Ahmed S. Hashim
Dr. Hashim is an associate professor at the Rajaratnam School for International Studies and academic coordinator/research manager at ICPVTR, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Several years ago, the revolutionary founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, declared that "a government of military men in Iran is a 'childish dream.'" The IRI is not yet a full-fledged military government. However, politics in Iran are now complicated by the increased militarization of the country's political system, socioeconomic affairs, and foreign and national-security policies.1 This is a reflection of the immense power that the Praetorian Guard — the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — has accumulated over the course of the past several years and the national-security lens through which Iran sees its domestic and external security. Six years ago, then commander of the IRGC, Major General Rahim Safavi, declared emphatically in a speech to the soldiers of the third Ashura Brigade (BDE) of the Fourteenth Division (known as the "Imam Hussein"), "Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran plays a pivotal role in maintaining peace and security in the Middle East, and any plot against our nation and country will undoubtedly be defeated."2 It is not unusual for military men in any country to make political statements. However, in the case of the IRI, these now include detailed visions of national-security and foreign-policy goals.
Iran is facing a serious crisis brought on partly by the questioning of the legitimacy of the supreme jurisconsult (vali-e-faqih), the spurious victory of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in the hotly contested elections of June 2009, the rise of autonomous military power centers, and deteriorating relations with the outside world. Is Iran facing a revolutionary situation? Not yet. It is, however, facing a pre-revolutionary situation characterized by domestic turmoil, increased socioeconomic problems and intensifying outside pressure.3 The Iranian military has been key in the process by which power has been seized and retained in the past. Its failure to support the shah during the revolution in 1979 proved to be the critical factor in the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty.4 The armed forces are likely to play a key political role again in a country reeling from the crushing of the Green Movement of 2009 that protested the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and now buffeted by the instability sweeping its Arab neighbors.
The leadership of the IRI is clearly worried by the revolutions among their Arab neighbors, as are Iranians of all stripes. And the fate of revolutions hinges, as Lenin said, on the role of the armed forces. No revolution will succeed if the armed forces and security apparatus stay united, organized and cohesive in defense of the state. Similarly, no revolution can fail if the ruling elite are torn by internal divisions and the armed forces and security apparatus stay neutral, split or collapse entirely. Unlike the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Libya, the IRI has not fully exhausted its legitimacy. It has a large constituency of supporters, well-organized by the state, and a deep "shadow" apparatus that gives it a formidable resilience. Its opponents, including those within the system itself, are not so well-organized or disciplined, despite their courage and determination.
Part One of this study is purely historical, as some background is necessary for an understanding of the present. Many of the security problems Iran has faced in the past have shown a remarkable pattern of recurrence: inability to create effective military power, the emergence of centrifugal forces when the military is ineffective, foreign interference when the country is weak. Part Two, to appear in the fall issue, will address the role of the Iranian military from the time of Mohammad Reza Shah to the present.
Iran is an ancient state with a respectable military tradition.5 Under the Achaemenian (559-330 B.C.) and Sassanian (224-651 A.D.) dynasties, Iran controlled much of the ancient world within the framework of a large polyglot empire. To maintain order and stability, Iranian monarchs developed an extensive military establishment commanded by the Iransepahbadh (supreme commander), who acted as minister of war and highest-ranking officer of the army and navy, and as a senior diplomat who could also negotiate peace treaties on behalf of the emperor. The army could reach a total of 400,000 men when fully mobilized. The elite troops of 10,000 men were known as the "immortals," because the unit was constantly replenished in order to maintain that number. Members of the upper classes manned well-equipped mounted forces. The immortals and the cavalry were very well-trained and highly mobile, allowing both to be quickly assigned to various parts of the empire. The rest of the military consisted of poorly trained infantry called up from the Iranian heartland in times of war. Though brave and hardy, they were no match for the disciplined and heavily-armed Greek hoplites against whom they were invariably thrown in numerous wars with the Greek city-states.
The Sassanian dynasty followed the tradition of their Achaemenian predecessors and established an army based on a small corps of professionals and huge numbers of tribal levies. This military found itself engaged in constant warfare with Rome and Byzantium. When the Arabs of the peninsula erupted out of their forbidding desert with a religious message, they defeated the Sassanian forces. Exhausted by decades of warfare and disgruntled by corruption, they nonetheless fought well. Their stubborn resilience in such regions as Tabaristan and Khorasan ultimately prevented the "Arabization" — but not the "Islamization" — of Iran.
Between the Arab conquest (mid-seventh century) and the founding of the Pahlavi dynasty in the early twentieth century, Iran had no army worthy of the name except under Nader Shah, when Iranian monarchs continued to rely heavily on tribal levies to seize power and maintain it against contenders. This was not a very stable system. The history of early modern Iran begins with the rise of Ismail Safavi, the founder of the Safavid Shiite dynasty. It was also tribally based and relied heavily on levies from the Turkmen of northern Iran and Iraq. The weaknesses of these tribal levies as effective soldiers — however zealous in defense of their Shii faith — were evident when Iran faced its mortal ideological enemy, the Ottoman Empire. During their contest over Mesopotamia (Iraq), which both coveted, the Ottomans defeated the Safavids at the decisive battle of Chaldiran outside Tabriz in 1515. The Ottomans succeeded because they had a well-organized and disciplined regular army with artillery, and the Iranians did not.6
THE STATE VS. THE TRIBES
Reliance on tribal levies meant that Iranian rulers were often hostage to the whims of chiefs who would often choose to ignore a ruler's request for troops. At times they would only provide the manpower demanded if they received a tangible reward in return. And these men were unreliable mercenaries. In the later Safavid period, the tribal levies that had brought Ismail to power became a semi-regular military organization that removed a weak ruler, Shah Mohammed, in 1587 and replaced him with his son Abbas.
Under Shah Abbas (1587-1629), Iran made its first effort to build a military force that would be under the direct control of the monarch.7 Shah Abbas knew too well that the tribes that had brought him to power could also unseat him. With the help of some European advisers, he raised a regular army of 10,000 cavalry and 12,000 infantry, paid for by the crown and known as tufangchi (riflemen); they were recruited from Georgian and Armenian converts to Islam. This army did not survive the death of its creator. When Shah Abbas died in 1629, the Safavid dynasty plunged into utter ruin because the rulers who followed him were weak and indecisive. Between 1722 and 1795, a fragmented Iran was ruled by a succession of brutal warlords. The most successful of these was Nader Shah, who emerged out of the anarchy that enveloped the country following the collapse of the Safavid dynasty.8 Nader Shah managed to create the most significant Iranian army since ancient times. Though its size is not known with any degree of certainty, it was huge and militarily successful.
