Friday, September 19, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hazrat Masumeh Air Defense Group (IRIADF)

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Introduction and Overview
Primary Garrison
FFEP Deployment
Footnotes and Works Cited

Acronyms and Abbreviatons:
AAA: Anti-Aircraft Artillery
ADG: Air Defense Group
BG2: Brigadier General, Second Class
FFEP: Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant
HM [ADG]: Hazrat Masumeh [Air Defense Group]
IRIADF: Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force; aka Khatem ol-Anbiya Air Defense HQ
Lt. Col. : Lieutenant Colonel
SAM: Surface-to-Air Missile
UGF: Underground Facility
Lt. Col. Abarshi

Introduction and Overview:
The IRIADF's Hazrat Masumeh Air Defense Group (HM ADG) was formed in 2009 to protect the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP). It's current commander is Lt. Col. Hossein Abarshi. [1] Based on it's location near Qom, the HM ADG should be subordinate to the Central Air Defense Region, under the command of BG2 Abazar Jookar. [2]

Primary Garrison:
The Group's primary garrison is located along the Qom-Tehran Freeway, in-between the the FFEP and the military depot to the west.

Construction began between 09/2009 and 03/2011, which is consistent with the group's reported creation date. As of the most recent imagery – 03/2013 – only a handful of buildings had been completed, and much of the available space remains undeveloped.

As least some of the group's equipment can be seen from 01/2012 onward, including AAA and equipment containers. Between 01/2012 and 08/2012, construction began on a UGF dug into the hillside to the north of the garrison.

FFEP Deployment:
Much of the group is deployed to the FFEP itself, where a small garrison for the site's security can be found alongside a separate facility for FFEP personnel. The two can be distinguished by the former's parade-yard, obstacle-course, and proximity to nearby firing-ranges and munition-storage shelters. This garrison pre-dates the HM ADG's formation, and is documented as far back as 06/2004.

The creation of the HM ADG in 2009 can be observed in the deployment of increasing levels of air-defense in the following years. Deployments are focused in a northward-facing arc, thanks to the passive defense provided by the range of hills running east-west, into whose north-face the FFEP is dug.

As of late-2009, no air-defense assets are visible. By 2011, several sites had been established, including:

1) Short/medium-range SAM Battery, most likely the MIM-23 HAWK. The battery is only visible at full-strength in 03/2011, with one of the firing-sections having displaced by the year's end. Four Zu-23-2s were deployed nearby.

2) Four 35 mm GDF-001/002s. Two of these were deployed in individual emplacements, while the other two were part of a Skyguard emplacement.

3) Four-gun AAA battery, organized into two firing sections. The type of gun is unknown, though the 100 mm KS-19 is a possibility. Orientation is toward the north-west.

At this time, the sites are characterized by ongoing construction, and field-expedient infrastructure. Revetments are bulldozed earth, roads are unpaved, and earth-moving equipment can be seen at work.

By the end of 2012, the sites showed increasing signs of permanency, though the overall strength was only mildly increased. This includes:

1) SAM firing-section. Though the original site is largely unchanged, except for the removal of AAA, construction had begun on a more permanent site further west with raised concrete pads reminiscent of Iran's other HAWK sites.

2) Two of the individually emplaced GDFs were relocated to permanent sites around the perimeter; a third GDF supplemented these. Meanwhile, the original Skyguard site had been vacated, and replaced with a four-gun battery of Zu-23-2s.

3) The northwest-oriented AAA battery remained, and had been further developed with raised concrete pads and crew facilities.

4) Further east, an early-warning radar – likely the Matla ul-Fajr, judging from antenna shadow and container type – had been deployed in a non-permanent site.

5) By the end of 2012, construction had begun on a permanent Skyguard site just south of the EW-radar.

Little change was evident by mid-2013, the date of the most recent imagery. Both the Skyguard and SAM sites remained under construction, while the existing sites underwent only minor changes. However, a handful of equipment was now parked in the open, including two GDFs near the EW-radar, and at least two GDFs and 11 Zu-23-2s in a motor-pool near the primary facility.

Footnotes / Works Cited:
[1] Commander of the Hazrat Masumeh Air Defense Base Visits with Qom's Friday Prayers Leader. Defa Press. 08/31/14.
[2] Iran's Air Defense Operations Center. Persian_boy. Youtube. 09/01/14.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Iran's Armed Force's General Staff

AFGS emblem (MrInfo2012)

Acronyms and Abbreviations:
AFGS: Armed Forces General Staff
BG2: Brigadier General, 2nd-Class
BG: Brigadier General
CoS: Chief-of-Staff
HQ: Headquarters
IRGC: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps
LEF: Law Enforcement Forces
MG: Major General
MIA/KIA: Missing-in-action/killed-in-action
SNSC: Supreme National Security Council

 Background and Role:
The Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) was created in the summer of 1988, during the last days of the Iran-Iraq War, to coordinate and deconflict IRGC and Army activities by the creating a unified chain of command. [1] Just as importantly, this also helped integrate the IRGC into the formal security establishment, decreasing their institutional autonomy, and thus their ability to threaten the political balancing act during the critical transition of power that came with Khomeini's death. [2]

Within the formal hierarchy, the AFGS is subordinate to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and controls the activities of both the IRGC and Army. [3]

The AFGS loosely follows the western staff template, though its exact composition and structure is unknown. This is due, in part, to uncertainty over the administrative size or 'level' of various staff bodies such as departments, organizations, and directorates. This has been exacerbated since several of these bodies were abolished, split, or folded into others. This is especially true of the operations and intelligence sections. These not only have an important formal responsibilities, but have also been previously associated with key figures in informal influence-networks such as MG Bagheri (intelligence and operations deputy) and BG Mehrabi (intelligence deputy).[4]

Enlarge to view full-size
Chief of the General Staff :
AFGS Chief, MG Firouzabadi
This positions is held by MG Hassan Firouzabadi (IRGC), who has headed the AFGS since he was appointed to the position by Khamenei 1989. [5]

Firouzabadi has been characterized as a close confidante of the Supreme Leader since before the Revolution, and this relationship constitutes a key element of Khamenei's informal authority.

