Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards by Afshon OstovarVanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards by Afshon Ostovar

Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards

byAfshon Ostovar

Hardcover | March 9, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 193 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Iran's Revolutionary Guards are one of the most important forces in the Middle East today. As the appointed defender of Iran's revolution, the Guards have evolved into a pillar of the Islamic Republic and the spearhead of its influence. Their sway has spread across the Middle East, where theGuards have overseen loyalist support to Bashar al-Assad in Syria and been a staunch backer in Iraq's war against ISIS - bringing its own troops, Lebanon's Hezbollah, and Shiite militias to the fight. Links to terrorism, human rights abuses, and the suppression of popular democracy have shrouded theRevolutionary Guards in controversy. In spite of their prominence, the Guards remain poorly understood to outside observers. In Vanguard of the Imam, Afshon Ostovar has written the first comprehensive history of the organization. Situating the rise of the Guards in the larger contexts of Shiite Islam, modern Iranian history, andinternational affairs, Ostovar takes a multifaceted approach in demystifying the organization and detailing its evolution since 1979. Politics, power, and religion collide in this story, wherein the Revolutionary Guards transform from a rag-tag militia established in the midst of revolutionaryupheaval into a military and covert force with a global reach. The Guards have been fundamental to the success of the Islamic revolution. The symbiotic relationship between them and Iran's clerical rulers underpins the regime's nearly unshakeable system of power. The Guards have used their privileged position at home to export Iran's revolution beyond itsborders, establishing client armies in their image and extending Iran's strategic footprint in the process. Ostovar tenaciously documents the Guards' transformation into a power-player and explores why the group matters now more than ever to regional and global affairs. The book simultaneouslyserves as a history of modern Iran, and provides a crucial and engrossing entryway into the complex world of war, politics, and identity in the Middle East.
Afshon ostovar is Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Senior Analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies at CNA. He earned his PhD in History from the University of Michigan.
Title:Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary GuardsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:March 9, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199387893

ISBN - 13:9780199387892

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

1. IntroductionBrief Overview of the IRGCLiterature ReviewConceptualizing the IRGCPro-clerical ActivismPrimacy of the LeaderMilitary Power and State-buildingChapters and Questions2. From Ali to KhomeiniThe Formation of Shiite IslamRise of the ClergyThe Islamic MovementRevolutionary Ideology3. Vanguard of the ImamEnter the VanguardRoots and RadicalsKhomeini uber AllesOne System to Rule Them All4. The Imposed WarInvasionCivil Discord and a Stymied War EffortThe Islamic Republic Strikes Back5. The Long WarThe International DimensionRunning into WallsIn the Path of the DivineA Fleeting Taste of VictoryThe Bitter End6. Exporting the Revolution and the Khomeinist DivideRevolutionary InternationalismA Conservative TurnToward the Liberation of JerusalemThe Revolution Comes to LebanonFall of the Radicals7. Culture and IdentityThe Islamic Model ArmyPower of the PenWartime Cultural ActivismVisual IdentityIconology of the SelfWarriors of Karbala8. When Johnny Comes Marching HomePostwar Reconstruction under RafsanjaniPropagating Virtue, Prohibiting ViceTaking Back the Revolution9. The War on TerrorFear of a Nuclear IranElecting AhmadinejadAn Iran AscendantThe Specter of War10. Big Bang, Big Crunch"Death to the Dictator!"Rebranding the BasijSpringtimeA Cornered LionKnives Out11. In Defense of the Family of the ProphetIn Defense of Sayyida ZaynabA Return to Karbala12. Conclusion