With the rise of the Qajar dynasty (1795-1925), Iran once again found itself relying on tribal levies. This was a decentralized state in which the ruler's source of power did not stem solely from the military power at his disposal. As one popular historian notes,
In the prolonged and generally deplorable Qajar dynasty, the shah ruled by manipulation more than force.... In essence, the sovereign filled the role of supreme arbitrator who sat in judgment over disputes involving Iran's divergent communities. In this system, where he acted as mediator more than despot, the shah commanded neither a large standing army nor an extensive state bureaucracy. The king could also call on the tribes for the armed men he needed to defend the country. But the tribal elite who made the decision to commit to the shah ruled their own tribes as virtual kings, governing in isolation from outside authority, administering their own laws, collecting their own taxes.9
The Qajars stayed in power by building an enormous network of kinship ties and alliances with influential leading families and tribes whose support for the crown was guaranteed by royal titles and financial rewards bestowed upon them in return for their loyalty. Corruption was rampant. Various high-ranking public officials, including family members of the shah, were allowed to engage in speculation with the public revenues passing through their hands. When Kamran Mirza, Nasser al-Din Shah's third son, was minister of war in the early 1890s, he devised ingenious ways of profiting from the funds reserved for military personnel. He would receive the pay of the soldiers in silver from the treasury, but disburse it to the troops in copper, making a profit in the process. Another scheme was to keep the salaries of the soldiers for as long as possible, while using the money to make short-term loans at exorbitant interest rates for personal gain. Vested interests and political groups within the system were adamantly opposed to reform of the state structure or the military itself. An efficient taxation system to collect revenue for the state, some of which could be spent on building an army, was seen as a threat by landowners and tribes. Also during the nineteenth century, the rulers were faced with a severe breakdown in domestic power; restless tribes rebelled on a regular basis, weakening an already tottering state.
The Qajar dynasty was often involved in wars with powers like Tsarist Russia, which encroached with alarming regularity on Iranian territories. Tribal levies were useless against modern Russian armies, and successive defeats in the nineteenth century awakened Iranian rulers to the costs of not having a strong national army. These defeats led to the imposition of humiliating treaties on Iran and ever-increasing Russian interference in its affairs. The weakness of the Iranian state invited intrusions by Russia and Britain. The latter, already the world's largest and most dynamic Western empire, had possessions and strategic interests in the Persian Gulf that could be threatened by Russian influence in Iran. A Russia ensconced in the Persian Gulf constituted a threat to British lines of communication with its crown jewel, India. Since Iran was unlikely to become strong enough to keep the two powers at bay, they began to get involved in Iran's domestic politics, creating local military forces to maintain stability and security where the writ of the Iranian state was non-existent. This approach was inimical to the attempts of the state to create viable centralized military forces.10
The Iranian rulers solicited the aid of European advisers to create a modern army. Because these efforts relied on French, British, Austrian, Prussian and Swedish advisers, all of whom came in with different ideas and plans, they were not successful. From the mid-1800s onwards, there were three notable attempts by high-ranking Iranian officials to create modern forces. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Abbas Mirza, the crown prince, created a standing force known as the nizam jedid, or New Organization. It did not last long, as the state failed to fund it adequately.
Ultimately, the Qajar rulers did set up a regular military force. However, it was small and ineffective. In his magisterial Persia and the Persian Question (Vol.1), Lord Curzon provided vivid descriptions of the weaknesses of the Iranian military, noting that the officer corps "could not be otherwise described than as the greatest rascals in the world." Curzon proceeded to damn the corps for being unprofessional in their bearing:
Ignorant of military science, devoid of esprit de corps, selected and promoted with no reference to aptitude, they are an incubus in which no military system could do otherwise than languish.11
The ill-fed and ill-clad Iranian soldiery, stated Lord Curzon, were hardly an "enthusiastic one." He makes use of an observation made of the Iranian military decades earlier by another British observer, Sir John Malcolm. It has a contemporary ring to it that can be applied to any number of militaries in the so-called developing world, even now:
An army cannot be maintained in a state of discipline and efficiency for any length of time unless its pay be regular and its equipment complete, and this can never be the case except in a state where the succession to the throne is settled, where the great majority of the population are of peaceable habits, and whose establishments are permanent and the laws respected and administered upon principles well understood, and not liable to be altered at the will of the sovereign and of delegates. That a regular army may be instrumental in promoting civilisation there can be no doubt, but this change must coincide with many other reforms or every effort to render it effectual to the great end of national defence will prove abortive and terminate in disappointment.12
The Qajars were incapable of creating a modern military, no matter how hard they tried, unless they reformed themselves totally or were replaced by a more progressive dynasty. This was well-articulated by Stephanie Cronin's The Army and the Creation of the Pahlavi State in Iran, 1910-1926. In the opening pages of her study, the author writes that the "failure of military reforms in nineteenth-century Iran was thus indissolubly linked to the overall failure to renovate the structure of Qajar government and society."13 What the rulers lacked was an independent source of bureaucratic and military power.14
COMPETING MILITARY STRUCTURES
By the early twentieth century, Iran had developed a collection of colorful military forces over which the central state had little or no formal control. These units played a critical role in advancing the interests of their foreign sponsors as the Qajar dynasty sank into terminal decline. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Iranian military consisted of a hodge-podge of semi-autonomous units:
• Tribal levies made up of armed, able-bodied young men from rural areas that the central government would call upon in times of national emergency. They were generally unreliable and would often only respond if they saw immediate material benefit in supporting the government.
• The palace guards, Nizam, which consisted of a ceremonial regiment of regular troops and were the ruler's primary weapon against obstreperous princes.
• The Gendarmerie, a paramilitary force trained and officered by Swedes and Germans.
• The Persian Cossack Brigade, trained and officered by Russians on loan from the Tsarist Imperial Army.