According to a report by the AEI's Will Fulton, Firouzabadi first met Khameni in the 1970s where they coordinated ideological and operational opposition to the government. During the 1980s, Firouzabadi served in the civilian government, including as PM Mir-Hossein Mousavi's defense deputy. According to the author: “This relationship may help explain why Khamenei appointed Firouzabadi and retained him in this position since 1989, even though Firouzabadi does not have a formal military background.” [6]

Deputy Chief of the General Staff:
Deputy AFGS Chief, MG Rashid
This position has been held by MG Gholam Ali Rashid (IRGC) since 1999 when he was promoted from his position as the AFGS's Intelligence and Operations Deputy. [7] [8] He was a commander during the Iran-Iraq War and is assessed to have a close personal relationship with core IRGC personnel. [9]

In traditional staff organizations, the deputy chief does not directly command the staff, but functions as an extension of the chief's authority, and is assigned specific duties as needed. [10]

Coordination Deputy:
Coordination Deputy, MG Saadi
This position has been held by MG Hassan Saadi (Army) since his appointment in 1999.[11] [12] Previously, he commanded the Army Ground Forces 1986-1991. [13] Despite his key position, he is relatively unknown, and has refrained from making political statements. At least one source characterizes him as a professional, and non-political officer. [14]

This position of coordination deputy is equivalent to the chief-of-staff, or executive-officer, in a traditional staff organization. The CoS is a key position, forming the primary point of contact between the the chief (Firouzabadi) and the rest of his staff. The CoS coordinates other staff members, directing their activities, collects information from them and turns it into an actionable battlefield picture that the chief can make decisions based upon. [15] It is possible that Saadi's reputation for professionalism is critical to this responsibility, offsetting Firouzabadi's lack of direct military experience, and the politics of other officers.

Headquarters and Joint Affairs Deputy:
HQ and Joint Affairs Deputy, MG Bagheri
The position is held by MG Mohammed Bagheri. Prior to this, he held the position of Intelligence and Operations Deputy through – at least – 2011. [16]

This position corresponds to the personnel section of traditional staff organizations, and subordinate bodies include human resources and manpower directorates, which are responsible for manning units and personnel support, potentially making it an important position when it comes to promotions.[17]

Manpower Deputy:
Manpower Deputy, BG Bagheri
Subordinate to the HQ and Joint Affairs Deputy, this position is held by BG Mohammed-Hassan Bagheri (Army), who – confusingly – bears virtually the same name as his superior. Prior to this, BG Bagheri was the coordination deputy for the Army Ground Forces through – at least – 2009.

Operations Deputy:
This position is held by BG Mostafa Salami (Army). [18] Prior to this, Salami held a number of staff-level positions in short succession, including intelligence deputy (2013), and second-in-command to the then-operations deputy (2012). [19] [20] Little is known about him beyond this.

Operations Deputy, BG Salami
The role of the operations deputy is muddled by the parallel existence of the 'head of the operations directorate', currently held by the influential and well-linked BG Shadmani (see below). It is also muddled by the existence of the 'operations and intelligence directorate', which the mentioned components and personnel may be subordinate to, or otherwise inclusive/included of.

In a conventional staff organization, the operations deputy is generally considered the third-most important official (after the chief, and the chief-of-staff). Peacetime and combat responsibilities include coordinating operational orders and planning, materiel allocation, as well as force development and modernization. [21] In short, this constitutes the minutia of 'operational art' that links tactics with strategy.

Operations Directorate Head, BG Shadmani
Head of the Operations Directorate:
This position is held by BG Ali Shadmani (IRGC).[22] The position's relationship to the operations deputy (described above) is unknown. Shadmani himself is characterized as having links to core IRGC commanders. [23]

Chief of Intelligence Organization:
This position is held by an unknown person appointed in 06/2014. [24]

Like the operations section, much about this body, including it's relationship with the rest of the AFGS, is muddled. The position of 'chief' is generally higher than that of 'deputy'. Likewise, 'organization' is generally higher than a 'directorate' (which are either associated with a 'deputy' or a 'head'), suggesting that the intelligence body is one of the largest in the AFGS. For example, a comparable case may be the IRGC-GS's own intelligence organization, which was upgraded from a directorate, and in the process, saw the position of deputy superseded. [25]

Strategy Deputy:
Strategy Deputy, MG Izadi
As of 09/2013, this position is held by MG Mostafa Izadi. [26] MG Izadi is another core IRGC commander with close ties to the Supreme Leader and other senior IRGC personnel. [27] [28]

This position has been characterized as equivalent to the strategic-planning division of traditional staff systems, which handles civil-military coordination and relations. [29]

Planning and Programs Deputy:
No recent information. The last documented deputy was BG Saleh (IRGC), who was appointed in 2010.[30]

Given that the responsibility for planning and programs traditionally falls to either the operations or strategy sections, it is possible that this position is subordinate to either of these bodies.

Inspections Deputy:
Inspections Deputy, BG Ashtiani
This position is held by BG Mohammed-Reza Qarayi-Ashtiani (Army). [31] Prior to his appointment in 2013, he served as the Deputy Commander of the Army. [32]

Subordinate positions include the Head of Special Inspections, which – as of 02/2014 – was held by BG2 Mohammed Ruyanian (LEF). [33] However, only a month later he was arrested in conjunction with the Babak-Zanjani-Scandal, and was released soon after. His current status is unknown.

Basij Affairs and Defensive Culture Deputy:
Basij Affairs Deputy, BG Jazayeri
This position is currently held by BG Masoud Jazayeri (IRGC). [34] This position allows Jazayeri to function as the spokesperson for the AFGS.

