military and the local population since their security depends on the military (Born 76).
Institutionalization of civil-military relation patterns has been successful in Iran. One of the reasons behind this is that the military is the chief supporter of the government. The military protects the constitution of Iran since the revolution. It helps prevent any kind of opposition either internally or externally. The relationship between the civil authority and the military authority in Iran is a positive one and is also peaceful. The government cooperates well with the military thus does not create room for efforts to contest for any position of power (IPSA Research Committee on Armed Forces and Society. Triannual Conference 105).
The Iranian military is considered as the most powerful owing to the number of military personnel in it. The military personnel are well trained; most of them receiving training from American military academies as well as European military academies. Others are also trained locally. Iran has an Iranian Military industry that deals with production of weapons. This was established after the Islamic revolution in 1979. This is another reason why Iranian military is referred to as the most powerful. The military is made up of both men and women with the government allowing volunteers from the ages of 16 and 19 year olds accordingly (Huntington 56).
The military, which is also known as the armed forces, has one rank that is under the title, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which plays a part in political decision making. They played a major role during the revolution in 1979 in organizing it and ensuring that order was maintained despite the opposition faced. Since the republic of Iran is run by the constitution of the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps play a major role in the nation’s political activities. These include guarding the policies of the constitution and ensuring that they are followed. The guards also play a role in protecting the government against external and internal threats besides maintaining peace and harmony in the nation. This included opposition of any kind towards the government. A good example of this role is when the guards were used to get rid of opposition parties during the revolution (Huntington 98).
As Iran maintained producing its own weaponry through the Iranian Military Industry, it posed a threat to the United States and this led to enmity. By producing its own weapons, Iran was considered dangerous thus discouraging international business transactions with other states. This was made harder by the United States who came up with a policy that nations should choose doing business with either them or Iran. Automatically, other nations chose the United States and this led to bankruptcy in Iran. This was a risky policy since the economy of Iran being affected meant that the living standards of the people would be low thus without development (LLC 55).
Despite this, Iran was able to grow economically without the help of other nations. The nation learnt to be self reliant and improved its economy. Since it deals with oil production, this sector was made broader and it became successful due to the world’s reliance on oil as a source of energy. In addition to that, since the nation relies on its own production of nuclear weapons, the budget of the Republic of Iran focuses very little attention to funding the military. Production of its own weaponry has led to it being a threat to other nations and facing accusations of wanting to stage a nuclear war (Daniel 49).
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who are part of the armed forces, have various missions in the running of the nation. They are mainly involved in maintaining internal peace by stopping riots and getting rid of opposition. In addition to that, they also act as replacements to the regular military which is the highest position in the armed forces. The armed forces are also involved in controlling the transportation of military equipment in and out of the country. This is mainly under the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who prevent smuggling of military equipment in and out of the nation. This ensures that there is security for the locals against invasion by other nations (Ward 122).
Above all these, the main aim of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards was to protect the Islamic Revolutionary policy headed by Khomeini. These missions of the armed forces had an impact on some social groups who criticised the roles given to the armed forces. According to them, these roles were not clearly stated and they portrayed that the leaders of the nation could not run the Republic of Iran without military aid. The critics maintained that the military should not be involved in political matters concerning the nation since they would feel more powerful and, therefore, take over in the running of the nation (Seitz 75).
Due to the missions undertaken by the armed forces, mainly the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the public image created is that the military was dictatorial. This meant that the military, despite being under the president, could manipulate the president in decision making. An instance of this is in 1999 when there was a students’ protest. It was stopped by the military and other actions taken by Mohammad Khatami who was president by then. After the protests were stopped, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps addressed a letter to the president which was believed to imply that if the president could not take action against the students, then the armed forces would do it. This portrayed that they felt superior to the head of state. The overall impact of the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) on the political role of the government is that it posed a threat to those in power since it participates largely in political issues. This threatened their role in government since it would be overshadowed by the military and they could eventually be replaced (Renn 39).
A coup d’état is a situation where a group of people or an organisation tries to take over the government or overthrow it. When the coup is attempted by the military, this is when it is called a military coup. Latin America has been faced with several military coups, some of which failed and others succeeded. These include the coups in Venezuela, Haiti and Guatemala among others. Iran’s military coup took place in the year 2009. This is during the presidential elections when the voted in president was Mahmud Ahmadinejad. This coup was made possible by Ayatollah Ali Khomeini who declared Mahmud as president. After this coup, there was a national riot with people disagreeing with the results of the elections. The likelihood of Mahmud becoming president was unlikely. This is because the Iranians did not love him and very few people had voted for him (Connor 76).