• The South Persia Rifles (SPR), trained and led by British officers.15
Only two of these forces, namely the Cossack Brigade and the Gendarmerie, played significant roles in the political process, including the Constitutional Revolution, and always with mixed results,. The other three were marginal to Iranian political developments. The Nizam was poorly armed and trained, and its political influence was negligible. The South Persia Rifles was a powerful force in southern Iran, particularly in the autonomous province of Arabistan, which was ruled by the Sheikh of Muhammera. The British used it to protect their interests in southern Iran, including the oilfields, after William Knox d'Arcy discovered oil in significant quantities in that region in 1901. But Britain never used the SPR to advance its interests in the center vis-à-vis the Iranian ruler. Nor did the British create a strong cadre of Iranian officers within the SPR.
Indeed, the marginal political nature of the SPR was very much in contrast to the exertion of strong political influence by both the Cossack Brigade and the Gendarmerie. These European-trained and officered forces placed the interests of their own respective countries above those of the Iranian monarch, whom they ostensibly served. When Russia agreed to help Nasser-ed-Din Shah build up the Cossack Brigade, it did not intend to strengthen Iranian military power, but rather its own diplomatic and military influence in Tehran and to create a cadre of pro-Russian officers. The Russian government insisted that the commander and his most senior officers be Russian, to act as the eyes and ears of his tsarist majesty. The first Russian commander, Colonel Alexei Domantovich, energetically undertook to set up the unit in 1879. He formed a 400-man cavalry unit from the Muhajiran, Circassian and Caucasian immigrants from the Trans-Caucasus whose families had refused to live under Russian colonial rule when Iran lost those regions. Domantovich so impressed the shah that he was allowed to participate in cabinet meetings. This dismayed the Russian legation in Tehran, and Domantovich was dismissed shortly thereafter. For half a decade, both the Russians and the Iranians left the Cossack Brigade to wither on the vine under four different and ineffectual commanders. In 1884, the fifth commander of the Cossack Brigade arrived to take over: Colonel Kossagovsky, who was to prove one of the most effective commanders of the unit. He stayed in Iran for two decades and succeeded in transforming it into an effective and well-disciplined force.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION
In the 1890s, Iran under Nasser-ed-Din Shah witnessed increasingly arbitrary and despotic rule and a worsening economic outlook, due to a decline in the revenues of the state. To increase them, the shah started selling concessions to various Western enterprises. Unfettered by political or constitutional constraints, the shah sold the rights to railways, minerals, banking and even the national lottery to Western individuals, companies and countries. Lord Curzon referred to it as the greatest sell-off of a country to foreign interests. For the Iranians, the most humiliating symbol of their subservience was the granting to the British Imperial Tobacco Company the right to produce, sell and export the entire tobacco crop. The politically aware element of the population was outraged by yet another attempt to subjugate Iran to the economic dictates of the "infidels." In December 1891, Ayatollah Shirazi issued a fatwa (edict) forbidding Iranians from using tobacco. In the face of an overwhelming display of national outrage, the shah backed down and cancelled the concession, incurring a hefty penalty from the British.
There were no political institutions that could challenge the monarch's arbitrary rule or express concern over Iran's declining political and diplomatic fortunes. Nor was there a nationalist-minded Iranian military at the time that could take over power. But, as the tobacco protest showed, at the turn of the twentieth century, the monarchy was coming face to face with growing opposition from the literate and politically aware segments of the population: clerics, merchants and intellectuals.
The clerical establishment had traditionally provided legitimacy for the monarchy since Safavid times. However, influential elements were moving into opposition to the shah due to the absence of the rule of law and social justice and to foreign interference in Iranian affairs. The merchant, or bazaar, class was disgruntled by the inability of the Qajar dynasty to provide a stable and secure political and economic environment for the pursuit of trade and commerce.16 Moreover, the increasing flood of foreign goods entering Iran threatened the economic interests of this class. The secular intelligentsia was new to the Iranian political scene, emerging as a result of the return of increasing numbers of Iranians from privileged backgrounds who had received their education in the West. They came bearing "subversive" Western political ideas and a determination to modernize their backward country and break the chains of dependence on the West.
By 1896, Nasser-ed-Din Shah had retreated from affairs of state, spending most of his time indulging in his passion for food, alcohol, hunting, young women and pubescent boys. He was assassinated on May 1, 1896. There was a brief tussle for the throne among the various royal claimants, one of whom was the shah's oldest son, Zell as-Sultan (Mas ud Mirza Qajar), who challenged his weak and ineffectual half-brother Muzaffer-ed-Din, the chosen successor. The former had been excluded from eligibility because his mother had been a commoner. There was also considerable unease within the court over the older brother's extensive political power and boundless ambition. Zell as-Sultan was governor of a number of southern provinces that he ruled as a virtually independent potentate. He had built up his own independent army that could have overwhelmed the few regular forces in Tehran. However, a combination of foreign pressure and the movement of the Persian Cossack Brigade to Tehran ensured that the chosen successor mounted the throne.
Muzzafer-ed-Din Shah lived up to his reputation as a self-indulgent and spendthrift weakling under whom Iran slipped further and further into anarchy, debt and foreign control. Increasing contempt for the Qajar dynasty crystallized into a set of demands put forward by a de facto alliance of clergy, merchants and the intelligentsia: dismissal of the unpopular and corrupt prime minister, Ain-ud-Dawla; curtailment of the monarch's absolute power through the creation of a "house of justice" ('adalatkhaneh); and elimination of the foreign stranglehold over Iranian affairs. As the situation became polarized between 1905 and 1906, it was the clergy that took the lead in the protests against the shah and his cronies. The clerics' message was best articulated by Sayyid Mohammed Tabatabai, a leading cleric with reformist and liberal leanings who preached from the mosques, "We want justice; we want a majlis in which the shah and the beggar are equal before the law."17 Neither the shah nor the prime minister was disposed to heed these demands. Ain-ud-Dawla used the Cossack Brigade to impose a curfew on Tehran and ordered its officers to put down severely any manifestation of public disorder.
For much of the summer of 1906, Iran was paralyzed by the standoff between the monarchy and the constitutionalists, whom the shah did not have sufficient force to intimidate. Despite the use of the Persian Cossack Brigade to impose a curfew on Tehran, the shah and the Russian officers knew that there was considerable sympathy for the constitutional movement among the enlisted men and noncommissioned officers. Moreover, the brigade was short of men, its finances were in disorder, and a military council composed of Iranian junior officers was administering its affairs. The Russian commander, Colonel Chernozobouv, told the British military attaché in Tehran that he doubted the loyalty of his men. He expressed the opinion that the enlisted men were more likely to follow orders from the mullahs than from him and his officers.