This position was created in 2012 to coordinate cyber-space activity, passive-defense, Basij affairs, and other military-related culture. [35] [36]

Chief of Engineering and Passive Defense Organization:
This position is subordinate to the Basij Affairs and Defensive Culture Deputy, and is currently held by BG Gholam-Reza Jalali (IRGC). [37]

This body was upgraded from a directorate to an organization in 2008. However, given that it is supordinate to the above-mentioned depuy, would indicate that the position of 'chief' is not necessarily less than that of 'deputy', further muddling the picture of other bodies such as the operations/intelligence sections. [38]

Basij Deputy, BG Salehi
Basij Deputy:
This position is currently held by BG Hossein Salehi (IRGC). [39] It's responsabilities and relationship to the Basij Affairs Deputy is unknown.

Readiness Deputy, BG Abdollahi
Readiness, Logistics and Industrial Research Deputy:
This position is currently held by BG Ali Abdollahi (IRGC), who was recently appointed in 07/2014. [40] Previously, he served as the security deputy for the interior ministry, and held senior command positions in the security forces and the IRGC Ground Forces. His predecessor is the well-known BG Mohammad Hejazi. [41]

Head of Training and Education Directorate:
Training Deputy, BG2 Raisiyan
This position is held by BG2 Ramazan Raisiyan (Army). [42] Responsibility for training often falls under that of the operations section, indicating that this directorate might be subordinate to whatever level ultimately has responsibility for 'operations'.

The same uncertainties mentioned above about the relative size and relationship between directorates, organizations, and other levels applies here as well.

Cmdr, search-for-missing comittee,
BG Baqer-Zadeh

Commander of the Committee for the Search for the Missing:
This position is currently held by BG Baqer-Zadeh (IRGC) (08/2014). [43] The use of the title 'commander' is extremely atypical at this level. This committee's responsibility likely covers MIA/KIA-retrieval.

Footnotes / Works Cited:
[1] Familiarization with the Military's General Staff. YJC. 05/28/12
[2] Iran's Security Policy in the Post-Revolutionary Era. RAND. 2001. Ch. 4
[3] The Rise of the Pasdaran. RAND. 2009. p.33
[4] The IRGC Command Network: Formal Structures and Informal Influence. AEI. 2013
[5] ibid YJC, 2012
[6] ibid AEI, 2013. p. 8
[7] Ceremony for Late-Philanthropist Held in Tehran. FNA. 06/18/14
[8] ibid AEI, 2013. p.41
[9] ibid AEI, 2013. 
[10] Staff Organization and Operations FM101-5. Dep't of the Army. 1997. p.4-1
[11] ibid FNA 06/18/14
[12] Appointment of Several to the AFGS. 08/17/97
[13] Hossein Hassan Saadi. Persian Wiki
[14] The Islamic Republic's 13 Generals. Iran Briefing. 02/03/11.
[15] ibid FM101-5, 1997. p.4-2
[16] Intelligence and Operations Deputy to National Security Committee. Tabnak. 11/27/11
[17] ibid FM101-5, 1997. p.4-10
[18] ibid FNA 06/18/14
[19] Salami: National Production Has Always Been on the Agenda of the Military. Mashregh News. 04/10/12
[20] Appreciation from Firouzabadi to Commanders. FNA. 10/29/13.
[21] ibid FM101-5, 1997. p.4-12
[22] Liberation of Khorramshahr Was the Turning Point in the War. FNA. 05/24/14
[23] ibid AEI, 2013. p. 26
[24] Americans Want Someone to Confront Iran. FNA. 06/10/14.
[25] ibid AEI, 2013. p.35
[26] AFGS Deputy: Necessary to Increase the VeF. IRNA. 09/01/13
[27] Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Messaging on Critcial US National Security Issues. AEI. 04/02/13.
[28] ibid AEI, 2013
[29] ibid FM101-5, 1997. p.4-15
[30] Sardar Saleh Became the AFGS Deputy for Programs and Planning. FNA. 06/30/10
[31] Amir Qarayai Ashtiani Became the AFGS Deputy for Inspections. FNA. 11/19/13.
[32] The Iranian Army is Among the Best Trained and Most Elite in the World. icors.blogfa. 03/07/10\
[33] Ruyanian's General Staff Uniform. Mashregh News. 02/03/14.
[34] The War-Readiness of Gaza Will Destroy the Occupation. DEFA Press. 08/24/14.
[35] ibid AEI, 04/02/2013
[36] ibid AEI, 2013. p.34
[37] Part of the Success of the Military is due to the Effort of Journalistis. DEFA Press. 08/07/14.
[38] ibid AEI, 2013. p.34
[39] [unclear]. Basij. News. 09/03/14
[40] Sardar Ali Abdollahi Became the AFGS Deputy for Readiness, Logistics, and Industrial Research. FNA. 06/22/14.
[41] FM: Iran Supporting Iraqi Nation in Campaign Against Terrorism. FNA-E. 01/14/14.
[42] Basij Thought Will be Established in the Population. FNA. 02/27/14.
[43] Baqer-Zadeh's Proposal to Kuwait. ISNA. 08/26/14.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

[Translation] - Recognizing the Enemy and Paying Attention to the Leader's Guidance Keeps the County Safe

Title: Recognizing the Enemy and Paying Attention to the Leader's Guidance Keeps the County Safe
Date: July 15, 2014 / Tir 24, 1393
Source: Tasnim News

Tasnim News: The director of intelligence in Sistan & Baluchistan said: Familiarization with the enemy, and paying attention to the guidance of the Supreme Leader [and the] Quran, is a roadmap for confronting the Arrogance and [protecting] the country against damage.

In a conference on the activities of terrorist groups in the Islamic world, the director of intelligence in S&B said to Tasnim News in Zahedan: Our Islamic Revolution occurred in conditions that affect the whole world, an area of soft and hard confrontation between two poles of the world, in which one was located in America, and the other in the Soviet Union.

He added: In Islamic Iran, Khomenei's leadership and his enlightened guidance based on Islam transformed the world order and the [balance] of power by taking a third form.

The director of intelligence in Sistan & Baluchistan said: Centered around Iran, Islam encountered these two camps, both of which used policies to confront the [Islamic]-System, and became the scene of an invasion by both eastern and western enemies.

