General Bagheri’s rise as AFGS head spotlights Supreme Leader Khamenei’s desperate gungho regional power struggle.

Former Head of AFGS Major General Hassan Firouzabadi (shown , left) who after 25 years in the role is replaced in favor of General Bagheri. Some suggest the replacement of General Hassan Firouzabadi is like a bandaid over more serious deeper problems, and illustrate the Supreme Leader's (shown, right) crisis of control on a regime which is more concerned with warmongering than answering to Iran's dire social and human rights' problems .

Speaking out against Tehran’s intensified warmongering in the region, the former MEP and current President of the Iraq Freedom Association (EIFA), Struan Stevenson told The Media Express / TME that ‘statements by Tehran’s officials clearly point out the need for [the regime’s] increased warmongering, [which is] an explicit tactic designed to cover up internal problems and avoid the regime’s overthrow.’

The impact of increased death-tolls of fighters recruited as martyrs by the Iranian regime, in line with its foreign policy, to fight in Iraq and Syria, has this week seen the countries Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei usher in a possible enhanced strategic role of Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS). Khamenei is promoting the one time Iran-Iraq war commander General Bagheri currently of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to head up the AFGS, nudging him into position from his previous role as intelligence and operations deputy.

Dismissal of former head Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, in favor of General Bagheri, after 25 years in the role suggests a fundamental shift in power for the AFGS. The move hails an unprecedented militaristic structural shift for both Iran’s Regular Army currently deployed to support the Iran’s Qods Force in Syria, and also propping-up militia proxy armies in the region, of which the United States have designated them supporters of terrorism since 2007.

About General Bagheri: The 58 year old general conscripted as a member of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as in support of the ideological theocratic regime which as part of the 1979 revolt was instrumental in the Muslim Students of the Imam Khomenei Line which held hostage 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage at the US Embassy in Tehran for 444 day.

Soon after with continued affiliation with as a commander with the IRGC worked to suppress the Kurdish rebellion separatist movement in the Iranian province of Kurdistan. More recently General Bagheri signed Iran’s bilateral cooperation and investment agreement with China aligning both regime’s on issues of national defense, education, technology, information, cyber and terrorism.

Where Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are regularly despatched to expedite support for militia in the region, the operational focus of Regular Army has gradually converged with the IRGC. And with increased military complicity in support of Bashar al-Assad regime, this year saw Regular Army fighters, redeployed from their role as Iranian territorial defense soldiers, to fight on the ground alongside the an estimated dispatch of 7,000 IRGC’s Qods Force in Syria.

Furthermore, this effort to increase deployable manpower comes also as the Iran regime has been revealed to coax Shia Afghan migrant refugees into serving its war machine on the promise of social inclusion and also the right to Iranian citizenship. And about which an official in the US State Department has condemned this foreign and defense policy as cruel exploitation. This military defense seems to be emerging out of a manifest weakness of the fundamentalist clerical regime to find peaceful and economic vision to embolden itself in light of the Iran nuclear deal.

On Iran’s expanded presence in the region Stevenson quotes a senior IRGC Qods Force advisor Brigadier General Iraj Masjidi who on June 17, pushed aside the barbaric complicity of war in favor of a speech rooted in a fundamentalist hyperbole, saying: “Fighting in Syria and Iraq, deepens the Islamic Republic security and defends our borders… Aleppo, Fallujah and other areas of Syria and Iraq are the front lines of the Islamic resistance front.”


About Rob Roberts (20 Articles)
Rob Roberts is a UK-born journalist living in Paris. He writes about Paris and international.

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