In August 1906, the shah, lacking effective coercive power, gave in to the demands of the constitutionalists and agreed to convene a parliament (majlis). The inauguration of the majlis on October 7, 1906, was a defining moment in Iranian political history. It drafted a constitution with 56 articles that seemed to promise an end to despotism and arbitrary rule. Muzzafer-ed-Din endorsed it on his deathbed. But the victory of the constitutionalists proved short-lived. Muzaffer-ed-Din was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Ali Shah, described by an American observer as "perhaps the most perverted, cowardly, and vice-ridden monster that had disgraced the throne of Persia in many generations."18 He refused to honor the reforms and instead adopted a three-pronged strategy to weaken the constitutionalists. First, he moved to exploit contradictions that appeared between the secular and religious reformers after their apparent victory over the monarchy. Then, he relied on the British and the Russians to weaken the constitutionalists.
Neither power looked favorably upon the constitutional movement. Britain, a Western liberal democracy, should have welcomed the emergence of constitutionalism in Iran. It did not, however, because the constitutionalists were nationalists who bitterly resented British encroachments on Iranian sovereignty. Russian opposition to Western political ideas in Iran was to be expected, as the country was an autocratic system that kept millions of its subjects in servitude. Both countries thus supported a monarch whom they actually despised against the reformists who threatened their respective positions. In order to reinforce their power in Iran, the two imperial powers signed the Anglo-Russian Entente in August 1907. This agreement divided the hapless country into three spheres: northern Iran and parts of the center, to include Tehran and Tabriz, fell within the Russian sphere; in the middle lay a neutral zone; and in the south the British reigned supreme.
Third, to intimidate his opponents, Mohammad Ali Shah used the Cossack Brigade against the constitutionalists, who lashed out against the unit, claiming that Iranian financial resources were being used to maintain an oppressive military brigade engaged in espionage for the benefit of Russia.19 Mohammad Ali tried to persuade the brigade to mount a coup against the majlis in December 1907, only to be told by the new Russian commander, Colonel Liakhov, that the unit could not be relied on to maintain its cohesion if it were asked to get involved in the political process. Liakhov spent six months improving the efficiency and political reliability of the force. He weeded out suspect members, increased pay and improved training. On June 23, 1908, Liakhov struck against the majlis, rounding up its members. The shah declared martial law and made Liakhov military commander of Tehran. Thousands were rounded up and imprisoned or executed. However, 400 enlisted men and a senior Iranian officer, Khudayar Khudayari, deserted, taking their weapons, and joined the constitutionalists.
The constitutionalist movement refused to die. It raised the banner of revolt in Tabriz, Iran's second-most important political center. The revolutionaries fought off the shah's forces until the spring of 1909, when Russian troops stationed in northern Iran stormed the city.20 This time the constitutionalists reorganized their forces for an offensive against the capital, which they took in July 1909, to the consternation of the shah. The revolutionaries reconvened the majlis, whose members deposed Mohammad Ali Shah and installed his son Ahmad as the shah.
The second majlis (1909-11) was determined to gain control of Iran's various armed forces, with the long-term goal of forming a unified national army. The parliamentarians had seen how the shah and the Russians had used the Cossack Brigade against the first majlis and were determined to avoid another reactionary coup by the ruler. The constitutionalists' military forces, which had taken Tehran, were a mix of tribal fighters, adventurers and Caucasian revolutionaries sympathetic to the constitutionalists and disdainful of the Russians. Such a motley crew would not be able to stand up to the Cossack Brigade if the Russians had ordered it to intervene yet again against the majlis. The majlis wanted the Russian commander who succeeded Liakhov, Colonel Prince Vadbolsky, to swear allegiance to the constitution and place his brigade under control of the majlis. The Russian commander made a show of doing this, but in reality continued to maintain allegiance to Russia and its interests.
The second majlis also recognized that Iran's lack of effective police and paramilitary forces had contributed to the dramatic decline in law and order in both urban and rural areas. This had an impact on the collection of taxes. An American financial advisor, Morgan Shuster, had helped in setting up a small treasury Gendarmerie to collect taxes. But the majlis wanted a more substantial force whose primary goals would be to maintain law and order and collect taxes in the provinces. It would be trained, advised and staffed by foreign officers. The Iranians looked for a neutral country and chose Sweden to help set it up. In the summer of 1911, a team of three Swedish officers under the command of Colonel H.O. Hjalmerson arrived in Tehran to commence their work. A thousand men of the treasury Gendarmerie were transferred to their authority to form the nucleus of the new force.
Iran could not have set up the new Gendarmerie if both Britain and Russia had opposed the measure, but they saw merit in the creation of a force that would bring order to the chaotic provinces. Neither country, however, looked favorably upon attempts by the majlis to reform Iran's catastrophic financial structure, since this would have diminished their control over the budget. Britain and Russia focused their wrath on Morgan Shuster, who refused to recognize their prerogatives over Iranian financial affairs. The two powers issued ultimatums to Iran calling for the dismissal of Shuster. The shah and his cabinet cravenly gave in, but the majlis refused. The Russian government marched troops into Tehran and put an end to the second majlis. Its dismissal in 1911 marked the official end of the Constitutional Revolution. The majlis did not reconvene until 1914; in the meantime, Iran reverted to despotism and fell further and further under Anglo-Russian control.
A strong rivalry developed between the Gendarmerie and the Cossack Brigade, an effective and disciplined force, staffed by lackluster Russian officers with a knack for political intrigue. Stephanie Cronin concisely describes the differences: "In terms of military organization the brigade was clearly inferior to the Gendarmerie, which was better trained, better armed, better equipped and whose morale was infinitely superior."21 Neither force was under strong central control; both operated as quasi-autonomous forces. The Gendarmerie strove to perform the twin tasks of providing law and order and collecting taxes for a dysfunctional Iranian state. The Cossack Brigade evolved more and more into an instrument of Russian control. In parts of Iran, the brigade formed part of the Russian army of occupation. It was corrupt, brutal, and commanded by incompetent and uncaring officers.