This unrest was stopped by the military, and none of the complaints brought forward were put into consideration. The military did this because their loyalty lies with the government and they could not ignore their role. This shows the extent of power which the civil authorities have over the military. Despite being turned against by a big percentage of the civilians, the government was able to contain the situation. This shows the amount of power that the military has over the civilians besides the civil authority.
When the coup in Iran is compared to those in Latin America, it is observed that there is a big difference in the criteria of the coups that is brought out. For instance, in Iran, the coup was organised by one man, Khomeini who is in control of the military. In Latin America, for instance in Guatemala, the military coup was highly organised with decision making involving a lot of parties. It took place in the year 1954 but had been organised since 1951. Comparison of the two military coups show a great difference in how they were organised and the decisions made concerning the coups. While the coup in Latin America was organised by a group of people and decisions agreed upon communally, in Iran it was organised by an individual.
The military in Latin America countries played a major role in political and social issues. The military was considered as the only source of security for the countries, especially, after receiving special training on torture techniques. Due to this, the military felt that it was their role to protect Latin America from western invasion. The military claimed that their role was to protect the states against communism which was a threat during the cold war. Since they used force and torture, the political development of Latin America dropped with most political leaders being killed. In addition to that, the economy of Latin America was also affected since there was unemployment and the salaries reduced leading to low living standards (Davies 65).
When compared to the Iran military, there is a great difference in all aspects of the military role. In Iran, the military contributed to political and economic development by being incorporated in decision making whereas in Latin America, the military contributed in political as well as economical turmoil. While the military in Iran believed in national change through peace and harmony, the military in Latin America concentrated on getting training on torture techniques, which they later used on their own people. Despite the fact that the military was a source of security, in Latin America this role was not clearly brought, especially, since the militants tortured even the local population (Pion-Berlin 88).
The military in Iran provided a sense of security in the nation since they maintained their role of protection against local and foreign threats. They also did not participate in mass murdering of individuals but instead had peaceful social relations with the general population. This was something that was nonexistent in Latin America. The militants felt superior to the local population hence, instead of serving them, they tried to control them forcefully. This is after they had overthrown the government hence portraying a poor civil-military relation in the countries (Fitch 29).
In Iran, the military coup was successful because the one leading it was the head of the military. This meant that he had the final say in whatever decisions made. Ayatollah Khomeini, who announced election results long before the votes were counted, was in charge of the army and so he could easily manipulate their actions. This may be the reason why the coup did not fail and Mahmud Ahmadijenad took over presidency.
In Latin America, the most probable reason of the successful coup was the force used by the militants and also how they hid their intentions behind the protection of Latin America from the communists. Due to the need for security against communism, the people had to oblige to the military’s demands. Other than that, the coup could have also succeeded due to the local population fearing for their lives since the military used force and torture mechanisms which they had been trained. The absence of political leaders, since they were overthrown and some killed, could have also contributed to the success of the coup. This may be because people relied on the political leaders to speak on their behalf on matters concerning the nation’s security (Byman 110).
The military in Latin America has had a major role in the political and economical development of the individual states. The military has been in power since the mid sixties to the late eighties. There was a Rio treaty which allowed American militants to maintain peace in the Latin America states. It also allowed militants to get training in the United States as military officers and other technical personnel. This is where they got training on torture methods, which included interrogation. Their main mission was to enable the fight communism. Other than that, they were trained on their roles as the military in defence of their states. This made them take the responsibility of defending the country from communism.
When compared to the military in Iran, the military in Latin America failed in civil-military relations. Unlike in Iran, the military in Latin America states was in charge of running the nations. They did this by forceful means and an air of importance. They attributed the security of the countries to their own work. This made them feel superior to all the locals and other leaders. In their effort to defend the states, they managed to keep out communism and western civilization from infiltrating the Latin American states. This was their only success though it came along with its own disadvantages.
While in Iran, the military assisted in developing democracy, the democratic progress of the Latin America states dropped thanks to the military. The local population lived in fear since they did not have a say in how their countries should be run. This fear was heightened by the military coup when the military took over the civil authorities and tortured the government leaders and other individuals who tried to oppose them. This is contrary to the role of the Iranian military in relation to the government. The military in Iran contributed to democratic growth since they were involved in issues concerning democracy in the nation and also maintained a peaceful relationship with the civilians.
Economically, the military in Latin America led to economic decline in the states. They had tried to come up with structural adjustments, which took up most of the funds. This led to high social costs which resulted in lower living standards. There was also an increase in unemployment level and, for those who had jobs, there was a decrease in their salaries. This led to a downward trend in the economy of Latin America. In Iran, the military was not involved in the economic sector thus did not have a contribution towards it.