What Iran’s Military Journals Reveal About the Goals of the Quds Force

What Iran’s Military Journals Reveal About the Goals of the Quds Force
What Iran’s Military Journals Reveal About the Goals of the Quds Force



To what extent are the internal deliberations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ expeditionary Quds Force reflected in military journals published in Iran?


A pilot survey of the complete series of two journals published by the IRGC Imam Hussein University provides limited but valuable information.


Since its establishment in 1986, the university has gradually developed into the academic backbone of the IRGC. Today, it boasts 31 peer-reviewed journals, almost one for each postgraduate program offered. Among the journals, the Siasat-e Defaee (Defense Policy, published since 1991) and Afaq-e Amniat (Security Horizon, published since 2010), quarterlies are dedicated to strategic issues.


Among hundreds of articles published in these journals over the years, only 10 articles address regional security issues involving Shia communities and armed militias in a substantive way.


Since regional security falls under the portfolio of the Quds Force, and most of the authors are faculty members at the university, one can cautiously assume that the articles, to some extent, reflect the internal deliberations of the organization.


Between 1991 and the attacks of September 11, 2001, Siasat-e Defaee did not publish anything referring to the Quds Force or, for that matter, the concept of asymmetric warfare. That changed in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and in particular, after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


The first empirical analysis with specific reference to allies and proxies of the Quds Force appeared in the Autumn 2008 edition of Siasat-e Defaee.


Here, the authors discussed how the Islamic Republic, through its influence among the Iraqi Shia, had managed to turn the threat of the U.S. military presence in Iraq into an opportunity.


The Winter 2013 edition of Afaq-e Amniat went as far as describing Shia communities in the Gulf region and beyond as a “deterrent network.” Elaborating on the same idea, an article published in the Winter 2013 Siasat-e Defaee claimed Iran’s substate allies and proxies are on par with the deterrent force of Iran’s arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles.


The Winter 2015 article on Lebanese Hezbollah and the Winter 2017 article on Yemen’s Ansar Allah advanced similar arguments.


An assistant professor at the university, Hossein Baqeri, offered a most accurate analysis of ethno-sectarian political dynamics in Iraq and its implication for Iran’s security in the Autumn 2013 edition of Afaq-e Amniat, while providing deeper insights into the Quds Force’s internal deliberations.


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