Such was the situation when World War I erupted. Iran declared its neutrality. This, however, did not prevent its territory from being despoiled by Russian, British and Ottoman forces. The Russians dissolved the third majlis, whose nationalist and pro-German members fled to Qom and formed a provisional government that stood in opposition to that of Ahmad Shah in Tehran. Various rebellions broke out across the country. The Russians assumed financial support of the Cossack Brigade, since the Iranians no longer had money to maintain it. By 1916, the Russians began to implement plans to increase the size of the brigade. Hard-pressed on the eastern front in the war against Germany, Russia was transferring its troops out of northern Iran. The commander, General Baratov, reached an agreement with the shah to transform the brigade into a division of 10,000 men, henceforth to be renamed the Cossack Division. This did not take place, as in 1917 Russia succumbed to revolution.
The new Soviet government repudiated what it referred to as the "colonial and imperialistic" behavior of its predecessor towards Iran. It withdrew Russian officers from the brigade and cut all links with the force. The British moved in very quickly to fill the security vacuum, directing the policies of the complaisant government in Tehran and threatening rebellious forces with dire consequences if they tried to march on the capital. The British offered to pay the costs of the upkeep of the Cossack Brigade and implored many of the Russian officers to stay and lead the force. So certain were the British of their position in Iran that they proposed formalizing their control by means of a treaty. The Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1919 called for Britain to send advisers to the Iranian government, take control of and train the armed forces, and revive the communications, transportation and tariff systems under British supervision. One of the most important clauses dealt with the reform and unification of Iran's myriad armed forces.
The plan to turn Iran into a protectorate went awry; however, Britain's allies, France and the United States, protested. Within Iran itself, the treaty was met with universal hostility and a major revival of nationalist forces. The dramatic slump in the monarchy's legitimacy led centrifugal forces in the provinces to push for autonomy. In Azerbaijan, a movement with dangerous undercurrents of separatism took over the province and expelled the representatives of the central government. In Gilan province, a Soviet-supported leftist movement led by Kuchek Khan established the Iranian Soviet Socialist Republic of Gilan.
The pro-British government in Tehran fell, replaced by a moderately nationalistic one in June 1920 that announced the suspension of the Anglo-Persian Treaty. The tenure of this government was short-lived, as the British engineered a coup against it, hoping the monarchy and their conservative friends would come to power and implement the treaty. Britain needed strong local military forces to be able to cement its position in Iran. The best bet still seemed to be the Cossack Brigade, which the British sought to bring under their control. This should have been easy. The collapse of the Russian position in Iran had weakened the political influence of the Russian officers and left the unit short of financial resources. The division also succumbed to serious internal strife between those officers who supported the momentous revolution back home and those "White" officers who remained opposed. The internecine strife had started as early as 1917, when the reformist Kerensky government sent Colonel Clergi to take control of the unit. Pro-tsarist officers within the division undermined Clergi's position; ultimately Colonel Starroselsky mounted an internal coup against him. Starroselsky took control of the division with the help of an energetic Iranian officer, Reza Khan, who was deputy commander of the Cossack battalion garrisoned in Hamadan. Reza Khan rose to become commander of the Cossack Division in October 1920 after the dismissal of Colonel Starroselsky.
British officers on the ground in Iran noted the emergence of native officers like Reza Khan and resolved to work with men like him. There is no historical evidence for the rampant conspiracy theory that Reza Khan was a puppet of the British, but he was encouraged in his rise to power by British officers. The commander of British military forces in Iran, General Edmund Ironsides, thought that men like Reza Khan could restore order and stability in Iran. Throughout 1920-21, Reza Khan began to think that the only way Iran could recover and escape foreign domination was to promote drastic change in Tehran itself.
THE RISE OF REZA KHAN
The unstable political and socioeconomic situation in the country provided the impetus for Reza Khan to stage the first coup in Iranian history on February 21, 1921. This move against the corrupt politicians in the capital was not aimed at overthrowing the Qajar shah. Reza Khan helped a reformist civilian, Sayyid Zia Tabatabai, to come to power as prime minister. Just before entering Tehran, Reza Khan gave a brief speech to his soldiers in which he said,
My dear fellow soldiers! So far every one of you has done whatever you could do to save the motherland. But in fact we have protected the interests of those traitors in the capital. Those unworthy politicians have sucked the blood of this great nation and they have been treacherous to our patriotic soldiers.22
Coup plotters have to neutralize potentially hostile forces or win them over. In the case of Reza Khan's coup, the plotters were not worried that the British would move to quash the attempt, as they had their blessing. The only Iranian military force that could have opposed the coup was the Gendarmerie. It controlled the War Ministry, and a senior Gendarmerie officer was military governor of Tehran. Other Gendarmerie officers controlled provincial capital cities. Reza Khan and his co-conspirators got the tacit cooperation of the unit whose Swedish commander, Colonel Gleerup, chose not to oppose the Cossack march on Tehran.
Under the new government of Prime Minister Zia-ed-Din, Reza Khan became commander of the armed forces, with the title Sardar Sepah. He used this position to advance his power and improve the material conditions and combat capabilities of the Cossack Division, his only power base within the political system at the time. The new prime minister shared Reza Khan's ambition to create a modern and unified army. This can be gauged by the statement he made shortly after he had come to power:
An army before and above everything. Everything first for the army, and again for the army...until our armed forces reach the highest stage of development.23
Before long, Reza Khan and the prime minister fell out. The latter could not cope with the headstrong and ambitious army commander with whom he quarreled incessantly. Tabatabai promised many reforms but fell short, managing to alienate key people in the process, including the man who brought him to power, Reza Khan himself. The major bone of contention was control of the armed forces. Reza Khan wanted his beloved Cossacks to become the core of the unified army. Sayyid Zia tried to promote the Gendarmerie because he feared Reza Khan and his troops. The rivalry between the two men re-awakened the barely submerged rivalries between the two military forces. In early May 1921, the prime minister was forced to accede to Reza Khan's elevation to be minister of war. On May 26, 1921, Sayyid Zia was forced to resign and swiftly left Iran. Reza Khan vetoed the shah's attempt to give the position to Mushir al-Mulk; instead, Qavam al-Sultaneh, whom the war minister favored, became prime minister.
Reza Khan used his position as war minister to overawe his colleagues in the new government by sheer force of personality and the power at his command. He cemented his control over the various security forces by merging them into one and getting rid of foreign officers. Qavam and his cabinet knew that they had little choice, agreeing that "extension and completion of the army will stand first among the different measures which the government is going to take for the prosperity of the country."24 During the first six months of 1922, Reza Khan flouted his power over the government until Qavam's cabinet fell and was replaced by a series of weak ones in rapid succession. Civilian politicians and the majlis watched helplessly as Reza Khan appropriated funds from other government departments and diverted them to the military. He began replacing civilian provincial governors with his military cronies.
