Review Ostovar, Afshon, Vanguard of the Imam, Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, New York: Oxford University Press, 2016
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is one of the bulwarks of the Iranian government. It was created during the 1979 Iranian Revolution out of a series of different militias to protect the new regime and its ideals. When the Iran-Iraq War started the next year the IRGC became an integral part of the fighting force. Its role quickly expanded in the following years, destroying factions within the government Ayatollah Khomeini disapproved of, gaining an economic empire rebuilding the country after the war, and putting down the protests following the 2009 election. Internationally it helped create Hezbollah in Lebanon, supported Hamas in Palestine and backed and created Iraqi opposition parties, and became major supporters of Syria and Iraq. Vanguard of the Imam, Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards by Afhson Ostovar attempts to explain this history using Shiite religion, Iranian politics, and the conflicts that country has faced since the 1970s.