He said: The main conspiracy against Iran's Islamic System originates in the intelligence-services of those two camps, and the reason for their attention towards the Islamic Revolution … is because it is a model for all the world's oppressed.

Explaining that confronting Israel has been a primary goal since the early-Revolution, the director of intelligence in Sistan and Baluchistan said: Because of this position, hard and soft actions were began on behalf of the Arrogance in the form of a conspiracy by the Hypocrities, anti-revolutionary groups, and the 8-year Imposed War against the Islamic Republic.

The director added: In the final years of the 20th century, important events such as the failure of Russia in Afghanistan, the removal of the Soviets as the world's second power, and the Soviet's demise led to America's victory.

He stressed: This [was] important for America and forms the roadmap of their plan, [including] the use of religious extremists such as Al Qaeda, their formation in Afghanistan, and the creation of spaces necessary for their support.

The director said: Due to this strategy, the collapse of the Soviet Union created the events of 9/11 and [the US's] war with the Taliban, so that now the puppets of the Arrogance are now against the Arrogance. [paragraph unclear]

Noting that after 9/11, the approach was to turn these threats into opportunities in the form of regional projects, he said:[After] transferring al-Qaeda to Sudan and then Afghanistan, they confronted them there for the past 10 years. [paragraph unclear]

The director said: The importance of this drawn-out process with two major goals was [paragraph unclear]

The director said: The rise of Takfiris in Waziristan and Afghanistan was formed in order to send trained fighters from this region to Syria.

He said: The group's trained personnel were prepared in 81 countries around the world and went to America's war [for/against?], however it can be observed that they are deployed in Syria opposite the Resistance against Israel.

He stated: America, as well as harnessing and converting threats by transferring Takfiris from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Syria, [unclear] the forces that were arrayed against Israel with the people and government of Syria with the strategic objective of transferring the conflict from the occupied territories to Lebanon.

The director said: The Takfiri conflicts, and the drawing-out of this process, [brought] many strategic benefits, which includes downplaying the Intifada and positioning the scene of confrontation in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine over the past three years. [?]

He said: The killing of more than a hundred thousand is an outcome of the [unclear; "Aqaba"?] school-of-thought, which was planned by Israel, America, and England, [after] they lost three wars in Palestine and Arab region.

He continued: [Following their] loss in the 33-day and 22-day wars, the Intifada, and the destruction of Israel's Iron-Dome system by Hezbollah UAVs, their master-plan [became] religious-conflict and the importation of Takfiris into the region.

The director said: Due to the issues in Iraq, and the failure in Syria, their main objective is the transfer of conflicts from the occupied territories to Lebanon and the conflict between the Takfiris and Lebanon … [unclear/this map having another side?].

He said: A deep look at the function of our intelligence-services [paragraph unclear]

He stressed: Due to their designs, we are tracking all these issues, and with the creation of a common understanding, mobilization efforts, solidarity, and the necessary measures, the plots of the enemy and the Arrogance will be thwarted.

The director added: The enemy has endeavored to create a security barrier for Israel such that this regime's defense in 2013 was their strongest because the conflicts that have arisen from the actions of the Global Arrogance have diverted the consensus of the Islamic World away from Israel.

He said: I am surprised to see that the people who have gone to Syria have not fired one shot against Israel, and are being converted into a tool against Muslims, which is the plot of think-tanks [that are] the enemy of Muslims.

He stated: The creation and intensification of differences, the destruction of Shia and Sunni beliefs, and the creation of differences [between them], are strategies used by them against the Islamic world.

The director said: Khomenei's model of unification underlying the comments of the Supreme Leader [is] the principle [which] alerts public opinion, and thwarts [the enemies] plot.

Adding that provoking differences in Islamic countries is considered the main strategy of the Arrogance: Protecting unity, and the need for vigilance in confronting tricks are principles that we have in most cases, [and because of these principles], free nations in the world and Islamic-[community] can turn to us as a model.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Basij Organization - Semnan Province

In the third part of the 'Basij Organization' series, we now turn to our first case study: Semnan province. The first part covered the Imam Hussein battalion, and the second part covered the Beit al-Moqdas battalion.

Zone, base and battalion
Appendix - Reference material translations

aZ: al-Zahra; battalion name.
BaM: Beit al-Moqdas; battalion or exercise name.
bn: battalion
BRB: Basij Resistance Base; lowest administrative level.
BRZ: Basij Resistance Zone; middle administrative level.
BRA/SRA: Basij/Sepah Resistance Area; highest administrative level below the province.
co: company
HQ: headquarters.
IA: Imam Ali; battalion name.
IH: Imam Hussein; battalion name.
IRGC: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (aka, Sepah)
IRGCGF: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Ground Forces

The Basij in Semnan province are organized according to the Gen. Jafari's Mosaic Doctrine, which directly subordinated the Basij of each province to the IRGC's command structure, and is briefly described in part one of this series. The highest level of this organization is the provincial IRGC itself ,and in Semnan it is the 12th 'Mohammed al-Qaem' Infantry Brigade. Below this are eight SRAs, corresponding to each of the province's counties. Below this, are BRZs and their associated BRBs and combat battalions.

Based in Shahrud city, the 12th Brigade is the nexus around which the Basij are organized. The brigade is responsible for coordinating and providing regular training to the province's Basij.[1]

The only other IRGCGF maneuver element in the province is the 10th Air Defense Group, which is based in Semnan city.[2] Their relationship to the provincial IRGC is unknown, and it is possible that a combat-support unit such as this one is subordinate to a larger operations command in much the same way they are in the Army. Otherwise, a strict province-based command for the IRGCGF would risk an inefficient piecemeal deployment of support equipment like artillery and air-defense.

Leadership hierarchy of the Semnan-province Basij and IRGC
The eight SRAs in Semnan correspond to each of the province's counties, and include: Aradan, Damghan, Garmsar, Mehdishahr, Miyami, Semnan, Shahrud, and Sokheh.