Barely weeks after Reza Khan's coup d'état, on April 2, 1921, a charismatic Gendarmerie officer, Colonel Mohammad Taqi Khan Pasyan, carried out a coup against the corrupt and discredited government officials in Khorasan province and established a Gendarmerie regime in Mashhad, the capital. While Iran was not split between two mutually hostile governments, since Pasyan's local regime was not recognized as the legitimate national government, it was a dangerous situation for the country. Pasyan was not interested in being the warlord of a distant province. He was a highly popular and competent nationalist officer whose ambitions extended beyond Khorasan. If he had consolidated his forces there successfully, he might have attracted more support from various Gendarmerie units around the country.
Pasyan was thus a political danger to Reza Khan, a man just as ambitious and nationalistic. The main difference between them lay in their political orientations. Pasyan was a liberal constitutionalist, Reza Khan an authoritarian nationalist. Reza Khan could not leave Tehran and mount an offensive against Pasyan; the capital was the place where his future would be made or broken. Nor did he have sufficient forces for an extended military campaign in such a vast and underdeveloped province as Khorasan. Reza Khan's plan to deal with Pasyan was brilliant, simple and effective: he instigated a series of tribal rebellions and revolts by wealthy landlords in Khorasan. In a deeply divided society such as Iran's at that time, tribesmen were always ready to fight off attempts at centralization, while the upper classes resented any anti-corruption drives. These disturbances managed to overextend the forces of the Gendarmerie colonel, who was killed leading an operation against Kurdish tribesmen in Khorasan.
The revolt by Taqi Pasyan was the most serious one mounted by the Gendarmerie, but it was not the only one. About a year later, another military rebellion, this time by radical leftist officers headed by Major Abul Qasim Khan Lahuti, raised the banner of revolt in Azerbaijan in January 1922. The people of this province were always attuned to radical political ideas that had filtered down from the Russian Empire and now from the young Soviet state. The Gendarmerie revolt in Azerbaijan was motivated by both radical political ideas and corporate interests. Although led by a major, the revolt was mainly one of noncommissioned officers and enlistees who had succumbed to the lure of radical ideas. The rebels were also furious at what they perceived to be the disgraceful treatment of the Gendarmerie by Reza Khan. They resented the arrears in their salaries and the promotion of "ignorant" Cossacks over Gendarmerie units. The rebels did not find much support among the senior Gendarmerie officers, who were alarmed by the radical nature of the rebellion. These same officers had come to the conclusion that their best course of action was to carve out a niche for themselves in the new army that Reza Khan was in the process of creating.
By the fall of 1922, the war minister's dictatorial tendencies resulted in a backlash. He was attacked in the press and the majlis. On October 7, 1922, he suddenly announced his resignation, ordered the military governor of Tehran to resign, withdrew forces guarding the palace, and called a meeting of his senior officers. In reality, Reza Khan had no intention of resigning; he was giving the civilians a convincing display of his military power. His order to the military governor to resign and his reassignment of military forces from important locations not only showed his control over the military, but also raised the specter of a breakdown in law and order in Tehran if Reza Khan were to disappear from the scene. The officer corps hinted that it would use force to close down the majlis and arrest its members if the shah accepted Reza Khan's resignation. Unsurprisingly, the shah "implored" Reza Khan to remain. To show his "gratitude," Reza Khan promised that henceforth he would follow constitutional means and would surrender the arbitrary control he had attained over the state's finances.
Reza Khan emerged with more power after this "resignation" episode and was appointed prime minister in late 1923. With the titles of army commander, war minister and prime minister, Reza Khan was now the strongest man in the country. He began manipulating the electoral process to gain control of the majlis. He set about crushing opposition emanating from the military, especially from the Gendarmerie, whose officers resented his rise. When Sayyid Zia was still in office, Reza Khan deftly deflected the prime minister's attempts to promote the Gendarmerie. He refused to recognize the authority of the war minister prior to him, a Major Kayhan, who was a senior Gendarmerie officer.
When Reza Khan became war minister, he used this position to promote the Cossack Division above the Gendarmerie. He also dismissed the military governor of Tehran, Gendarmerie officer Colonel Kazim Khan Sayyah, and replaced him with one of his own cronies from the Cossack Division, General Mahmud Agha Ansari. In mid-May 1921, Reza Khan ordered the transfer of the Gendarmerie from the Ministry of Interior to the War Ministry, thus bringing the force under his control. But subjugating the Gendarmerie entirely was not going to be easy. The officers feared that if the Cossack commander were to consolidate his power, this would naturally mean the ascendancy of his unit at the expense of theirs. This fear contributed to the emergence of Gendarmerie opposition to the rise of Reza Khan.
Reza Khan disbanded all the autonomous military units and set about creating a unified national army. Under his prodding, the government dispensed with the services of British officers serving in various Iranian military units. In particular, following the downfall of the pro-British Zia-ed-Din, the Iranians forced the disbanding of the South Persian Rifles in October 1921 and the incorporation of its enlisted men into the new army. Many of the men of the former SPR were to constitute the bulk of the Southern Division created by Reza Khan to maintain law and order in Khuzistan province from the mid-1920s onwards. On December 6, 1921, Reza Khan issued Army Decree Number One, calling for the amalgamation of the Cossack Division and the Gendarmerie. Reza Khan ordered the dismissal of the Swedish officers within the latter and a Cossack General, Prince Amanullah Jahanbani, took over command of the Gendarmerie headquarters.
On the same day that he issued Army Decree Number One, Reza Khan delivered a speech aimed at the Gendarmerie officers in which he appealed to their sense of patriotism and explained his motives for building a national army. Of the many Gendarmerie officers who became part of the new army, some were given senior commands despite Reza Khan's inveterate suspicion of the force. Colonel Abd al-Reza Afkhami-Ibrahimi joined the new army, became head of military intelligence and was promoted to brigadier. Another senior Gendarmerie officer who ultimately became a well-known and well-connected political figure was General Hasan Arfa, a favorite of Reza Khan when he later became ruler of Iran. Arfa rose from commanding the elite Pahlavi Cavalry Regiment (1st Guards), through command of the military academy. Under Mohammad Reza Shah, he rose from deputy chief of staff to chief of staff of the armed forces.
In his quest to build a unified national army, Reza Khan decreed many organizational and institutional changes. A commission was set up to address the structure and shape of the new army. It reported back in the first week of January 1922. On January 5, 1922, Reza Khan decreed that the new army would consist of five divisions stationed in various strategic locations throughout the country: a Central Division with HQ in Tehran, a Northwest Command with HQ in Tabriz, a Western Command with HQ in Hamadan, a Southern Command with HQ in Isfahan and later Shiraz, and an Eastern Command with HQ in Mashhad.
The geographic dispersion of the new forces made sense. Each division was charged with upholding the central government's authority and maintaining law and order in the major provinces and was also placed so as to protect Iran's borders. The army was commanded by Reza Khan, and the general HQ in Tehran was under his direct command in his capacity as war minister. But the construction of the new army proceeded slowly; organization, administration and logistics remained backward. There were problems with recruitment, finances, equipment and substandard training. Many of the old guard did not understand what was required of a modern army, while the younger officers proved inexperienced. Corruption — the bane of Iranian armies — proved rampant among the senior officer corps.
STATE AND NATION BUILDING
Five years after his first coup, Reza Khan began plotting the overthrow of the moribund Qajar dynasty. First, his emergence as de facto commander of the military deprived the incumbent ruler, Ahmed Shah, of control of the institution. This was a blow to the king's legitimacy, as Reza Khan intended it to be. In theory, the shah could dismiss Reza Khan from his post, but the latter moved to take that power away. In early 1925, Reza Khan persuaded the majlis to recognize him as the constitutional head of the armed forces, over whom only parliament had the power of dismissal. Second, in early 1924, Reza Khan instigated a wide-ranging propaganda campaign against the shah and the institution of the monarchy. He toyed with the idea of establishing a republic on the model of that of Mustafa Kemal in neighboring Turkey, where this former Ottoman army officer was commencing a dramatic political and sociocultural revolution atop the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire. However, strong opposition to the republican idea among segments of the armed forces, the populace and the clergy forced Reza Khan to abandon his flirtation with republicanism.
The republican project aroused so much opposition that many of Reza Khan's antagonists took this opportunity to seek his dismissal. The visibly alarmed shah sent him a letter dismissing him from his post as prime minister. Reza Khan once again resorted to a tactic he had used before: he resigned from all his posts and declared that he was "going to the countryside to recuperate and retire." Provincial army commanders sent telegrams to the majlis politely suggesting that Reza Khan be allowed to return to his duties. For good measure, military commanders in the provinces orchestrated several disturbances and riots among the populace; two army division commanders threatened to march on Tehran and close down the majlis.
When Reza Khan returned to his duties, he sought the support of the officer corps for the idea of a change of dynasty in exchange for his dropping the idea of republicanism. On October 31, 1926, the majlis voted in favor of the abolition of the Qajar dynasty and proposed the establishment of a provisional government headed by Reza Khan. This would run the state while a constituent assembly would be summoned to decide the future of the country. The military itself began to prepare the ground for the emergence of Reza Khan as ruler by addressing him as ala hazrat (his majesty). When the constituent assembly was called, it was packed with Reza Khan's military supporters, thus ensuring that the throne would be bestowed upon him. On December 12, 1926, the new Pahlavi dynasty came into existence.
The army was the power center in the Palavi dynasty. Reza Shah's accession to the throne could not have been accomplished without its full support. While the affairs of state removed him from day-to-day administration of the military once he had become shah, Reza lavished attention and resources on it and relied on it to maintain his power, enhance his legitimacy and put down threats to internal security.25 Having created a unified military force, Reza Shah now focused his attention on the modernization of that force. A major portion of the nation's revenue was devoted to the expansion and modernization of the military. In 1925, when conscription was introduced, the army numbered 40,000 men. By 1941, it had expanded dramatically to about 130,000 men, organized into 14 divisions and five independent brigades. Iran acquired modern arms and armor from the famed Czech arms company Skoda. The Iranians also built a small air force and navy. At the same time, Reza Shah tried to keep the army officers as far away from the political process as possible.
What roles did the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty have in mind for the military that he had so painstakingly built up? The prime function of a military is to deter external enemies and defend the nation in times of war. But in the Middle East, as in many other developing countries, the military has other functions as well. Under Reza Shah, the functions of the Iranian military were these:
• Providing the basis for the ruler's legitimacy within the context of civil-military relations
• Providing internal security against centrifugal forces
• Acting as an instrument of modernization
• Defending the country against external enemies.
Under Reza Shah, civil-military relations reached a level of complexity that had been absent under past dynasties. Reza Shah had come to power with the help of elements of the military, and it ultimately proved to be the only institution upon which he could rely. Moreover, because he had created it, the national and detribalized army owed allegiance to him and not to tribal khans. As soon as he was crowned monarch, he became the supreme civilian power in the realm, rather than a mere army commander. This changed state of affairs put his relations with the military on a vastly different footing than when he was a senior officer. The senior officers had helped him come to power, and he was forced to rely on them for the legitimation of his power. He allowed them wide latitude in their endeavors to enrich themselves. He transferred vast quantities of land confiscated from tribal leaders to his officers. They were gratified by the opportunities granted to them for upward mobility into the ranks of the aristocracy and for personal enrichment.
But Reza Shah was also concerned with achieving control over the officer corps. Senior officers were promoted or given key positions on the basis of proven loyalty to the monarch, not on the basis of competence or professionalism. He trusted his former colleagues from the Cossack Division more than the competent senior Gendarmerie officers. Reza Shah was also suspicious of some of his erstwhile colleagues in the Cossack Division. If any officer showed too much independence or initiative in his post, he was dismissed or kicked upstairs into a more prestigious, but essentially powerless, position in the central government. Major General Abdollah Tahmasebi, the governor-general of Azerbaijan, was recalled to Tehran because he had become too popular in the province and "promoted" to the post of deputy minister of war. In one instance, Reza Shah refused to give power and independence to Khudayar Khan, one of his closest military colleagues, because he "feared that he would slip away like a fish out of my hands."26 Reza Shah allowed members of the senior officer corps to engage in political intrigues against one another, as this would prevent them from becoming a force united against him. He purged, dismissed or rotated those whom he thought were too independent or constituted a potential threat to the dynasty.