The are alternatively known as BRAs, or SRAs, highlighting the degree to which the Basij have ceased to function as an independent entity. There is no distinction between the two terms.

Each area is commanded by an active-duty IRGC officer, typically a colonel.

Zone, Base, and Battalion:
Below the county-level, the picture of Basij combat-strength is incomplete. BRZs and BRBs cease to predictably correspond solely to geographic designations, as some are organized according to type, many of which do not have a combat role. Similarly, they are too great in number and localized to be uniformly reported on.

Instead, an alternative is the use of exercise reports to estimate combat strength. This includes the 'Beit al-Moqdas' exercises, which have taken place twice in the Semnan province, first in late-2012, and most recently in early-2014. Since they are meant to simulate a simultaneous mobilization of all SRAs in a 'rapid-reaction' scenario against a conventional military threat, these two-day exercises offer the best approximation of the province's practical capacity.

Although the numbers vary between exercises, are questionably precise, and are subject to interpretation, they provide an approximate picture of an SRA's strength:

Beit al-Moqdas Exercise, 2012: [5], [6], [7]
SRA Bns, all BaM IH aZ Personnel
Aradan: NA NA NA NA NA
Mehdishahr: 5 3 1 1 1100
Shahrud: 10 5 3 2 2400
Sorkheh: NA NA NA NA NA
Total: 45 27 9 9 9500

Beit al-Moqdas Exercise, 2014: [8]
SRA Bns, all BaM IH aZ Kosar Other* Personnel
[3+1 co]
1 co
0 0 690
0 0 1000
0 0 768
0 0 0 668
0 0 868
0 1300
0 0 650
* Includes Ashura, IA, and HQ type bns

Note: Brackets indicate uncertainty where the number of participating bns is not explicitly stated, but instead deduced from context. Low-moderate confidence in exact figures, high-confidence in overall trend and distribution.

Generally, each SRA contributes between 500 and 2500 personnel. The more populous counties provide more, while the less populous counties provide less, though not necessarily proportionally to population size. For instance, Semnan and Shahrud counties together contain close to 75% of the province's population, but contribute only about 40% of exercise participants. It is unknown whether the larger SRAs are mobilizing less of their available forces, or if the smaller SRAs have to fulfill a quota that is a proportionally larger.

The majority of personnel – half or more – are assigned to BaM battalions, while the remainder are generally split in equal measure between IH and female (aZ and Kosar) bns. This skew toward BaM bns is consistent both with the nature of exercises, the roles established for BaM and IH bns in the first two parts of this series, as well as with the general male-orientation of combat-forces worldwide.

As noted, since these exercises are geared toward a specific purpose – simulating a rapid-reaction scenario – the numbers above represent a fraction the county's overall personnel. In Mehdishahr, which contains about 10% of the province's population, the total number of Basij is quoted at 24,000. If accurate, this represents close to 60% of the county's 2006 population, buttressing the notion that the Basij are better understood as a multi-spectral organization (cultural, social political, and academic), closer 'the Party' in ex-East Bloc countries, than to a classical militia.[3]

Similarly, in Damghan, which contains close to 20% of the province's population, one urban BRZ reportedly contains 13 Ashura bns with a strength of 2,860 personnel.[4] Although difficult to extrapolate, this indicates that there are many-10s of unaccounted-for battalions in each SRA, albeit without as much combat-potential as the BaM and IH types.

[1] Supplementary Training for Imam Hussein Battalions Held. FNA. 04/23/12.
[2] 10th 'Muharram' Air Defense Group. The Arkenstone. 01/17/14.
[3] 1,100 Mehdishahr Basij in Beit al-Moqdas Exercise. FNA. 12/01/12
[4] Preparation of 10 Battalions from Shahrud for the Beit al-Moqdas Exercise. FNA. 11/28/12.
[5] 10,000-Person Beit al-Moqdas Exercise Will be Held. FNA. 11/28/12.
[6] 7,500 People Participated in the Beit al-Moqdas Exercise in Semnan. FNA. 02/27/14.
[7] ibid FNA 12/01/12
[8] Call-up of Ashura Battalions from the Damghan SRA. Damghan News. 09/29/12.

Appendix - Reference Material Translations:

Title: Call-Up of Ashura Battalions from the Damghan SRA
Date: September 24, 2012 / Mehr 3, 1391
Source: Damghan News
The commander of the al-Hadi city-BRZ of the Damghan-Area-Sepah announced the two-day call-up of 1,000 Damghani Basij in Ashura battalions.

IRGC Col. Seyyed Taqi-pour said on the sidelines of of the call-up of Ashura battalions from Damghan's SRA: The two-day call-up of Ashura battalions will commemorate the arrival of Sacred Defense Week on Shahrivar 30 and 31, and will be held in the Bilal mosque in the Boostan neighborhood of Damghan.

He stated: In this two-day call-up, seven Ashura battalions subordinate to the al-Hadi neighborhood BRZ in the Damghan BRA/SRA, which includes 1,000 people.

The commander, noting that the al-Hadi neighborhood BRZ of the Damghan BRA has 13 Ashura battalions, said: 2,860 Basij from urban-BRBs are members of these battalions.

He added: Over the two-day call-up, Ashura bn members from this BRZ will be presented with military, ideological, and cultural training.

[articles fill continues]
Title:10,000-person Exercise 'Beit al-Moqdas' will be Held
Date: November 28, 2012 / Azar 8, 1391
Source: Fars News Agency
FNA: The commander of the 'Hasrat Qaem al-Mohammed' in the Semnan provicne said: The 10,000 person rapid-reaction-battalions 'Beit al-Moqdas' exercise will be held on Azar 9 and 10 simultaneously across the province.

General Ali Hosseini said in an interview with FNA today: In the eight-year Sacred Defense, Semnan contributed the second-highest number of fighters as a proportion of its population.

He added: After the victory in the Sacred Defense, exercises were performed across the country and province, one of them is Beit al-Moqdas, which, under the name 'Labik ya Rasoolallah', is carried out at the provincial level in the five counties of Miyami, Shahrud, Damghan, Semnan, and Garmsar.

The commander said: This exercise is carried out with 27 Beit al-Moqdas battalions, 9 Imam Hussein battalions, and 9 al-Zahra battalions.

Hosseini said: Programs planned in this exercise include [urban]-defense, SAR, riot-control, defense of sensitive targets, checkpoints, ambush and counter-ambush, and the province's Basij will complete this exercise with attention paid to internal threats.

[article fill continues] 

Title: 1,100 Mehdishahr Basij in Beit al-Moqdas Wargame
Date: December 1, 2012 / Azar 10, 1391
Source: Fars News Agency
FNA: The commander of the IRGC in Mehdishahr county announced the presence of 1,100 people from the Mehdishahr Basij in the Beit al-Moqdas exercises.

Yahiya Dinpour said in an interview today with FNA on the sidelines of the 10,000-person Beit al-Moqdas Battalions Exercise held in in Semnan on public-land [near] Chashtkhowran: Three BaM battalions, one IH battalion, and an aZ battalion – more than 1,100 people in total – from the Basij are participating in this exercise.

He explained: The exercise is being held with the participation of BaM rapid-reaction squads and five battalions from Mehdishahr county's Basij over a period of two days in the public-land [near] Chastkowran, for the purpose of upgrading the combat capability of the Basij forces.
The commander of the IRGC in Mehdishahr county, stating that the exercise was being held under the name ''Labik ya Rasoolallah', said: This exercise is being held temporally-centralized, and geographically-decentralized simultaneously across six counties in Semnan province.

He noted that: On the first day of the exercises, Basij forces completed unit training, and on the second day defensive-exercises were completed, [including] [urban]-defense, defense of sensitive targets, ambush and counter-ambush, SAR, and checkpoints.

Dinpour continued: Given the insults by Western media against Prophet Mohammed, this exercise has been named 'Labik ya Rasoolallah' and the Basij in this exercise [exemplify the ideals of the Prophet].

The commander of the IRGC in Mehdishahr county said: One of the characteristics of the Basij is that they have the necessary flexibility to confront enemy-threats in all times and places, and can deal with them quickly.

He explained: This issue has been demonstrated in the eight-year Sacred Defense, and today the Basij are better prepared for a comprehensive defense of the Islamic Revolution.

Dinpour emphasized: The Basij of this county [have considerable interest] in holding this exercise, and 100% of the personnel called-up participated in this exercise.

The commander of the IRGC in Mehdishahr said: More than 24,000 people from Mehdishar are members of the Basij and have been organized into several classes.

The 10,000-person rapid-reaction-battalions exercise 'Beit al-Moqdas' is now being held simultaneously across the Semnan province.

The exercise is being performed under the name 'Labik ya Rasoolallah' across the province in the five counties of Miyami, Shahrud, Damghan, Semnan, and Garmsar.

This exercise is being held with 27 BaM battalions, and with 9 IH and 9 aZ battalions.

Planned programs in this exercise include urban-defense, SAR, riot-control, defense of sensitive targets, checkpoints, ambush and counter-ambush, and the Basij from Semnan will complete this exercise with attention paid to internal threats.

In Semnan, more than 217 operations-squads have been formed subordinate to Rapid Reaction Beit al-Moqdas Battalions and these battalions include 147 'Zulfiqar' Rapid-Reaction squads, and 70 'Beit al-Moqdas' Rapid Reaction Squads.

The site of this exercise in Shahrud, Miyami and Garmsar is in public-lands, and in Damghan in the Qods Garrison, and in Semnan and Mehdishahr, which is being jointly held, is in the Qods HQ. (?)

The number of participating individuals in this exercise is 10,000 people, and is 1,800 in Semnan county, 2,400 in Shahrud, 1,700 in Damghan, 1,250 in Garmsar, 1,250 in Miyami, and 1,100 in Mehdishahr.

Title: 2,400-Person Beit al-Moqdas Battalion Exercise Began in Shahrud
Date: December 1, 2012 / Azar 10, 1391
Source: Fars News Agency
FNA: Shahrud 2,400-person BaM exercise began in the county's public-lands.

The BaM battalion exercise was carried out with Ashura basij and the […] slogan.

The BaM battalion exercise in Shahrud is a two-day exercise and on the first day of this exercise the Basij were called-up and organized.

Then, the Basij attended classis for ideology, politics, SAR, urban-defense, passive-defense, and during the night completed night-fighting, and ambush and counter-ambush exercises.

Battalions from Mosque and neighborhood-zones were also seen in this exercise.

BaM battalions from the Seyyed al-Shohada, Karbala, Khatem ol-Anbiya, Ali ibn Abi Talib, and Najaf Ashraf BRZs were added to this exercise in Shahrud county on its second day.

[article fill continues]

Title: Preparation of 10 Battalions from Shahrud for the Beit al-Moqdas Exercise
Date: November 28, 2012 / Azar 8, 1391
Source: Fars News Agency 
FNA: The commander of the IRGC in Shahrud county announced the preparation of 10 Basij battalions from Shahrud for participation in the Beit al-Moqdas exercise, which is to be held with 10,000 Basij.

In the exercise's coordination-meeting held for the Shahrud-IRGC's Beit al-Moqdas battalions, which was held in the IRGC's meeting-hall, Abbas Motahari said to FNA: The Beit al-Moqdas rapid-reaction exercise is being held on the 9th and 10th of Azar in Shahrud, with the objective of preserving and consolidating Basij forces.

The IRGC commander in Shahrud county stated: [They] must try until the forces attending this exercise [are] completely prepared.

Mohtahari continued: The Shahrud-IRGC's Beit al-Moqdas Rapid Reaction Battalion Exercise is being held on Azar 9 and 10, on public-land in Shahrud, and in this exercise, five BaM battalions, three Imam Hussein battalions, and two al-Zahra battalions from the Shahrud Basij will participate.

In this meeting, the necessary coordination was completed for Basij's two-day exercise-program, and their deployment to the exercise region.