Reza Shah used the military to wage war on the centrifugal forces that threatened the unity of the country. From the very beginning of his ascendancy in 1921, Reza Shah faced serious outbreaks of rebellion by tribes and ethnic groups located in various parts of the country. These continued well into his reign; however, for the first time in modern Iranian history, the monarchy managed to turn the balance of power against the tribes. Key to the destruction of their power was the increase in the might and mobility of the new army, the construction of roads, the extension of the telegraph network and the acquisition of air power. With the introduction of conscription in 1925, the pool of eligible males entering the armed forces was considerably enlarged. This enabled Iranian men to take advantage of the military's literacy classes and instruction in basic trade skills that would be useful in civilian life following the fulfillment of national service.
The Iranian army failed in its function of defense against external attack by foreign powers. When World War II broke out, Reza Shah declared Iran to be neutral in the titanic contest between the Allies and the Axis powers. However, in the 1930s, the Iranian monarch had enlisted the support of Nazi Germany as a third force to balance the pressures exerted on Iran by two former hegemonic powers, Britain and Soviet Russia. When war broke out, Reza Shah's neutrality proved to be too pro-German from the perspective of these two embattled allies. Reza Shah failed to listen to the increasingly strident demands from both of them to get rid of the German presence in Iran. The Allied powers needed Iran as a supply route for the delivery of crucial American war matériel to the beleaguered Soviet Union, fighting for its life against the Germans. British and Soviet forces invaded Iran from south and north on August 26, 1941, using first-rate infantry divisions backed by armor and mechanized units. They easily swept aside the Iranian army, which did not put up much resistance. Officers proved incapable of taking decisive action or making sensible defensive dispositions. Many fled the field of battle, leaving their men to fend for themselves. Following the defeat of his vaunted army, Reza Shah abdicated in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza, on September 16, 1941. The new ruler had to rebuild the army and reestablish control over his forces.
1 Greg Bruno and Jayshree Bajoria, "Iran's Revolutionary Guards," Council on Foreign Relations, October 12, 2011, http://www.cfr.org/iran/irans-revolutionary0guards/p14324; Annie Tracy, "The IRGC and the 'New' Middle East," openDemocracy, March 23, 2011, http://www.opendemocracy.net; Ramin Parham, "Gardiens de l'ordre, l'ordre des Gardiens," Outre-Terre 2, no. 28 (2011): 151-163; Ali Alfoneh, "Le Coup D'Etat Rampant des Gardiens de la Revolution," Outre-Terre 2, no. 28 (2011): 141-149; Matthew Frick, "Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps: An Open Source Analysis," Joint Forces Quarterly, 2nd Quarter 2008: 49, 121-127; Roozbeh Safshekan and Farzan Sabet, "The Ayatollah's Praetorians: The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the 2009 Election Crisis," Middle East Journal 64, no. 4 (Autumn 2010): 543-558; and Robin Wright, "Elite Revolutionary Guard Broadens Its Influence in Iran," Washington Post, April 1, 2007, A21.
2 Mehr News Agency, 1324 GMT, November 15, 2006.
3 For a brief but still relevant summary of these legitimacy issues, see Ahmad Salmatian, "Dans le chaudron du pouvoir iranien," Le Monde Diplomatique (July 2009): 1, 16-17.
4 Theda Skocpol, "Rentier State and Shi'a Islam in the Iranian Revolution," Theory and Society 11, no. 3 (May 1982): 267.
5 Arthur Christensen, L'Iran sous les Sassanides, Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard, 1944, 130-132. For extensive analyses of ancient Iranian military power, see Steven Ward, Immortal: A Military History of Iran and its Armed Forces (Georgetown University Press, 2009), 11-39; and Kaveh Farrokh, Iran at War, 1500-1988 (Osprey, 2011), 5-79.
6 Ahmed S. Hashim, God, Greed and Guns: State-Formation and Nation-Building in Modern Iraq (University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2013).
7 On the emergence of the modern bureaucratic state under Shah Abbas, see Mohammad Mousavi, "The Autonomous State in Iran: Mobility and Prosperity in the Reign of Shah 'Abbas the Great (1587-1629)," Iran and the Caucasus 12 (2008): 17-34.
8 Michael Axworthy, "The Army of Nader Shah," Iranian Studies 40, no. 5 (December 2007): 637.
9 Sandra Mackay, The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation (Penguin Books, 1996), 128.
10 Reza Ra'iss Tousi, "The Persian Army, 1880-1907," Middle Eastern Studies 24, no. 2 (April 1988): 206.
11 George Nathaniel Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, Vol.1 (Longmans, Green and Company, 1892), 571-72.
12 Sir John Malcolm, A History of Persia from the Most Early Period to the Present Time (John Murrary and Longman and Company, 1815), 501-502.
13 Stephanie Cronin, The Army and the Creation of the Pahlavi State in Iran, 1910-26 (I.B. Tauris, 1997), 4.
14 H. Lyman Stebbins, "British Consuls and Local Imperialism in Iran, 1889-1921," Ph.D, Department of History, University of Chicago, December 2009, 35.
15 "Army Roles, Missions, and Doctrine in Low-Intensity Conflict: Case Study 3, IRAN, February 02, 1970, Carlisle Research Office – U.S. Army Combat Developments Command Institute of Advanced Studies, Carlisle Barracks, PA17013 (unclassified), 321-323.
16 For a succinct analysis of the roles of the clergy and the merchant/commercial classes at the turn of the 20th century period of turmoil, see Mansoor Moadel, "The Shi'i Ulema and the State in Iran," Theory and Society 15, no. 4 (July 1986): 519-556.
17 Mangol Bayat, Iran's First Revolution: Shi'ism and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-06 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 127.
18 Sandra Mackay, The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation, 149.
19 Stephanie Cronin, The Army and the Creation of the Pahlavi State, 60.
20 Nikki Keddie, Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive History of Modern Iran (Yale University Press, 1981), 76.
21 Cronin, The Army and the Creation of the Pahlavi State, 64.
22 Donald Wilber, Reza Shah: The Resurrection and Reconstruction of Iran (Exposition Press, 1975), 49.
24 Stephanie Cronin, The Army and the Creation of the State, 183.
25 Alvin Cottrell, "Iran's Armed Forces under the Pahlavi Dynasty," in Iran under the Pahlavis, ed. George Lenczowski (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1978).
26 Donald Wilber, Reza Shah, 103.