Today, the commander of the IRGC's 'Qaem al-Mohamed' [force] in Semnan province said to FNA: The 10,00-person Beit al-Moqdas rapid-reaction-battalions exercise is being held at the province-level on the Azar 9 and 10 [November 29-30].

General Ali Hosseini stating that in the Semnan province more than 217 operational/operations-squads have been formed under Beit-al-Moqdas-Rapid-Reaction-Battalions, said: These battalions include 147 'Zulfiqar' rapid-reaction squads, and 70 'Beit al-Moqdas' rapid-reaction squads.

Prof. Hosseini said that the most important objective of this exercise is to prepare the Basij to [protect] the sacred System of the Islamic Republic.

Title: 7,500 People Participated in the 'Beit al-Moqdas' Exercise in Semnan
Date: February 27, 2014 / Esfand 8, 1392
Source: Fars News Agency
The commander of the 'Qaem al-Mohmmed' IRGC in Semnan province said: More than 7,500 Basij participated in the 'Beit al-Moqdas' exercise throughout the Semnan province.

General Ali Hosseini in an exclusive interview with FNA said in this regard: The big 'Beit al-Moqdas' exercise began this morning in Semnan province, and more than 7,500 people participated in this exercise across the province's various counties.

He explained: [This] big exercise is held every year in all of the country's provinces, which has been [given] the name 'Beit al-Moqdas' in order to show the goals of the Islamic Revolution in the liberation of Islamic countries and the export of the Revolution to the world.

The IRGC commander stated: This year's Beit al-Moqdas exercise is being held in 31 of the country's provicnes, and today Semnan is witness to the powerful maneuvers of the BaM, Ashura, aZ, and Kosar battalions.

Hosseini said: The exercise is a tactical, combat, and cultural action, and will be a [warning] to the enemies of Islam and the System.

Stating that the exercise will be held today and tomorrow in Semnan province, he announced a speech on friday in Semnan's Qods garrison by General Mohamed-Reza Naghdi – the head of the Basij.

The commander of the IRGC in Semnan stated: 250 government-personnel will also have a presence in this exercise and our request of them (?) is that everyone wear the uniform of the Basij.

1,300-person 'Beit al-Moqdas' exercise in Semnan:
This morning in Semnan, the exercise began with 1,370 people from BaM, IA, and Kosar battalions. The exercise's reveille will be held on Friday, [February 28th] in Semnan's Qods garrison with 1,770 people from BaM, HQ, IA, Kosar, Imam Hussein, and aZ battalions.

Also, other counties of the province have begun the exercise simultaneously with Semnan, including Shahrud, Garmsar, Miyami, Mehdishahr, Aradan, and sorkheh.

702-Person exercise in Shahrud:
This morning in Shahrud, the exercise began with 702 people in BaM and Kosar battalions, and on Friday, [February 28th] reveille will be held in this province with 1,300 people from BaM, Kosar, and IH battalions.

468 people present in Damghan exercise:
In Damghan, the exercise is being held with 468 people in two BaM battalions. Reveille will be held with 1,000 people from BaM, IH, and aZ battalions.
Holding exercise in Sorkheh with 236 people:
The exercise is being held in sorkheh with 236 people from a BaM battalion. Reveille will be held in this county with 650 people from BaM, IH, and aZ battalions.

468 people in Garmsar exercise:
In Garmsar, the exercise is being held with 468 people from two BaM battalions. Reveille will be held with 768 people from BaM, IH, and aZ battalions.

Holding exercise in Mehdishahr:
The exercise is being held in Mehdishahr with 468 people in two BaM battalions. Reveille will be held in this county with 668 people from BaM and IH battalions.

468 people in Miyami hosting exercise:
In Miyami, the exercise is being held with 468 people from [a] BaM battalion. Reveille will be held with 868 people from BaM, IH, and aZ battalions.

Aradan also went into the field:
The exercise in Aradan is being held with 468 people in two BaM battalions. Reveille in this county will be held with 690 people in BaM, and aZ battalions, and Imam Hussein companies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

IRIAF Air Bases

The squadrons that make up the Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) are assigned to a series of tactical-air-bases* (TABs) spread across the country. These form the highest known level of organization since it is unknown whether the IRIAF employs a regional operations command similar to other services.

 * also rendered as tactical-fighter-bases (TFBs)

1st 'Shahid Lashkari' Tactical Air Base (TAB-1) – Tehran
As of May 2014, the base is commanded by Brig. Gen. 2nd Class (BG2) Mohammed Tasviyehchi. [1]

2nd 'Shahid Fakoori' Tactical Air Base (TAB-2) – Tabriz
As of March 2014, the base is commanded by BG2 Hamid Vahedi. [2]

3rd 'Shahid Nojeh' Tactical Air Base (TAB-3) – Hamedan
As of April 2014, the base is commanded by BG2 Mansour Vanek. [3]

4th 'Shahid Vahdati' Tactical Air Base (TAB-4) – Dezful
As of March 2014, the base is commanded by BG2 Hamid Reza Ashena. [4]

5th 'Shahid Ardestani' Tactical Air Base (Tab-5) – Omidiyeh
Operational status unknown. Transferred to IRIADF; reserve airstrip.

6th 'Shahid Yassini' Tactical Air Base (TAB-6) – Bushehr
As of February 2014, the base is commanded by BG2 Mehdi Hadiyan. [5]

7th 'Shahid Dowran' Tactical Air Base (TAB-7) – Shiraz
As of February 2014, the base is commanded by BG/BG2 Mansour Mohamedi. [6]

8th 'Shahid Babei' Tactical Air Base (TAB-8) – Isfahan
As of March 2013, the base is commanded by BG2 Masoud Roozkhosh. [7]

9th 'Shahid Abdulkarimi' Tactical Air Base – Bandar Abbas
As of December 2013, the base is commanded by BG2 Farhad Gudarzi. [8]

10th 'Shahid Dol Hamed' Tactical Air Base – Konarak
As of April 2014, the base is commanded by BG2 Mahmud Qoli Zadegan. [9]

12th 'Shahid Hosseini' Tactical Air Base – Birjand
Opened in October 2007, the base is commanded by Col. Hamid Moustafavi as of May 2013. [10]

14th 'Shahid Babaei' Tactical Air Base – Mashhad
Operational status unknown. Transferred to IRIADF. No longer active TAB.

Rumored, unconfirmed, reserve or retired airfields:
Ghale Morghi, Tehran: Closed, converted to park.
TAB-11 (Doshan Tappeh, Tehran): Closed, held in reserve (unconfirmed).
TAB-13 (Zahedan): No details.
TAB-15 (Kermanshah): No details.
TAB-16 (Kerman): No details.
TAB-17 (Masjed Suleiman): No details

Appendix - Commander IMINT:

Footnotes / Works Cited
[1] Tehran's Haj Director Meets with BG2 Mohammed Tasviyehchi. Tehran Haj. 05/26/14.
[2] Rouhani's Demands of Sepah / Missile Exercise Controversy. Mashregh News. 03/16/14.
[3] Commander of TAB 3: Farvadin 29 is a day about the Army. ISNA. 04/18/14.
[4] The IRIAF Had a Role in All the Operations of the Imposed War / Dezful Airbase Has Given 50 Martys to the Revolution. Mashregh News. 04/30/14.
[5] First Memorial for General Yassini Held in Bushehr. IRNA. 02/06/14
[6] Iran Becoming a Defense Industry Hub in the Region. FNA. 02/07/14
[7] Ibid Mashregh News, 03/16/14
[8] TAB 9 Completely Surrounds the Persian Gulf. FNA. 12/20/13.
[9] Expansion of the Airport Facilities at Chahbahar is an Advancement for the People of the Region. IRNA. 04/11/14.
[10] Country's 12th TAB Opened in Birjand. MNA. 10/09/07

Sunday, July 20, 2014

IRGCN Naval Regions

Tasked with securing the Persian Gulf, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN/NEDASA) is organized into five geographic regions, plus a handful of independent bases outside of the Gulf. These form the administrative basis for conducting combat operations and are believed to be largely equivalent to other services' 'regional headquarters'.

1st Naval Region – Bandar Abbas 
The 1st Naval Region is headquartered in Bandar Abbas. As of March 2014, the region is commanded by Vice Admiral (hereafter, BG2) Mohammed Shiyari. [1] Prior to his appointment in June 2013, he was the region's deputy commander. He replaced the previous commander, BG2 Torabi, who was promoted to Inspections Deputy for the IRGCN. [2]

It's operations area is focused on the Strait of Hormuz.

2nd Naval Region – Bandar Bushehr
The 2nd Naval Region is headquartered in Bushehr, in the central Persian Gulf. As of April 2014, the region is commanded by BG2 Ali Razmjou. [3]

3rd Naval Region – Bandar Mahshahr
The 3rd Naval Region is headquartered in Bandar Mahshahr in the northern Persian Gulf. As of February 2014, the region is commanded by BG2 Seifollah Bakhtiarvand. [4]

The scope of its area of operations is unknown.

4th Naval Region – Bandar Asaluyeh 
The 4th Naval Region is headquartered in Asaluyeh, between Bushehr and Bandar Abbas. As of January 2013, the base is commanded by BG2 Yadollah Badin[13]

Its area of operations extends from the town of Dayyar in the north, to Kish Island in the south. [5] This area was previously associated with both the 1st and 2nd Naval Regions, but was split off in November 2008. Prior to the designation, the IRGCN maintaned an independent base at Asaluyeh. [6]

5th Naval Region – Bandar Lengah 
The 5th Naval Region is headquartered in Bandar Lengah in the southern Persian Gulf. As of June 2014, the region is commanded by BG2 Ali Azamayi. [7] Prior to his appointment in 2012, he was the deputy commander of the IRGCN's 1st Naval Region. [8]

Its area of operations extends from Qeshm Island in the east, to Kish Island in the west, covering the islands in between including the contested Tunbs and Abu Musa. This area was previously associated with the 1st Naval Zone, but was split off in November 2012 in order focus their efforts on the cluster of islands. [9]

Independent Naval Bases:

Imam Ali Naval Base - Bandar Chahbahar 
As of July 2013, the base is commanded by Colonel Mansour Ravankar. [10]

Naval Base - Bandar Jask [11]

Seyyed al-Shohada Training Center - Gilan
Built around 2012, this recent complex reportedly consolidated all of the training facilities used by the IRGC-N including commando and officer education. [12] It's location is unknown, but may be Zibakenar.

Appendix - Commander IMINT:

Footnotes / Works Cited:
1) 1,800 People Visit the Region of the Iran-Iraq War in Bandar Abbas. IRNA. 04/24/14.
2) New Commander for the 1st Naval Region Appointed. Hamshahri Online. 06/03/13.
3) Commander Sees Persian Gulf as Battlefield of Possible Iran-US War. FNA. 06/10/14.
4) Provinces Were the Biggest Reason for the Success of the Islamic Revolution. FNA. 02/03/14.
5) Iran Opens Fourth Naval Base in the Persian Gulf. Payvand News. 11/19/08.
6) Ceremony for the Beginning of the 4th Naval Region. PSEEZ. 11/17/08.
7) Members of the Bandar-e Lengah City Council Present in the 5th Naval Region. Lengah News. 06/05/14.
8) General Azamayi Became the Commander of the Sepah's 5th Naval Region. FNA. 11/04/12.
9) Where are IRGCN Naval Bases in the Persian Gulf? Entekhab. 11/05/12.
10) The Enemies' Martys Failed to Achieve Their Objectives. FNA. 07/18/13.
11) The Minister of Defense and General Hajizadeh Visited the IRGC-N Naval Region. FNA. 04/23/13.
12) Construction of Independent IRGCN Wharfs in the North of the Country. Ahrargil. 12/08/12
13) Awarding Rank to the New Commander of the 4th Naval Region. FNA. 01/28/13.